And from our “Only in New Zealand” files…
This article from today’s “Dominion Post” deserves re-printing in full,
Complaints as nudists hit Peka Peka
KAY BLUNDELLLast updated 05:00 31/01/2012
Nudists parading on Peka Peka Beach are again sparking complaints to police.
The complaints come ahead of a “skinny-dipping by moonlight” event being promoted to mark the next full moon.
Naturist group Free Beaches is inviting people throughout New Zealand to cast off their inhibitions and enjoy swimming without togs “when the great ivory ball creates a silver, rippling path across the dark blue sea” on February 8.
Sergeant Noel Bigwood, of Otaki, said police had responded to two complaints around Peka Peka during the holiday period. The first was from a father concerned about a nude man parading in front of families at the northern end of the beach.
Mr Bigwood went to look for the man but could not find him. While at the beach, he spoke to two young women, both aged about 20, asking whether they had seen a nude man walking along the beach and whether they had been offended. They told him: “Oh yes, because he was old and ugly.”
Mr Bigwood, 58, said that was a bit tragic. “The man was described as about 45 years old. You can imagine how I felt – not great.”
Nudity is allowed on Kapiti beaches as long as it is not offensive to other beachgoers.
Police also responded to a complaint about two nude men spotted near the Te Hapua Rd beach entrance, north of Peka Peka, which is a popular spot for gay men.
“As long as they keep out of the face of families and stay in reasonable seclusion, who can be offended?”
Asked about the full moon event, he said: “Skinny dipping per se is not a problem. Without revealing too much, I can highly recommend it. My only concern is water safety.”
Nice to read a bit of worldly humour from our local “Bobbies“. Too often our police are presented in a dour, negative, or critical manner in the media. Occassionally though, we see a glimpse of their humanity and the humour which – I guess - would be major requirement to do the kind of work so necessary for our society’s wellbeing.
I also felt Sergeant Bigwood’s “pain”, when the young women in the Dompost piece said,
“Oh yes, because he was old and ugly.”
I cringed as well.
Perhaps I’ll be thinking twice before hitting our local beach in the near future? Is there a beach reserved exclusively for 50+ “old and ugly” males? Where we can dive carefree into the waves – instigating mini-tsunamis in the process, that will eventually find their way to shorelines in South America and Antarctica?
I had the pleasure of a brief chat with Sgt Bigwood. And yes, folks, I can report that his sense of humour is not mis-reported in the Dompost. His light-hearted personality came through and even over the phone, he came across as a likeable chap.
Those on the wrong-side of the law in Otaki must have a hard time dis-liking the Sergeant. It would be enough to make someone go straight!
Sgt Bigwood confirmed that he regularly patrols Otaki Beach, going “under cover as a flabby, paunchy middle aged” man…
I enquired where he might put his police ID number, and where he might hang his… [comment withheld for good taste].
He laughed and replied that he always patrolled the beach fully clothed, “for the benefit of everyone concerned”.
I replied that I understood, and suggested that with his sense of humour he would be welcomed as our local “bobby”.
Sadly though, the sergeant replied that he was due for retirement in June, and would be heading of overseas to his “exotic wife’s homeland”.
“No, Britain,” he replied.
However, Sgt Bigwood fully intends to return to New Zealand in a year or two after his “Big OE”, as he has too many grand children to leave behind.
We wish the sergeant all the best for the remainder of his career; his impending retirement; and a safe journey overseas. We hope he eventually returns in good health, and humour. (The latter would be a ‘given’, I’m thinking.)
The only thing is, if I ever meet up with Sgt Bigwood on Otaki Beach, would I recognise him without his uniform…?