Story: Naturism

A court case

A court case

In 1939 a young woman was tried and convicted for bathing nude in front of others at Auckland's Takapuna beach. The magistrate did not accept her justification that she swam naked for health reasons and that it had helped cure a skin condition. Instead, he was reported as saying that he 'could only conceive that an element of insanity would cause a woman of the defendant's age to act as she had done ... [she] had been a disgrace to herself and to her sex, nor was she justified in such a disgraceful act even judged by modern standards.' These comments reflected general opinion at this time – many people thought that enjoying nude swimming or sunbathing was obscene and shameful.

Using this item

National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: Evening Post, 11 March 1939, p. 14

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How to cite this page:

Hera Cook, 'Naturism - Attitudes to nakedness', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 January 2021)

Story by Hera Cook, published 5 Sep 2013