FOR the first time in almost 60 years, the Southern Naturally nudist club now holds the interclub membership Mowlem Trophy.
Speaking proudly of the achievement, club member Wilma Kremer, of Invercargill, said the trophy was first awarded in 1959.
“It is based on a pro rata percentage of new members a club gains in one year,” she said.
Four new members, from Invercargill, Gore and Queenstown, had joined.
“We will be representing the club and taking it to the national rally in Wellington in December, and hope to bring it back again.”
Club members have been tidying up the grounds and increasing the supply of firewood in preparation of hosting open weekends throughout October for those who may be interested in finding out more about the club.
Being held at the clubrooms, the former Aparima School on the corner of Guise and Aparima Rds, about 10km from Otautau, the extended annual open days were designed to give people an opportunity to meet club members, learn what the club had to offer and find out about the naturalist lifestyle, Ms Kremer said.
“Eight people came out last year, and that was just the one weekend.”
Club member Alison Bennett, of Tuatapere, said in previous years the open days were held over one weekend, but this did not give everyone the opportunity to visit the clubrooms, as people worked various shifts and had other commitments.
“Holding the open days over the whole month makes it more accessible for people and gives them more options,” she said.
Depending on the weather, outdoor games would be held, and if wet, there were also plenty of indoor activities planned. The barbecue would be cranked up, and an outdoor three-person-sized spa pool would also be available to use.
Formerly known as Flax Haven, Southern Sun club and Southern Plains, club members have moved premises several times since the club was established in 1959 as the Southern Sun & Health club in Gore.
“It is a club for like-minded people to get-together and socialise,” both women said.
They described “naturism as a way of life in harmony with nature, characterised by the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and the environment.”
They said everyone was welcome to the open days and clothes were optional.
“They don’t have to take their clothes off… it’s all about having fun”.
A very social group, club members often played petanque, miniten (mini tennis) and had recently installed an outdoor spa pool. If it was cold outside, they cranked up the fire and played board games or electronic darts indoors.
The group also regularly met with other groups throughout the country, including Southern Free Beaches, Dunedin, and Pine Glades, Christchurch, as well as attended the annual congress, which alternates between the South and North Islands, and which normally attracted a couple of hundred people, they said.
They also had international visitors and New Zealanders stay as there was an accommodation hut on the grounds.
“They have to be a member of the federation… we have visitors from Holland and Canada booked in for early next year, and last Christmas/New Year, there were some Dutch people, a German couple and a few from throughout New Zealand who stayed.”
The club had about 35 members, ranging from family groups to individuals, who came from a diverse range of backgrounds, including farmers, cleaners, a pest control officer, bus driver, mechanic and stevedores.
Open days, Saturdays and Sundays throughout October, 10.30am-4.30pm, Aparima clubrooms.
For more information, phone 027 516 5804.