Public Articles Home » Browse Public Articles » An Interview with ANW Member Steve (BOP Badger) and Emma

An Interview with ANW Member Steve (BOP Badger) and Emma


As part of ANW's want to enhance understanding and appreciation of naturism we are sharing a selection of interviews with ANW members to show that naturism is for everyone, and to explore the all important human element of the naturist and ANW community. ANW believes in safeguarding naturism with a genuine, healthy and respectful approach to social nudity and in doing so has an ever growing membership of friendly and appropriate users.

We also believe that naturism unites us and connects us. Beyond national boundaries, age, gender, religion sexual orientation and culture. These interviews aim to show that ANW members, like naturism itself, come from all over the world with many different backgrounds primarily connected by our mutual respect and understanding of social nudity.


We are delighted to welcome blogger BOPBadger (Steve) and his partner Emma from New Zealand to this interview project.



1 Tell us a little about yourselves and your part of the world. 


Steve - Firstly, thank you for the opportunity to be part of your interview series.


My partner Emma and I have been together for around 3 years.  Both of us had been in long-term marriages and knew what we didn’t want in any future relationship.  It was fair to say that we got on well, and both declared an interest in naturism early on in the piece. Emma had already dipped her toe into the waters of naturism before we met, but to be fair, I am further along the path than she is.  Emma is happy to be naked at home, at a beach or at a naturist camp, but is less likely to join in a naked bike ride, or get naked on a forest walk.


After a short while, and a change in both our accommodation circumstances, we moved into rented accommodation together, to see how we got along.  Long story short, we have now bought a place, which is small but private and allows us to be naked at home most of the time.


I write a weekly blog on the Substack platform called “A Comfort of Naturists”, A collection of thoughts on nudity, naturism and society’s difficulty in accepting people with a clothing-optional philosophy.


New Zealand is a small country at the bottom of the Pacific, and for the most part, is a wonderful place to live.  Sure, it is not all rainbows and unicorns, and we have our fair share of social issues, like many other places, but it is full of opportunities to get out and enjoy nature, often without clothing.

Emma - I see each person’s comfort with naturism as a spectrum and Steve is definitely further along than I am. I feel able to participate at my own pace, and that foundation has given me the confidence to try activities that were previously outside my comfort zone, such as camping. Again, I think that being female is part of my hesitation due to both the societal attitudes to naked women, and because there are more male naturists than female. 



2 What was the attitude towards nudity and naturism in your homes and upbringing as a child and teen?


Steve - I guess my parents were indifferent to nudity in the house.  They certainly didn’t walk around the house naked, but neither did they rush to cover up after a bath or shower.  Nudity wasn’t treated as wrong, but nor was it particularly encouraged.


Emma - my parents both have an interest in naturism though like Steve, at home being naked was treated with indifference. I do have a memory of going to a naturist beach with my family when I was 12 - and I was horrified. In hindsight, it’s not a great place for a shy girl just starting puberty. It could have put me off naturism for life; fortunately, it didn’t and we can laugh about it now. 


3 How did you first get involved in naturism and what were your initial thoughts?


Steve - As a young child, I recall walking among the sand dunes near our regular holiday home and came across a couple lying naked.  The image stayed with me for a while, and I guess I always thought that they looked relaxed and comfortable.  I was intrigued by their bronzed skin and no tan lines. I was too young at the time to consider any element of sexuality around nudity, and I guess I have always considered the two as separate things.


Later, during my first marriage, my wife and I took the family to an open day at the Wellington Sun Club. I enjoyed the experience, but the rest of the family, particularly the children showed little interest in continuing.  


Once my kids had left home, I made a conscious decision to identify as a naturist and spend more time naked.  My wife at the time joined in occasionally, and in recent years has followed her own journey to naturism.


Emma - As an adult, I have long just enjoyed the feeling of air on my skin, either privately or in a public but isolated place. When I met Steve and was aware of his interest in naturism, I was keen to know and experience more. He has been both reassuring and encouraging in my becoming more involved. The first time we went to the naturist hot pool event, I was very nervous about the walk from the changing room to the pool. And of course, nobody batted an eyelid and I had nothing to be worried about. 


I think my overriding initial thought has been just how non-judgemental naturists are. How it quickly becomes nothing unusual to have conversations with other people on normal, everyday subjects and the fact that nobody is wearing clothes is completely irrelevant. Like Steve says around the image and status clothes can give, take that away and you are left with just the person. 


4. Do you think that your initial reasons and attitudes towards naturism have changed since then and how?


Steve - I like to think that they haven’t, but I am sure they have.  As I age, I am less bothered about what anyone else thinks of my lifestyle choice.  I guess I have become more interested in the social aspects of nudity rather than solitary nudity, although to be fair, I am still happy to be naked at home.


5. Tell us about your naturist adventures so far.


Steve - Since Covid, most of my naturism is home-based or short trips to the local beach.  We are lucky to have a naturist campsite about 20 mins drive from where we live.

I recently took part in a WNBR event and my first naked group forest walk, both of which have reignited my intention to be involved in more social naturism.


Emma - I have only been involved in social naturism since being with Steve. We enjoy going to our local beach as much as we can and to hot pool nights when they occur. We go camping at our local naturist site. That was another step for me, but again, I have totally embraced it now. 


I do prefer clothing-optional events to pure naturist events. I went with Steve to the WNBR walking event. There were 11 naked men and me. I chose to walk clothed and loved it. I was proud to be part of the group, and wearing clothes enabled me to be involved in my own way. I like to think - maybe naively - that my presence both as a woman and being clothed gave the group some validation in a way.  I hope it contributed to normalising naturism.



6. You are part of the club Bay of Plenty Naturists tell us a little about the group. 


Steve - The Bay of Plenty naturist group is an online group rather than a landed club.  Pre covid, there were regular gatherings at a local hot pool for a meal and a swim, as well as other social events.  Covid put the brakes on things, but the organisers maintained a monthly newsletter throughout and events are starting to happen again.


7. How would you best explain naturism to someone new to it and what advice would you offer to them?


Steve - For me, naturism is a philosophy of respect.  Respect for yourself, respect for others and respect for the environment.  For anyone starting out, my suggestion would be to read.  Read lots.  Read blogs, read articles and listen to podcasts.  Get as much information as you can to help you distinguish the information from the noise.  Start being naked.  Simply don’t get dressed after a shower.  Get used to how it feels, in the privacy of your own room if that is all you have.  Seek out other naturists to talk to, online or in real life.  


Emma - I would just add maybe finding a friend. Safety and comfort in numbers. I would have liked to go to the locally known beach spot on my own, but not having anyone to go with was my only barrier. That is largely about being female and feeling more vulnerable I expect. Now I have been a few times, I would be more comfortable on my own. If I were to visit alone, I would make sure there were other naturists around, even if it were just men I didn’t know on their own. Oh, the irony of feeling safer around a lone naked man, than a group of clothed people!


8. If ANW wasn't about naturism but something else what other life choice/hobby/interest/passion...would have made you consider joining it?


Steve - Probably something like environmental issues.   I don’t think many people realise or give a second thought to the environmental costs of the fashion industry.


9. What do you think naturism has taught you about yourself and do you think it has changed you in any way?


Steve - Naturism has taught me to be more accepting of others and to be less superficial. People are so much more than the packages they come in, despite what advertisers continually try to tell us.


10. Do you think that there are certain people better suited to naturism and others that are not suited to it and if so why do you think that?


Steve - I think everyone is capable of naturism as we were all born that way, but I feel that society, religion and commercial interests have conditioned us for so long to reject it,  For some, it is so far out of their comfort zone or their belief system, that they will never be open to trying it. 


11. How does your country consider naturism? How do the laws stand supporting naturism? What are the national and local opportunities like?


Steve- We are lucky here in New Zealand.  There is no law against public nudity.  There are laws against offensive behaviour but the courts do not consider simply nudity to be offensive.  We do not have any designated nudist beaches.  As soon as you designate a beach naked, by definition all other beaches are not.  That is not to say that everyone is naked at all beaches, and some are more recognised by locals as naturist beaches than others.  It isn’t just beaches, we also have many opportunities to get naked outdoors in parks, by rivers and lakes, and in remote and natural spaces.  There are still people here who believe that nudity is against the law, and there will always be people who complain, but as long as there is no intention to offend, the police will educate them and quietly send them on their way.



12. How would you like to see the future of naturism developing over the next 30 years and do you feel these ideas are achievable? 


Steve - I have often been critical of naturist organisations and their seemingly limited capacity to work for the members that contribute to their existence.  Obviously, there are some organisations that do promote healthy naturism very well, but often the organisational structure of some naturist groups gets in the way of real positive advocacy.  I prefer to see the work of many individuals, helping to normalise nudity in society and attracting people to the lifestyle.


I would rather pay a subscription to a website or a blog that I felt offered clear information and access to networks of naturists from all over the world than pay a membership fee to a naturist federation that seems to want to ban single males from their venues or spend time arguing over the label they wish to use to identify themselves.


My hope for the future of naturism is that it will be seen as a valid lifestyle choice, without shame or public ridicule.  A naturist lifestyle should have no more stigma attached to it than say a vegan one, for example.


There is a huge opportunity for naturist organisations worldwide to market themselves as the environmentally responsible option.  Do I think it is achievable? Yes.  Do I think it will happen? No.  So many naturist groups seem too tied up in their own politics to be able to see the opportunity.  


I think individuals are the key to changing public perception. 



13 What are the biggest problems that naturism is currently facing? 


Steve - I think the biggest issue facing naturism is one of secrecy.  Too many naturists are unwilling to own up to being part of the lifestyle and hide in the closet from friends and family.  I understand that in some religious and cultural environments, there are valid reasons why people might be reluctant to reveal an interest in naturism, and for some, there are legal ramifications to consider.   For many of us, there are little or no consequences of owning up to being a naturist, but we still persist in shying away from talking about it.  The more people who stand up and say, yes, I am a naturist, the easier it becomes for others.  Safety in numbers.  Those of us who can owe it to those of us who can’t, to help promote naturism for everyone.



14. If the world was accepting of naturism - happy to take on a clothing optional policy in most situations - how do you think it would change the way society works? What positives could you imagine and do you think there would be any negatives?


Steve - Where do I start?  Body confidence.  Self-respect.  Acceptance of others.  A realisation that advertisers are pulling the wool over your eyes.  The desexualisation of the naked human body.  Exposure of the beauty myth.  Environmental savings, the list goes on and on.  I think the benefits to society would be enormous.


The downside?  Perhaps the clothing and cosmetics industries would suffer and there would likely be job losses.  Advertisers make billions telling us that we aren’t good enough and trying to sell us whatever it is to make us better.  If everyone realised that they are perfectly fine and normal, then perhaps some marketing people might be looking for a new career.  From a sustainability point of view, these are costs I could live with.


15. Are there any aspects of naturism that frustrate you? 


Steve - I am often frustrated by media coverage of naturist events.  The wry smile or the risqué euphemism to disguise embarrassment often trivialises and undermines the messages.  The reaction of mainstream media has a huge impact on broader public acceptance.  As long as the media treat public nudity like some snigger-fest behind the bike sheds, the public will never take it seriously. 


16. Has there ever been a specific day, location, venue, activity that at the end of it has made you think - this is naturism at its best - and why?


Steve - Most days that I get to spend naked would qualify.  Why?  For me, any day spent naked gives me a sense of comfort and contentment that is hard to beat.


Emma - I just love being naked in the sea. I find it very liberating. And not having to wear a wet swimming costume for the rest of the day. 


17. Do you speak to friends and family about your naturism? How has that been? Do you have any tips? Has it ever had a bad effect on a relationship?


Steve - While I don’t shout it from the rooftops, I won’t lie about it either.  There have been situations where friends might say, “what are you up to this weekend?” and I will happily say to them “we are going camping”.  If they leave it there, I won’t elaborate, but if they ask where I will say.  I am not ashamed of my choices. Our close friends know and while it is not their thing, it doesn’t bother them.


Some of my family know about my lifestyle (so I guess they all do), but I haven’t lost friends or family by disclosing it.


Emma - I don’t shy away from it, but also don’t lie either. My adult children think it’s a bit weird, and my perception is that reaction is partly their generation, not just my being their parent. My mum and I sometimes talk about our naturist events and it's a lovely connection.


My opinion is that when talking about naturism to those who are less familiar with it, then it is better just to be straight up, honest and measured. Try to demonstrate that it’s really not a big deal. We have had people who have sniggered or been embarrassed and we just shrug it off. Saying that though, we do make an assessment of how likely our audience is to not react negatively and while I still would not overtly lie, I might lie by omission at times. Those occasions are by far the minority though.


18. What five words would you use to describe naturism that people who haven't tried naturism may not have considered and what five words would you say doesn't describe naturism that those same people may wrongly consider to be true.


Steve - Comfort, Grounding, Acceptance, Serenity and Contentment would be the five words I would use to describe naturism.


Naughty, Secret, Wrong, Shameful and Sexual would be five words that don’t describe it, but people might assume it to be true.


Emma - comfort, air, peace, tranquillity, acceptance are my words,

The words not to describe would be - shame, wrong, offensive, bad, dirty.


19. If you were to close your eyes and consider naturism as an animal, a colour and a food item what three answers would come to mind? 

Steve -

Animal:  Cat.  It does its own thing and doesn’t care. Likes basking in the sun.

Colour:   Yellow /Orange.  The colour of warmth.

Food:   Summer fruit. 


Emma -

Animal:   Fish.  Freedom, go where you want, there are so many varieties and it’s all ok.

Colour:   Green.  Natural,  at one with nature. 

Food:Sun-ripened vine tomatoes.  


20. Do you have any naturist regrets?


Steve - No.  Other than perhaps I wish I had embraced the philosophy earlier in life.


21. Why do you think people should join ANW? What can existing naturists get from it and how about “newbies"?


Steve - I think people should join as many naturist networks as they can, I don’t think you can have too many opportunities to connect with other naturists.  Sites like ANW provide a platform for people to see what other people are doing, how they cope with some of the challenges and celebrate their successes.  For anyone new to naturism, ANW is free of the seedier profiles that plague many social media sites and has valuable resources to help demystify the philosophy and navigate some of the issues.  Most importantly, the people.  Connecting with other like-minded people helps newcomers realise that they are not the only ones to feel the way that they do and that there are more of us out there than you might think.


22. Independent globetrotting to beautiful beaches and exotic locations is an exciting part of naturism - but there is a long history of local clubs, social meet-ups and national bodies - how important do you consider these aspects of naturism/nudism to be for today's naturist and the future growth of naturism?


Steve - I think the days of international jet setting are numbered.  The environmental costs of air travel seem unsustainable unless there are significant advances in carbon-neutral flight.  While I am often critical of local clubs and groups, many of which seem set in their ways, these clubs serve a valuable service by providing a safe place for people to be socially naked.  For people who can't be naked in their own homes, for whatever reason, these clubs are critical.  More importantly, I believe that the connections that we make in our social networking are a critical part of building naturist communities in our modern world.  Inviting your naturist connections to join in activities that you do, or joining in their activities, be it in real life or online, all strengthen those bonds.



23.  Have you spent time as a naturist abroad - and if so have you found any differences good or bad about the way these countries treat naturism and naturists?


Steve - Unfortunately not nearly as much as I would like.  Pre covid, most of my international travel was for work reasons or visiting family, and the opportunity to get naked hasn't really presented itself.  On our last trip to the UK in August 2022, I made a point of meeting up with a few of my naturist contacts from social media, and we did get to the Naturist Foundation in Kent, for a few hours, but the weather was changeable.  There are many fantastic looking places that are enjoyed naturally by my network of naturist contacts, and there are a couple of places that I would like to visit if I get the opportunity, but  I fear that globetrotting days are numbered.   I guess Europe appears to have a better attitude to public nudity.  I just can’t get my head around the attitude in the United States, where nudity is seen as scandalous, but they accept a couple of mass shootings a day as part of life there.


24. If you could go anywhere in the world as a naturist where would it be?


Steve - International travel is not so easy from New Zealand. Our closest neighbour is Australia and that is a 3-hour flight.  Our last trip to the UK was 32 hours.  Flights are expensive, and we tend not to think of overseas travel as easily as people in other parts of the world.  Having said that somewhere warm and by the sea, probably around the Mediterranean.


Emma - I also like being naked up high, maybe in the mountains, somewhere with a view and where you can feel the air on your skin. So we’ll need to find somewhere warm with a beach, but hills too! 



25. Any other thoughts and considerations to add?


Steve - If I were world president, the first thing I would do is ban swimwear.  It is an $ 18 billion-a-year industry for the most useless piece of clothing possible,  which provides little or no modesty, especially when wet, and adds nothing to the experience of swimming.  And don’t get me started on nightwear.  The next thing I would ban would be nightwear.  Pyjamas would be the second most useless piece of clothing ever invented.


Seriously, If I could wave a magic wand, I would want wearing nothing to be a valid option for people.  There are a number of things that I think people might now be more willing to accept than perhaps 20 years ago.  The effect on the environment of the clothing industry is, I believe, not fully understood.  If people realised how much water is used and polluted in the production of fast fashion, and how much of our clothing we think we are recycling ends up in unsightly landfills in 3rd world countries, I believe more people would consider nudity as an ethically and environmentally responsible option.


If you have nothing to wear, then wearing nothing should be a valid choice.

ANW thank BOPBadger (Steve) and Emma for sharing these wonderful insights into their lives and naturism. If you are inspired by Steve's last thoughts than do check out this Article: The Cost of Clothing

ANW welcomes all who are respectful and interested in naturism and invite all genuine naturist organisations, clubs, events, venues and other opportunities to be part of the ANW community and work with us to encourage the growth and acceptance of naturism around the world. If you have any questions email Anna and Steve at [email protected]

© 2022  BOPBadger (Steve) and Emma and All Rights Reserved