NZNF 60th Anniversary

In celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the New Zealand Naturist Federation, let me take you through an overview of the history of the Federation and some of its key milestones over the years.   Please join me in appreciation and honour of the pioneers who established this organisation and the lifestyle that we can all enjoy today.   (Note that this is an historical article and some of the appointments etc. are no longer relevant).

The Beginning

In the September 1957 publication of The Naturist Review, Gerald Wakely outlined the concept of a National Organisation with recommendations in an article called The First Steps.   At this time, nine clubs were already in existence:

* Kaurimu Sun Club
* Auckland Sun Club
* Auckland Outdoor Health Club
* Waikato Health Club
* Gisborne Sun Club
* Wanganui Sun Club
* Wellington Sun and Health Society
* Canterbury Sun and Health Club
* Otago Sun and Health Club

At the sixth national Rally, held at Canterbury Sun and Health Club, a decision was made about the establishment of the National Association and the above mentioned clubs became affiliated and the NZ Sunbathing Association which was established on 01/01/1958.

In a coincidental comparison to the Te Marua Pioneer Village Rally held in 2017/18, Editor of The National Review, Stewart Ransom, said this of the 1957 Rally in Canterbury: "It was an event permeated with the pioneering spirit...".

The first National Officers were:

* National Organiser - Percy Cousins
* Public Relations Officer - Stewart Ransom
* Overseas Contributor - Gerald Wakely

With the Legal Officer being Russell Hopkins of AOHC.

After the Half AGM on 05/06/1977, the organisation name was changed to New Zealand Naturist Federation.


Pioneering Spirit

The grounds of clubs were established with entirely manual labour and much back- breaking work.   Swimming pools were dug, halls were built, ablution blocks were constructed and everyone, from the youngest members to the oldest, helped in some way or another to build the facilities.

But it hasn't been all work and no play - since 1953, members of clubs around NZ have been gathering each year for a national festival or Rally.   The first two were held at Wanganui Sun Club with following rallies being held at the Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington clubs, almost in rotation.

From 1975/76, rallies took on a theme which have been embraced and enjoyed by all who have attended these.   Rallies in the past are not much different from those of today - a chance to reconnect with old friends and the opportunity to make some new friends.

Sports such as miniten, tenniquoits, petanque, and more recently kubb, have been played for the honour of the club, but in the spirit of true sportsmanship and respect to all players.


Perc Cousins 1953-1969
Gavin Robieson 1969-1972
Russell De La Cour 1972-1975
Ian Fairbrother 1975-1978
Ron Rencher 1978-1980
Peter James 1980-1983
Gary Watson 1983-1985
Alan Henderson 1985-1987
June Campbell-Tong 1987-1990
Les Olsen 1990-1994
Brent Thompson 1994-1996
Kay Hannam 1996-2000
Mike Kelly 2000-2007
Ken Mercer 2007-2010
Peter Whalan 2010-2012
Wendy Lowe 2012-2016
Donna Miller 2016-2019
Wendy Lowe 2019-

Honorary Life Members

In 2000 the very first Honorary Life Membership was awarded to Doug Cousins.   Doug was Percy Cousins' son and had worked tirelessly for Wellington Naturist Club and naturism in New Zealand.   Working as an auditor professionally, he took on the treasury role for WNC for many years and was also the Club Patron until his passing in 2005.

Norman Bell became interested in naturism as a young man and became a very close friend of Doug Cousins.   Although he lived in Napier he commuted to Wellington frequently to pursue naturism with his friend Doug and his family in the early days of the Wellington Sun Club.   Norman worked as printer and was responsible for the printing and layout of the very early NZ Naturist magazines.   Later on when the Hawkes Bay club were searching for grounds Norman was the club benefactor loaning the funds to purchase land.   Norman was appointed as Vice President in 1967 until 1970 when it was agreed to have one VP in each island.   He has been a stalwart member of the Hawkes Bay club and although of quiet disposition has contributed greatly to the movement for those many years.

Les has been active with the Federation since 1976 when he first became the Delegate for AOHC.   Over the years he has been the Delegate many times contributing massively to the AGM.   In 1988 Les became the North Island Vice President a role he continued until becoming NZNF President in 1990.   Les served as President for four years before taking on the Editorship of NZ Naturist Magazine in 1994. With his wife Laurel as Business Manager, he continued on as Editor until 2004.   Another crucial role that Les took on in 1993 for the Federation was that of Archivist, a role which he continues to this day almost 25 years later.

Following considerable dedication to the Federation and gonatural Magazine, Kay Hannam was awarded Life Membership in 2016.   Kay was the NZNF President from 1996 to 2000 and then in 2007 became the Editor of the magazine.   Kay held this role, and that of Business Manager, for 8 years until 2015. Co-owning firstly Aoraki Naturally in Tekapo and then Wai-natur in Wairau Valley, Kay has been serious about getting naturism into the media and promoting this to the wider community.

It was appropriate that at the NZNF 60th Anniversary celebration, that June Campbell-Tong was invited to join this select group of people who have given so much to naturism and was awarded Honorary Life Membership.   June, who recently celebrated being a naturist for 50 years, has contributed greatly to the clubs that she has belonged to over this time - Canterbury Sun Club, Wanganui Sun Club and now for many years Wellington Naturist Club.   Being an avid table tennis player, June has won almost every Ladies Singles and Doubles matches that she's played at each of the Rallies.   June was NZNF President from 1987 to 1990 and Secretary from 2007 to 2017.   She is also a Trustee for the Percy Cousins Trust and was a valued member of the Planning Team for the 2016 International Congress of Naturism.

National Magazine

First published in May 1956, our national magazine was initially called The National Review.   Then in August of 1958 it received a revamp, with a new cover image by Bob McIver, a member of Wellington Sun and Health Society and a name change to become The National Naturist Review.   In the summer edition of 1960, photographs were first included to the magazine.   In 1961, along with a change of Editor, came another name change and the magazine became The N.Z. Naturist.   In 1963 the standard cover graphic became a cover photo and from then onwards each issue has been published with a different cover image. Then comes September 2005 and a further, now familiar, name change...gonatural Magazine.

Magazine Editors

Stewart Ransom1956
Perc Cousins1958
Gerald Wakely1961
Perc Cousins1964
Joan Treanor1969
John Gilmour1972
Eddie (Kay) Kwok 1975
Con Chignall1976
Mike Ganley 1979
Graeme Brown 1981
Les Olsen 1995
Conrad Inskip 2005
Kay Hannam 2007
Michael P Moore 2015

gonatural Branding

Throughout 2003 and 2004, a joint marketing project between the NZNF and Wellington Naturist Club saw the scoping of a new brand now familiar to us. The Marketing Project team consisted of Judith M, Ken M, Jaques, Bev, and Clive H with assistance from others.   The team received professional direction from St John Craner and Grant Bunyan of Designhaus.

A significant amount of time and money was invested in the project which was funded by the NZNF, Percy Cousins Trust, WNC as well as the other larger clubs.   The objective was to deploy a national marketing strategy for all clubs using WNC as the model.   The new visual and brand name identity would be used in regional, national and global contexts.

Club use of the new branding was encouraged providing the brand standards were adherred to.   This ensured the integrity and professionalism of the new brand.   The brand tagline was designed to be changed if this was deemed relevant and in 2010, this was updated to reflect and promote the many benefits that naturism brings - 'health and well-being'.

The professionalism of the branding project has been realised in the fact that the logo has stood the test of time and is as relevant and recognised today as it was then.


The NZNF have always, where possible, taken every opportunity presented by the media to share the story and benefits of naturism.   Sometimes this has taken the form of a joke or laughing a little at what we do with quips about how we get on in cold weather and barbequeing sausages, however in recent times most of the publicity has been thoroughly researched and a more serious presentation of the benefits of naturism.

Some of our personalities have featured on well known TV programmes. Kay Hannam and Aoraki Naturally featured on the Holmes Show, and also on My House My Castle.

We are not under any illusions however, it's still all about ratings for the journalists, but we are satisfied and appreciative if they represent the story in an appropriate and correct manner.

INF World Congress - 2016

Since the INF-FNI World Congresses began, New Zealand has sent a Delegate to represent our country.   In 2013, the NZNF began a project, in conjunction with Tourism New Zealand, to bid for hosting the 2016 International Congress of Naturism here.   At the 2014 Congress in Ireland, our bid was successful and New Zealand was chosen to host the 2016 Congress - making only the second time the Congress has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.

After much hard work, and threats from natural disasters in the days prior - the 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura Earthquake and a severe flooding event in Wellington - the 2016 International Congress of Naturism began.   52 international visitors representing 23 countries enjoyed the amazing hospitality of Wellington Naturist Club and clubs throughout NZ.   The 2016 Congress event put New Zealand on the worldwide naturist map.

The Future...

The NZNF will continue to work for the general acceptance of naturism.   We will continue to seek and optimise media opportunities to show the country that we are not hippies, perverts or the strange people in the area - not something of a curiosity or joke.

We are campaigning to be accepted because we know we have a unique lifestyle based on respect, harmony and equality.

And each of us can contribute to this mission to increase acceptance of naturism.   We cannot however do this from our secret places - from shutting ourselves away in hiding.   We should be more focussed on the communities we are amongst and less on "us and them" or "us and the textile world".   We can be amongst and alongside the community showing our tolerance, understanding and acceptance.

Thank you for joining me on this journey and reading about the milestones the Federation has achieved over the past 60 years.   I wonder what achievements we will make together in the future? I am honoured to be a small part of this history and to be taking the Federation forwards into the start of our next 60 years.

Photo Credits

Les Olsen - Archivist
Michael P Moore - Magazine Editor
John Bowers - WOS
Rob Verschoor - WNC
Brent Anderson - WNC