Early times at Rallies
In earlier times rallies were designed as an opportunity for naturists from around the country to gather and socialize. They were essentially weekend affairs in those early days with little by way of sporting activity.
As the clubs in Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury began to get established by way of securing grounds and with a growing membership, activities such as Tennikoits and Handball were added to the social activities. As more and more immigrants from the UK and Europe arrived in New Zealand during the 1950’s, many who had experienced naturism overseas joined in clubs bringing along such games as Volleyball and Miniten to add to the sporting activities of clubs. With limited space for games courts, these games were ideal as they took up little room on the small club sites and soon became very popular with the members.
Later on as the clubs became more financial and with a growing membership, swimming pools were able to be built and these became one of the main features of the sites and gave much enjoyment to the members; especially the youth.
Noteworthy among the early rallies was that held in 1960 at Auckland Outdoor Health Club as it was then known. During the opening on the first night, set in the unfinished clubhouse open to the elements where the novo-light roof sheeting should have been, Percy Cousins the then National Organiser was about to give his speech when a heavy thunderstorm with heavy rain arrived and everyone got thoroughly wet and hastily disappeared into their tents to escape the deluge. Poor Percy somewhat perplexed had to wait until next morning in more suitable weather at the general meeting to finish off his speech from the night before.
The following two days of beautiful fine weather allowed for some great socialising and sunbathing and particularly of splashing in the hastily erected block pool built especially for the occasion. Games of Handball and Tennikoits were played in a non-competitive atmosphere of relaxation and following the inauspicious start, the rally was enjoyed by the eighty or so members in attendance.
Another rally of note was that held at Wellington where a ‘Noddy Train’ was used as entertainment for the many children present at that time. The 1987 rally at Pineglades was notable for the battle scene enacted by the Wizards Barmy Army and the general members. I am unable to report if there were injuries to the participants but the event was played with great joviality and lasted for some time until all participants were thoroughly exhausted.
Themes for rallies were introduced at the 1975 ‘Come Alive’ rally held at AOHC and from then on they gave the rallies a focus upon which to set their social activities. Come Alive was held again the following year as it was a nationwide programme sponsored by the Government of the day to encourage people to get out and get active in their communities.
The first rally held outside a naturist site was that held at Tolaga Bay on the farm property of Ian and Jennifer Fairbrother. This unique setting and the trip to the nearby Tolaga Beach proved that it was not necessary to have all the amenities of a regular club site to have a wonderful time.
Taranaki club also created an outside venue by holding their first rally in 1980 at the old Eltham milk treatment property. Much work was needed to get permission from the various council administrators and again proved that a small club with limited means, great enthusiasm and perseverance could accomplish a successful and memorable rally.
Rotota of course has held very enjoyable Campouts at their grounds on Lake Ohakuri with boating, sailing and water-skiing being an added attraction replacing the traditional sports programme. The added enjoyment was being able to have a nude walk through the thermal resort of Orakei Korako in the late afternoon following the closing of the venue to the tourist public. What a wonderful opportunity to be naked in a wild natural setting.
Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay clubs have also run very successful rallies over the recent years and it is always enjoyable to meet with others in their own local setting and thus provide one the opportunity to meet many people who may; for some reason or another; be not able to be regular rally travellers.
The many and varied rally themes put together over the years has provided lasting memories to those of us who have been fortunate enough to spend our many holidays in naturist settings throughout the country. The forthcoming Pioneer Rally to be held at Wellington Naturist club will again prove to be a most enjoyable and indeed memorable naturist experience and I would recommend it to one and all.
New Zealand Naturist Federation Archivist