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The Nambassa Story - page 5


All in all, the atmosphere, the venues and the events were obviously well received by virtually everybody - I never heard a bad word about any of them - at the time, or since!

AF     DY

My experience here, confirmed for me a delicate transformation in the psyche which can occur when one is not separated from others by clothing. There is both a warmth and deep, subtle sense of connection when those artificial barriers are disolved. Accepted; that is not the experience of every body, apparently: but being here showed that in an open, accepting atmosphere, it wasn't just me that felt the value of being simply and naturally; at one with all.


What confirmed clothing as the causal barrier, was the way the level of warmth matched the ratio of those naked to those dressed. Where the numbers clad were greater, the sense of warmth declined - or was subtly transformed. I felt a much greater sense of 'unity with all' at the beach, compared with that occurring around the camping areas, for example.

IJ   IR   CF   AJ

It's not hard to see that there is absolutely no physical reason to be dressed in the water, other than shyness, perhaps. Indeed: wet clothes are life-threatening. Anyway, who wants to shower in their gumboots?

At my first Nambassa, down on the beach waving a 400mm lens; I was eventually approached by a woman asking what I was going to do with the pictures. "Not a lot," I said, a little apprehensively, "They're just a record."

"Would it be possible for you to take some of our group?" she asked, "We all forgot to bring a camera!"

I no longer have those particular pictures. It only took me about a year to deliver them to their place near Tolaga Bay, north of Gisborne. They were a group of half a dozen trying to sustain themselves as potters. Our subsequent friendships lasted rather longer than the potting business...


It would probably not escape the notice of some, that women tend to feature in these pictures. Evidence of a sexual preoccupation, maybe? Well: evidence that I'm a male, yes. But I certainly don't see eroticism in these images. Forms of beauty, or beauty of form? For me - both. These are simply examples of how we could (should!) be. Homo sapiens is the only species that may deliberately thwart its offspring from knowing its own generic form - and that has consequences. One is a low-level, normally unidentified, stress. You might not know that you've been banging your head against a brick wall for ages - but no one denies the relief when they stop. Being able to socialise naked (where the nudity is merely incidental) is an open confirmation of 'Self.' To know thy Self thus, engenders happiness, trust and relaxation.


In short this wasn't just a pleasant family event: it was also a spiritual experience for many and possibly an epiphany for some. Any relationship must surely have benefited, just from being here.


There were friendships that budded here, and friendships that flowered here. Certainly it's hard to see anything but good in an event like this. Maybe in the future we'll have another Peter Terry to take a punt on enhancing our collective happiness on a grand scale... Currently, there is the rather smaller 'Splore' option, held biennially in reserves around Auckland. However, the growing dominance here of American culture (via TV), along with the annual visit of Australian police for trans-Tasman seminars, has resulted in an effective suppression of nudity by default, which particularly affects festivals.


Thus, despite the pleasure - the price of freedom remains: eternal vigilance. We still need eyes in the back of our heads!

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This reminiscence on 'the good old days' was written and illustrated by John Lowe.

© John Lowe