Gender segregation in the Mount Roskill public pool started in 2004

Screenshot of the notes a Whaleoil reader scribbled on a handout during the 2016 Watersafe Auckland Inc AGM

The so-called demand for gender segregation in a public pool in Mount Roskill appears to have coincided with the increase in the Muslim population in Mount Roskill. In response to the needs of Muslim migrants uncomfortable with a culture that treats women as equals and provides co-ed public swimming programmes, the Muslim Women’s Swimming project was created.

“A culturally appropriate swimming project was developed to address the health and social need of the new migrant community in Auckland particularly for women of Muslim faith. Women?s only swimming was piloted in Mt. Roskill in 2004,and has continued since then.

The Muslim Women?s Swimming Project has been evaluated three times since
its inception in 2005… This is the fourth evaluation report and the purpose is to report on progress since2007 to ensure that it remains an appropriate and relevant option for the intended audience.

Note that there has been a name change from the Muslim Women?s Swimming
Project to the Women?s Swimming Programme to encourage women of all cultures to attend the programme, however the focus does remain on increasing health and wellbeing of migrant and refugee women and those of Muslim faith.”

For some communities, mainstream methods of learning water safety and swimming lessons are not appropriate, and participation in water based activity often conflict with cultural and religious values…

-New Migrants and Refugee Swimming Programme Evaluation Report

In their response to my e-mail query WaterSafe indicated that segregated women-only classes?targeted specifically at Muslim women are the best way to lower the drowning statistics of “other” ethnicities?in New Zealand. This surprised me as being Muslim is a religious choice, not an ethnicity.

This programme is but one of many evidence-based targeted initiatives designed to prevent drowning among our fast growing and increasingly diverse population. In the 2015, official drowning statistics for Auckland for the first time have shown the ethnicity category of ?other? surpassing NZ European, M?ori, Pasifika and Asian. We have no intention therefore of cancelling a programme that has been successfully run for the past 12 years, and will continue to work with communities to ensure the social and economic burden of drowning in T?maki Makaurau is reduced.


WaterSafe’s response led me to research New Zealand’s drowning statistics to see if we have a Muslim woman drowning epidemic on our hands that requires?12 years worth of rate payer’s money to rectify. My article that answers the question, was published earlier today at 10 am.

I DO LIKE TO BURKA BY THE SEASIDE British Muslims enjoy day at the beach in Islamic dress