Cameron pool

A new version of the YMCA classic hit


The YMCA used to stand for Young Men’s Christian Association but now the song goes something like this…

Mount Roskill Village People

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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

Which gender and ethnicity drowns the most in New Zealand?




Drowning is the fourth highest cause of accidental death in New Zealand so some would argue that swimming programmes targeting the gender and ethnicity of those most likely to drown are a very good idea. WaterSafe certainly believes that the ratepayer-funded FREE Muslim Women’s Swimming programme that has been running for 12 years in Mount Roskill is justified despite the drowning?statistics not revealing religious affiliation. Interestingly what the statistics do reveal is that men not women are most at risk of drowning.

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European Court of Human Rights rules against school pool segregation of Muslims

In Auckland at the Mount Roskill public Cameron pool a segregated, religious swimming programme is funded by the ratepayers. The rationale behind offering it to Muslim women is that it will help them to integrate into our culture and society according to the New Zealand Herald article on the subject. The European Court of Human rights does not share this belief, in fact, they have outlawed segregation of Muslim students at school as they see it as preventing integration.

Our own New Zealand Human Rights Commission has been silent on the subject and the Auckland Council has denied that the ratepayer-funded religious segregation even exists.

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I’m sure they meant to say, Fee paying Women’s learn to swim programme


It is ridiculous enough to become a meme. The Auckland council’s spokesperson denied the existence of Muslim Women’s Swimming lessons, refused to answer my questions about them and said that they provided Women only lessons that all women were welcome to sign up for.

The women only swim times are not limited to women of the Muslim faith.

That is what he said but this is the WaterSafe swimming programme registration form:

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Auckland Council says one thing, hard evidence and circumstantial evidence says another

The reply I received from Ian Maxwell on behalf of Councillors Fletcher and Casey denied the existence of Muslim Women’s swimming lessons and did not answer any of my questions about them because he stated that they do not exist. I have replied to the below e-mail with screenshot evidence of their existence and have asked Mr Maxwell what he is going to do about them.

Hi Juana, thank you for your query to Councillors Fletcher and Casey concerning the provision of women only swim sessions at Cameron Pool.

My name is Ian Maxwell and I am accountable for parks, pools, libraries, community, events and art services at Auckland Council. I am responding on behalf of the Councillors.

For some years some ?Auckland public pools managed or owned by Auckland Council has been offering swimming times for women only.

For a whole range of reasons some Auckland women prefer to not swim with men. These reasons are personal to the woman concerned but may include levels of confidence, perceptions about their appearance or the nature of their faith.

The women only sessions have proved popular especially with women who are new to Auckland and to New Zealand.

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