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.
Without this program many of the women who attend the sessions would not otherwise acquire water safety skills.
Our experience is that where women, especially mothers, learn to swim then their children also learn to swim.
New Zealand and Auckland suffers from high levels of death by drowning. By encouraging water safety among families who may otherwise not learn to swim the program saves lives.
Juana, you have asked a series of questions. Each refers to Islamic values and or the Muslim faith.
The women only swim times are not limited to women of the Muslim faith. Women of the Muslim faith attend as do women of other faiths and I suspect women of no faith. We also get older women, women who believe they are overweight, women who have been injured or who have lost a limb – women who for one reason or another personal to themselves would rather swim with other women only.
Aucklanders are a diverse people. Some are modest and we believe as Aucklanders they should have an opportunity to enjoy the water. While their use is exclusive from a practical day to day perspective we try to ensure the impact on other potential users of the pool is minimal.
Director Community Services
Apart from my screenshot of the Cameron pool timetable that clearly shows Muslim Women’s Swimming lessons and my screenshot of the registration for the Muslim Women Swimming programme at the Cameron pool I also have circumstantial evidence of their existence. There is this comment on facebook from Thiago Tirapelle that mentions the Mount Albert Aquatic Centre for example.
Then there is the photo used to promote the women’s swimming programme where the only non-Muslims in the photo appear to be the pool staff.
The best possible interpretation I can put on this is that the Muslim Women’s Swimming programme and lessons will allow non-Muslim women to join in if they ask. I don’t know about you but if the intention is to provide a service for ALL women then shouldn’t it be called a Women’s Swimming programme?
**Ian Maxwell was e-mailed for further comment but had not replied by the time this post went live.
I have noted however that the timetable for the Cameron pool has been altered since my first article and now reads Women’s Swim school classes. Tracks are being covered and quickly.