Home' Waiheke Weekender : 21 June 2012 Contents 21 June 2012
2 Waiheke Weekender
Making a splash
The first word
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On one of those
crisp golden days
we are still being
spoilt with well
into winter, I
headed to town
last week to
revisit an icon of
my childhood, the
known as 'the
Re-opening again on Saturday after two
years of almost complete renovation, the baths
have been returned to their former 1914 glory,
with a wonderful combination of the best of the
old and some very impressive new.
Gone are all those draughty changing rooms,
painted from memory, in a public toilet shade
of green. Gone also are the 'horse stable door'
cubicles, replaced with very stylish cabanas, a
feature of its early years.
The whole place is like a tasteful facelift,
where you can recognise the good bones but no
longer see the decay around the edges.
I don't think there can be an Aucklander who
hasn't visited the baths at least once in their life-
time. And while I didn't grow up on Waiheke,
my colleagues here tell me that heading to the
baths for a winter treat was a regular feature of
their own childhoods.
And with the lack of a public pool on the
island, it looks like the baths will again be
Aside from going there to swim in the learn-
ers' pool as a child and do 'lengths' in the
25-metre pool as an adult, I also had a brief
period of employment at the baths in my student
For some unfathomable reason, I decided I
could teach young children to swim as a holi-
day job and convinced someone, who later must
have thought better of it, to hire me.
In those days, the learners' pool had the
sort of chill on it that left you shivering after
fve minutes of standing about and I’m sure we
didn't have wet suits... I'm talking about the
So I arrived on day one and found that not
only did I seem to have individual lessons
arranged but that the anxious mothers were
going to be sitting on the sidelines, watching my
Feigning confdence, I took the frst shivering
little toddler in hand and cheerfully splashed him
about, taking great care not to drown him as I
was sure that wouldn't be a good look.
So far, so uneventful. However, toddler
number two was a different
story, screaming his resistance
with a face like thunder.
After I hopefully suggested
he wasn't ready for lessons yet,
his mother remained insistent
that he must get in the pool and
learn something; she had paid
for the privilege after all.
Meanwhile his screams had
reached fever pitch, attract-
ing the attention of the entire
complex and everyone was
looking at me to fx the prob-
lem.And as readers of this column
will know, child management
has never been my strong point
fail. I did eventually manage to
grit my teeth and get this hefty bundle of failing
arms and legs into the water.
I know I should have felt sorry for him during
his traumatic ordeal, but once he'd managed to
pull my hair, land a few painful kicks and deafen
me with his yelling, I decided to feel much more
sorry for myself.
Needless to say my tenure as 'toddler tamer'
lasted less than a week, after which time I thank-
fully took a job as a dishwasher in a vegetarian
restaurant, where the chances of encountering
small children and swimming pools were signif-
The other thing of interest at the baths was
always people watching.
Swimming is a great leveller in that respect.
Everyone is reduced to their most vulnerable
selves, bodies on display, and because of its
central city location, the baths has always had
more than its share of diverse patrons.
Of course, there are the 'real swimmers';
those broad shouldered gods of the pool who
snap on their caps and goggles, dive gracefully
in and immediately start their fawless laps, fip
turning at each end with minimum splash.
And while as an inferior species, one can
subtly appreciate their beauty and style, it
doesn't pay to hold them up in the fast lane.
At the other end of the scale, there are the
founderers; those game types who really can’t
swim at all but somehow manage to get some
forward momentum in the slow lane.
This category also pose a problem as lane-
sharing companions, as they are likely to come
to an unpredictable stop mid-pool or suddenly
fail across three lanes to the side.
Then there are those who don't worry about
laps at all and just head straight for the sauna
or spa. This was always my temptation but I
usually made myself at least attempt a few
Or those who get in the main pool but don't
feel any need to swim; preferring to simply bob
about in the shallow end, getting in everyone's
However the great thing about the Teps was
that all types were welcomed and accommodat-
ed for a modest fee, and very soon, that pleasure
will be ours again.
DEPARTING DOWNTOWN AUCKLAND DEPART WAIHEKE ISLAND (MATIATIA)
MON TO FRI
SUN & PUBLIC
MON TO FRI
SUN & PUBLIC
* Sailing time is approximately 10 minutes longer than other sailings.
◊ This is an unscheduled departure and depending on vessel may depart earlier than time shown.
Fullers operates a Waiheke Island bus service to and from all Auckland sailings.
Ask about Fullers Wine on Waiheke, Taste of Waiheke, Waiheke Explorer and Island Hopper tours.
For freight enquiries, please phone (09) 367 9104.
Fares include Auckland Transport passenger terminal charge of 20c per passenger, per trip.
PHONE 09 367 9111
EFFECTIVE 23 APRIL 2012
The learners' pool at the renovated Tepid Baths
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