Council apologises after burkini-clad women asked to leave pool

11:48 am on 22 July 2019

Auckland Council has apologised after reports Muslim women were told to leave a public pool for wearing burkinis, and is investigating.

A swimming pool with gated entry.

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

The council apologised to the women, who were swimming at the West Wave Pool in Henderson.

The burkini on the catwalk at NZFW.

Burkini swimwear as seen at NZ Fashion Week in 2016. Photo: Supplied / Michael Ng

Acting manager of active recreation Jane Aickin said CCTV footage from the pool was being examined and staff were being spoken to, to establish exactly what happened.

"We do know that there were Muslim women in the pool. We do know that they were relatively fully clothed but we don't know any of the details yet," she said.

"We're very inclusive and enable all appropriate swimwear that supports any religious or ethnic diversity or belief. So this is not something we would support."

While there are rules about certain fabrics not being allowed, Ms Aickin said women often swam in burkinis in Auckland's pools.

"People have swum with burkinis in our pools plenty of times and that's more than welcome, so that's not an issue," she said.

"We have a very clear statement about swimwear of any description being welcome and we have so many different varieties ... of swimwear. So when we talk about what's inappropriate it's simply the active-wear - sweatshirts, long pants, that sort of thing - which aren't conducive to being in water."

In France, a ban on full-body Islamic burkini swimsuits has sparked widespread condemnation for years and is subject to ongoing protests.

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