Waiwera Hot Pools were the emblem of an era
They may have closed, but we still have the memories
Kia ora and welcome to The Weekend, a medium for Spinoff staff writer Shanti Mathias (me) to inflict you with my relatively silly thoughts and then make up for it with extremely good links to The Spinoff and the rest of the internet. As someone who has been known to wear tramping boots when it’s raining (they’re warm OK), I enjoyed Gabi Lardies’ latest story musing on the persistence of a “gorpcore” aesthetic: looking like you’re about to go camping, but make it fashion. Lardies talks to a sociologist about whether this trend is linked to the climate crisis. Puffer jackets might be trendy, but I know one thing: you will be able to tell who is truly committed to the outdoors lifestyle by identifying the people unironically wearing stripey polypro under their shorts.
-Shanti Mathias, staff writer
“Growing up on the Hibiscus Coast, Waiwera Hot Pools was more than a water park: it was a promise that we were more than just a fringe cluster of Auckland suburbs. We were a destination,” George Fenwick writes. The pool are closing now, and Fenwick is writing from London, filled with nostalgia for what the pools wanted to be — a dream of (mostly Pākehā) leisure. “For local kids, Waiwera Hot Pools was a prize. Our schools would award the winning house a free day there at the end of the year, unleashing hundreds of children desperate for poolside ice creams and hydroslide races. Only the bravest among us, however, would yeet ourselves down the pitch-dark Black Hole, smacking our soft heads against the fibreglass on its final hairpin turn and cannoning out into the sunlight like that cop on the Boston slide. No rider could avoid it: it was a universal injury, a great leveller.”
Catherine Hart thinks being a parent all the time: she wants to work flexible hours, cuddle a toddler and teach another human how to live well in the world. But she doesn’t want a partner, either. “It’s hard to reject ideas of gender expectations around parenthood, specifically the one where cisgendered women are told they need to get pregnant before the age of 35,” she writes. She’s on the waitlist for donor sperm, and is exploring other options. “A family doesn’t resemble a stock image… I can do this on my own, in my own way.”
Rachel Judkins spends a day at the Taonga Teen Parent unit in Manurewa, where young mums can attend school alongside their babies
Number of the week: a less diverse Parliament?
As polling is released and parties confirm their lists, it’s possible to predict how the next Parliament is going to be different from the current one, at least demographically. Ben McKay fires up the predict-a-tron and makes a bunch of stabs in the dark and combines it with party electorate and list line-ups to see what the next Parliament might look like. There are lots of men who are potential new MPs coming in from National, while it seems like some of the people that Labour will lose are its female candidates. The piece, which McKay caveats by pointing out that it will end up being inaccurate one way or another, is a useful glimpse of how the shape of Parliament can be decided by slim margins and party list rankings.
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Spinoff contributor Airana Ngarewa has just published his first book, The Bone Tree. Unlike many writers, he hasn’t been a lifelong reader; school was an exercise in resisting the authority that had taken so much from his whānau, not falling in love with the written word. After school, he became an MMA fighter. “I would strap on my gloves and strip down to my shorts and do to my opponent what I’m sure my teachers wished they could’ve done to me – hand out a hiding, give the bash,” he writes. Hungry, thirsty, preparing for a fight, Ngarewa picked up a book from the library. “That was where the idea that I could write a book started. Writing is simple, I thought: you put words on paper and they suck and then they get published.” The journey to write and publish The Bone Tree was its own kind of fight: to tell a new, honest story, one that wouldn’t have alienated his younger self.
Shamubeel Eaqub’s towering reading pile
He’s seen it on TV for years, but ahead of the fourth season, Stewart Sowman-Lund got to visit the New Zealand Taskmaster house in person, documenting his “strange morning” exploring the set. “As a megafan of the show it was interesting to see very recognisable parts of the set and also spotting the bits that were meant to be off camera,” he told me. He gets to observe a team task, too hearing from production about the qualities that mean a task will make it to air. Who is Stewart backing this season? “I’m excited to see how Bubbah does considering she didn’t know which show she was on”. The comedian is certainly committed - for a prize task this week, she got a tattoo of the other contestants.
Bring Policy.nz back for 2023!
We’re less than two months from election day which means it’s nearly time for the return of everyone’s favourite election voting tool, Policy.nz, which allows readers to compare candidates, parties and policies in their electorates.
Policy.nz is made by a small team in Wellington. They’ve always relied on advertisers and sponsors to make the tool possible, but in the current economic environment, it’s been challenging. For the first time, they’re asking users to support their work. If you’ve used the tool in the past or plan on using it in the coming weeks, please consider donating here to keep it running.
Eight decades of Labour and National’s election slogans, ranked!!!!!!!!!!
RNZ’s In Depth team is on an absolute tear and this story about the long history of the agriculture industry and the ETS is really useful even if you haven’t followed this issue at all
A controversial opinion here from Sam Brooks: the best cinema seats are right at the front
Jason Momoa loves New Zealand, and Alex Casey has the receipts
I am obsessed with the grumpy Paris booksellers in this story refusing to even contemplate any promotional tie-in for next year’s Olympics
Loved this on the challenges of archiving newspapers in places with limited traditions of archiving and a tropical climate
Having the football World Cup in Aotearoa was so, so great
Very cool way to visualise how the fight for women’s equality is about access to leisure (as well as education and work)
What do you do when your friend has fallen for a scammer who is taking her money? Ask Hera!
Shanti’s podcast corner: Blowback season four comes out next week (!) so this is the perfect time to revisit season one about the American invasion of Iraq
This in-depth exploration of PFAS “forever chemicals” made me understand why there is good reason to be concerned — and how big picture interventions are essential
Steven Joyce has some ideas for current politicians about how to win elections
The Lauren Dickason trial is a chance to reflect on how to respond effectively to perinatal depression
A tragic read about rock climbing, depression and the danger of using risk as therapy
Nicola Willis is emphasising her family and passion for Wellington as she takes a tilt at the Ōhāriu electorate
Toby Morris interviews graphic novelist Ned Wenlock about idiosyncratic kids and comic sound effects
Tired and uninspired, Haimoana Gray calls it: this might already be the fatigue election