Tepid Baths

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Tepid Baths as seen from a nearby building, prior to the 2010–2012 restoration work

The Tepid Baths are historical indoor public pools in Auckland, New Zealand. Built in 1914 on the previous site of a small drydock,[1] it quickly met great public approval, with 30,000 visitors in the first two months.[2] In mid-2012, the baths re-opened following a major rebuild.


The Tepid Baths was originally leased from the Auckland Harbour Board, and contain two separate pools, a "male" (25 m, 6 lanes) and "female" (18 m, 4 lane). The "male" pool was the largest in New Zealand at the time. The pools were heated with hot water from the nearby tramways power plant, the system being considered an engineering masterpiece of its time.[3]

The pools were not only extensively used for both recreational and competitive swimming, but also for some other uses – in one event, a pentecostal minister baptised a hundred new faithful in the pools (in about 1931).[4] Two sports champions were Custodians at the Tepid Baths, swimmer Malcolm Champion (who frequently swam across the harbour to his North Shore home) and runner Billy Savidan.[5]

In 1974, the salt water pools (previously fed from the Waitematā Harbour) were transformed into fresh water pools, primarily for maintenance reasons.[2] The facility was refurbished in 1986 and again after the YMCA received the management lease in 1997 from Auckland City Council. Renovations included new sauna and steam rooms, and a gym on the upper level (YMCA club members only).[3] Nowadays, a large part of the Tepid Baths' customers are people working in the Auckland CBD who swim here before or after work.[6]

View from Hobson St flyover in 2016

In November 2009 it was announced that the Tepid Baths would close for a period of up to four years for a $12 million restoration project to address structural issues exacerbated by saltwater effects. It was hoped the pool would reopen in time for its 100th anniversary in 2014.[7] The baths closed on 18 April 2010, while the Y-Fitness Centre had already moved to new purpose-built facilities at the ANZ Centre in Albert Street.[8] While the restoration costs rose later to approximately $16 million,[9] the pools were closed only until mid-2012 when they reopened.

In late 2012, the restored building won the New Zealand Project Management Institute's (PMINZ) Public Sector Project of the Year award.[10]


  1. ^ Development of naval repair facilities at Auckland, New Zealand 1841–1962 Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. – Bell, J.A.; AMRINA Deputy Constructive Manager HMNZ Dockyard
  2. ^ a b Tepid Baths history Archived 23 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine. (from the 'Pools and recreation centres' webpage of the Auckland City Council. Accessed 27 November 2008.)
  3. ^ a b Welcome to Tepid Baths Archived 20 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine. (from the YMCA Auckland website)
  4. ^ Dallimore, Arthur Henry (database entry in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography)
  5. ^ McMillan, Neville (1993). New Zealand Sporting Legends: 27 Pre-War Sporting Heroes. Auckland: Moa Beckett. ISBN 1-869580-14-1. 
  6. ^ Swimming pool strategy (from the Auckland City Council website)
  7. ^ Tapaleao, Vaimoana (19 November 2009). "$12m repair job will close Tepid Baths". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Tepid Baths update". City Scene. Auckland City Council. 31 January 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Now we're together we're really moving forward". Auckland Council rates info leaflet. August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Tepid Baths wins prestigious award". Auckland Council. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 

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Coordinates: 36°50′38″S 174°45′47″E / 36.843997°S 174.763003°E / -36.843997; 174.763003