Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Woman who took baby out for stroll on slippery rocks: 'I made a bad judgment call ... I am not a reckless mother'

The woman tries to navigate her way along the rocks at Mairangi Bay as the waves crash into her.
The woman tries to navigate her way along the rocks at Mairangi Bay as the waves crash into her.

A woman who says she is the mother photographed walking a pushchair along slippery rocks at high tide as waves crashed around her admits making a "bad judgment call".

But she denies she is a reckless mother.

Takapuna woman Eliane Souza captured a series of photos of the mother and pushchair becoming engulfed in the waves at Mairangi Bay on Auckland's North Shore early Saturday evening.

"I really thought she would have stopped. If I didn't think she was going to stop, I would have gone after her."

Several Herald readers expressed dismay at the photographs when published on Wednesday.

"Why anyone would take a pram along in these conditions is unfathomable," one reader said.

Another reader considered the mother's actions "rather reckless".

A woman contacted the Herald to say she was the mother involved. The woman -- who is not from the area -- said: "I could see that the tide had come up but the walkway looked fine from where we were.

"A few people passed me ... It took me another few seconds to notice the wet patch ahead. As I reached it, I stopped.

"By that stage people were now quite a distance away, no one was coming behind me and there was only one person ahead of me who had just started to cross that patch. The water was coming to his feet, with some light splashes at times, so after consideration I decided to go ahead.

"About 20 seconds in, a bigger wave than the others started to form and took us by surprise. My baby and I got covered with water."

She heard her boy cry and panicked. "I shouted for help but the man ahead had his headphones on and was too far to hear me.

"It was too late to turn around so I started running. That's when I saw a second big wave forming. As it was about to hit us, I turned my back to it to protect the buggy and my baby.

"After that second wave, the sea started to calm down and we finally got to the other end."

Her boy was unharmed, but it was still one of the scariest moments of her life.

"Like any mum, my baby is the most important thing in my life. For a split moment, I got scared for our lives. But my instinct told me to keep going until we got out of it, safe.

"I made a bad judgment call that day and, had I known what was going to happen, I wouldn't have carried on.

"I am not perfect but I am not a reckless mother."

- NZ Herald

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