Life's no beach being big - just ask Rotorua's Catherine Gettins and Kenneth Findlay who say they put up with abuse and discrimination on a daily basis.

However, life became even harder for the pair recently when they were banned from using the city's Aquatic Centre unless they wore approved swimwear.

On Tuesday morning, Mrs Gettins and her friend Mr Findlay went to the pool for a session of aqua jogging wearing what they had worn at the pools for the last four months - Mrs Gettins in leggings and a T-shirt and Mr Findlay in a pair of cut-off tracksuit pants.

Mrs Gettins said she tried to explain their situation to staff but "... they were not interested, it seemed they didn't want to know".


"That's when I lost it a bit ... surely they could make an exception, we are working very hard to make our lives better and lose weight, this is so frustrating and annoying," she said.

Mr Findlay said staff at the pools were only doing their jobs and enforcing a new rule that stopped people from wearing "streetwear" while swimming.

But Mrs Gettins said she was too modest to wear a bathing suit, even if she could find one that fit.

"I'm as sure as hell people in Rotorua would not want to see me half-naked, it's not a pretty sight," she said.

Mr Findlay said there were other people in the pools wearing the same clothing they were at the time they were asked to leave.

"I felt we were being discriminated against because of our size," he said.

Rotorua District Council's parks and recreation manager Garry Page said the team met with Mrs Gettins and Mr Findlay and a care nurse yesterday to discuss their issues.

"The reasons for our swimwear requirements were discussed and the complainants understood and agreed about the need to have such requirements to ensure hygienic facilities were provided to pool customers," Mr Page said.

"We acknowledge that they felt singled out by the application of our swimwear expectations."

He said an agreement was reached allowing them to continue to use their existing swimwear until they had something more appropriate.

He said suitable swimwear was identified yesterday afternoon, which had been ordered.

Mrs Gettins and Mr Findlay were on a holistic programme designed by the Rotorua Area Primary Health Service aimed at changing their lives through diet, exercise and motivation.

After beginning the programme Mrs Gettins said she had lost 90kg and had dropped down to size 52. Mr Findlay had also lost weight, now fitting into a 6XL.

Both are beneficiaries and cannot afford to buy custom-made swimwear that Mrs Gettins had priced at $300.

Mrs Gettins said they had been aqua jogging at the Aquatic Centre four to five times a week and had seen substantial benefits.

Mr Findlay said he had a wife and three young children.

"It's either do this or die, there are no options left. I want to be a dad for many years to come," he said.