Leisure and Pleasure by Caroline Daley

By Caroline Daley

This exploration of an unforeseen element of latest Zealand social background examines the human physique at relaxation within the years 1900-1960. This booklet stories bodybuilding, specially the well-known strongman Eugen Sandow; growing to be principles approximately health, healthiness, and workout; the increase of good looks contests; the tradition of the seashore and the pool; nudism; and kid's play and the looks of playgrounds. The important goal is to discover how bodies-men's, women's and children's-were formed and displayed via quite a few hobbies in 20th-century New Zealand.

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Ward, who later became prime minister, assured Sandow that he intended to take up the Sandow System, and extended an invitation for the strongman to migrate to New Zealand. While such occasions allowed men like Aitken and Ward to associate themselves with a popular performer, they also provided Sandow with the right of reply. He could praise local physique, claiming that he had ‘never seen such material, such a fine race of men, as he had seen in this colony’. )’ He could paint himself as a humble teacher of the Sandow System: ‘He was always pleased to give instruction on the subject, and was ready at any time to give away what he knew.

In a society that longed for bodily constraint as much as it enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh, his message was well received. In the ensuing years Sandow’s legacy became apparent in many forms of leisure and pleasure but in the immediate aftermath of his tour the air was almost as full of Sandow as it had been during his brief stay in New Zealand. The strongman may have departed these shores, but he left behind many followers who picked up his dumb-bells and posed in annual physique competitions.

As a young man he had worked in a bakery but suffered from lung trouble. Doctors could offer no cure, and claimed he did not have long to live. 17 In the years that followed, Jarrett instructed hundreds of Wanganui school children (among then the boys Sandow visited), and taught Sandow’s system to their teachers. 18 He also found time to conduct classes for adults. His pupil, G. H. Marshall, won a gold medal in one of Sandow’s competitions and in turn became an instructor at the Wanganui Young Men’s Institute.

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