Story: Scandinavians

Backyard sauna, Auckland

Backyard sauna, Auckland

A member of the Auckland Finnish Society, Hellevi Pärssinen-Walrond, stands outside her sauna with a vasta (silver birch branches lashed together). Dipped in water, the vasta is used to scrub the skin. Earlier arrivals in Kawerau had to make do with eucalyptus branches for their vasta. Sauna is one of the only Finnish words in common use – invariably Kiwis mispronounce it as ‘saw-na’. The correct pronunciation is ‘sow-na’.

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Private collection, Carl Walrond

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Scandinavians - 20th-century migration', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 May 2022)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2015