Matt Heath: What are the Four Pillars of Kiwi moustaches

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Blogs,
Publish Date
Monday, 29 October 2018, 8:31AM

There's a lot of chat about moustaches at this time of year with Movember coming up.

It makes you think about all the mos that have influenced or disturbed us across our lives. My uncle Phil had a massive bushy red one that haunts my nightmares to this day. Hung down and curled into his mouth.

There is no doubt that the moustache has long been a huge part of New Zealand sporting, cultural and family life. But what are the four pillars of the New Zealand moustache?

We have a proud history in the area.

Our second longest serving PM William Massey (1912-1925) had a decent one. Sir Āpirana Ngata had a good honest mo (check it out on any $50 note), Billy T James ran a solid upper lip operation as did atom splitter Sir Ernest Rutherford ($100 dollar note).

Who could forget the upper lip of Dick Quax when he took the world record in the 5000 metres. Also from the world of running, Rod Dixon had a great mo at the 1974 commonwealth games in Christchurch.

What about yachtsman Sir Peter Blake's beautiful blonde Hulk Hogan number?

There are also some fantastic current mos too.

Black Cap Lockie 'The Whakamana Express' Ferguson is running a beauty. It's an old world moustache. It wouldn't be out of place in the trenches of Sir Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old doco. All Black loosehead Karl Tu'inukuafe is running a healthy Lorax and flanker Sam Kane has plenty to be proud of up top too.

But what does it mean to be a pillar?

Well, It's the foundation of a thing. For example, the Matt and Jerry Show on Radio Hauraki recently anointed the four Pillars of Classic rock. Pillar 1. Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two; Pillar 2. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody; Pillar 3. The Eagles - Hotel California; and Pillar 4 Led Zepp - Stairway to Heaven.

Any decent house of classic rock is built on those four songs (well according to 42,000 listener votes anyway).

A pillar of a New Zealand moustache is slightly different. It must be both ionic and have a high profile Kiwi proponent. It must also be reasonably widely worn across New Zealand society.

Full disclosure, when it comes to moustaches I am an amateur observer and admirer. I have no official training. I've never had a proper one myself. Apart from the compulsory comedy mo for the kids when transitioning from beard to clean-shaven.

Maybe that's why I only have three pillars sorted. I need help with the forth. Love to hear your thoughts. Here we go.

Pillar 1 - Gary Whetton

Also known as The Magnum or Chevron.

A bushy number made famous internationally by Tom Selleck in the 80s TV series Magnum PI. But popularised in New Zealand by legendary All Black lock Gary Whetton. In fact, most Kiwis know him simply as the Magnum PI of the middle of the line-out. Freddie Mercury ran a magnum as did Burt Reynolds and Ron Swanson. But Gary Whetton is our pillar.

Pillar 2 - Mark Sainsbury

Also known as The Walrus. A bushy upside down C on a man's face. If it's less full it's known as a Horse Shoe. Aussie fast bowler Merv Hughes was famous for his. In fact, the walrus is sometimes referred to as a Merv Hughes. Actually, on occasions, Merv's would Lorax out a bit. His teammate David Boon ran a bit a walrus too on occasion. Former Canterbury and All Black coach Grizz Wyllie had a perfect Horse Shoe for many years.Hulk Hogan runs a Walrus. Although sometimes it's a beard with a yellow Horse Shoe dyed over the top.

Pillar 3 - Sir Richard Hadlee

Also known as the math's teacher or the plain.

This is the bog standard every day nothing special meat and two veg moustache worn by Sir Richard Hadlee. Actually, Ewen Chatfield had one steaming in from the other end too. Although his creeped wider. Sir Ian Botham ran a Math's Teacher as did Hollywood actor Gene Hackman. Victoria Cross winner Willie Apiata and Carl Weathers (The Predator, Rocky IV) had one each. Although both theirs tended towards the Magnum at times. Of course All Black front row enforcer Richard Loe ran the hard man version of the Hadlee.

Pillar 4 -

What is the fourth pillar?

Obviously, there are kiwis who run Dali, Pencil, Imperial, Handlebar, English and The Fu Manchu type moustaches. But do we have a strong enough proponent in the country to make a pillar?

Jonah Lomu ran an upper forehead mo for a while but that doesn't really count. I'm sure there's someone out there with a Tooth Brush. But that's a taboo facial hair. No longer in common usage for obvious reasons. You can't have Hitler's mo as a pillar.

Maybe the fourth pillar is the late 80s TVNZ moustache trio of Mark Leishman, Richard Long and Steve Parr from Sale of the Century. But there were rumours they were using the same mo from the props department. So probably disqualified.

It took 42,000 votes to work out the pillars of classic rock. I'm assuming we will get even more on this key issue when we put it to Hauraki listeners today and tomorrow morning. Very exciting. Who the hell is our fourth pillar?

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.