2 Dec 2015

A beard maketh the modern man

From New Zealand Society, 3:30 pm on 2 December 2015
Aucklander Kerry Adams

Aucklander Kerry Adams Photo: image supplied

Have beards had their day or are they here to stay?

Beards have proven more than a passing fad, serving to unite men the world over.

New Zealand men have wholeheartedly embraced their beards, so much so, that beard and moustache competitions have emerged and a New Zealand Beard Appreciation Society boasts 11,000 members on Facebook. Sonia Sly spoke to some men whose beards play a part in shaping their identity.

Kerry, 37 (above) founder of New Zealand Beard Appreciation Society

When I started the Beard Appreciation Society I started it as a joke and I thought thirty of my mates would jump on there [the site], but it just kept on growing.

I didn’t know the timing was bang-on until I went to a barber one day and they pointed out that beards were having a resurgence. All of a sudden I was getting these private messages from young guys going, ‘My beard isn’t growing fast enough, what can I do?’

The irony is, for a lot of young guys who are looking at everyone else with these big beards, they’re now having image issues because they can’t grow [one].


Sam Wakelin, winner of best beard at the 2015 NZ Beard and Moustache Championships held in Auckland

Sam Wakelin, winner of best beard at the 2015 NZ Beard and Moustache Championships held in Auckland Photo: image supplied

Sam, 33 Winner of NZ beard and moustache championships (2015)

It’s quite tied up with my identity now, so it could be a bit of shock to the system to get rid of it. I don’t do much to it, I guess it’s like a Victorian style full beard, just kind of long and natural.

It does say something about you when you have a beard; you get very mixed reactions from people. People tend to think there’s a religious reason or some reason behind it. It’s quite a unique expression of masculinity, that I quite like.

I’m considering taking up teaching in a couple of years and some of the people at the training course say some schools don’t allow bearded teachers - which I find a bit prejudiced - so that would a bit of a restriction I guess.


Braxton, hospitality worker  

I grew a beard just to see if I could. Obviously I can. It started with a moustache challenge with my dad, actually. I was like,’shall we see who can grow a moustache first?’ He obviously won, but then I kept the moustache and then I thought to myself why not just grow the beard out and here we are. Sometimes it goes real frizzy, which sucks though. I already look like a wild man.  

Braxton gets a quick tidy-up ahead of a big event

Braxton gets a quick tidy-up ahead of a big event. Photo: Sonia Sly


Kent Lambert shows off his luscious beard

Kent Lambert shows off his luscious beard Photo: Sonia Sly

KENT, 38, actor, comedian and founder of Lambert’s Luscious Beard Oils

The reason I started growing my beard is because my father died.

I was in Australia and I was sorting out his last will and testament for about a month and a half. In the midst of that grief, personal hygiene and personal care slipped by the wayside, so after a month and a half I had this big bushy beard -  but it was also ratty and had lots of beard dandruff, what I like to call man-druff.  

There’s security in owning a beard, it’s like having a friend on your face - it gives you a sense of identity and it really becomes a part of who you are.

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