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, 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.
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.