When the latest batch of students graduate from Waikato University this week, an "undercover bogan" will be among them.
At first glance, PhD graduand Dave Snell might look like all the other graduands this Thursday, but look a little closer and the dedicated bogan buff will have a couple of noticeable differences under his formal regalia.
"Well, I am going to have to wear the goofy hat and long coat, but no doubt I'll have a metal T-shirt underneath."
Mr Snell said he also had a Beavis and Butthead tie that he planned to pull out for the special occasion.
The self-proclaimed bogan made global headlines in 2007 when he was awarded a taxpayer-funded doctoral scholarship worth nearly $100,000 to study the "everyday bogan's identity and community amongst heavy metal fans".
Five years on, Mr Snell was as proud as ever to be a bogan, and pleased with the research he had accomplished.
A bogan, by Mr Snell's definition, was a person who was into heavy metal music, who generally wore jeans and a (heavy metal band) T-shirt, and who had an affinity with the "working class".
He said overall the response to his research had been positive and that people who were negative probably had a limited understanding of what his research encompassed.
Mr Snell's research into bogans, which he said was a case study with wider implications, focused on how bogans developed their identity and function in the community, and it also looked at their online presence.
"Physical appearance is obviously an important factor, a key way they express themselves, but actually, like everyone else, they behave differently in different groups.
"I wear formal clothes at work and then I go home and put on my Slayer T-shirt and Iron Maiden shorts, for example."
Mr Snell works in the research office at Wintec in Hamilton but hopes to do more research to answer some of the questions his doctorate has exposed, some relating to bogans, but also other aspects of his research.
He said academics generally liked to avoid being "pigeonholed" but he laughed that it might be too late for him.
"I'm the metal guy."
More than 1000 Waikato University students will graduate this week. The graduations began yesterday and will run until Thursday. The ceremonies will be held at Hamilton's Founders Theatre, with a daily parade through the city.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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