Nelson's Iceman warms to Movember

00:00, Nov 30 2012
Brad Phillips
ICY MO: Brad Phillips, who grew up in Tapawera and is now a mechanic at Scott Base, Antarctica, has been participating in Movember.

It's the last official day of Movember, and many of the moustaches that have been carefully cultivated for a good cause can finally be shaved off.

Plenty of Nelson blokes supported the campaign to raise awareness of men's health issues, including one in Antarctica.

Brad Phillips, who grew up in Tapawera and is now a mechanic and part of the team stationed at Scott Base, said from Cape Evans that as well as supporting the campaign, he wanted to prove he could grow a moustache, "and, chicks dig mos, right?".

He said was reasonably happy with his new moustache. While he hadn't decided whether to keep it, he said: "There's a few people here who'd rather see it go."

The event had got people thinking more about men's health and he had noticed conversations about it had increased, he said.

There were benefits to growing a moustache down in Antarctica.


"It's a little bit more insulation for your upper lip. And actually, facial hair does grow a little bit faster down here than in New Zealand."

Scott Base Movember team leader James "Wally" Moore said they had a team of about 20 growing moustaches.

So far they had raised more than $1300, though he said in terms of hair growth they were not the best team.

"We've got a lot of fair-haired people in the team, so you can't really see them, which is not the best.

"As captain I've got one of the worst. I think me and another guy will be fighting for the worst moustache."

Mr Moore said he hadn't decided if he would shave it off. "I might try and keep it for a bit longer, see if I can make something of it."

A quick tally shows there were at least 47 members and six teams registered with Movember NZ from the Nelson and Tasman regions.

Movember country manager Robert Dunne said the month had gone well. "We've had about 20 per cent growth [in numbers] this year and we're really happy about that."

Movember is recognised in 21 countries. Last year New Zealand's 13,143 registered participants raised $1.4 million. Globally, more than 850,000 participants raised $156.1m.

This year Mr Dunne said they were on track to raise about $1.6m and worldwide more than one million people had signed up.

"I've really noticed in the last week, not just sports teams on TV, but really noticed how many moustaches are out there on the streets."

The money raised is given to the New Zealand Cancer Society and Mental Health Foundation New Zealand, with all funds being reserved for men's health issues.

At Nelson College, moustache growth has spurred conversations between both staff and students.

Health education head of department Neil Anderson said 16 male teachers had been involved in Movember, as well as one female teacher - though he joked that "hers isn't growing as fast". She was planning to produce something on the day though, he said.

Mr Anderson said the point was to raise awareness and expose the fact that men were not good at looking after themselves.

The whole process had definitely started lots of conversations among men, he said.

"One conversation in the staffroom, there were seven male teachers and I asked them how many knew what their blood pressure was. Six out of seven didn't know."

Talks had not only been between staff though - it had also facilitated conversations with the students.

There was an interesting mix of mo-styles, with some going for the "Chopper" look, others letting it grow further out the sides and some opting for the moustache-and-goatie combo, Mr Anderson said.

"It's been pretty entertaining, a bit of a comparison about who can grow the most, the usual male banter."

The staff would be keeping their moustaches until next week's assembly, where they would be talking to the students about what Movember was all about.

Mr Anderson said there might also be a few awards up for grabs for their growing efforts.

The Nelson Mail