Student wins NZ grant to study ‘bogan’ lifestyle


A New Zealand student proud to call himself a “bogan” — unflattering slang for an unsophisticated, lower-income person — has won a major research grant to study the lifestyles of other bogans.

Waikato University student Dave Snell said the 96,000 New Zealand dollar (US$68,500) three-year grant was for a project titled “The Everyday Life of Bogans: Identity and Community Among Heavy Metal Fans.”

“I’d very proudly call myself a bogan,” Snell said Friday.

“The stereotype of a bogan is tight black jeans, a Metallica T-shirt, a mullet or a shaved head and a love of beer and cars,” he told National Radio.

Metallica is a U.S. heavy metal band. A “mullet” describes a hairstyle that’s short on the top and sides but long in back.

Snell said his research will include studying different types of dancing to heavy metal music such as “head banging” and “moshing,” and the importance of tattoos and body piercing.

New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Commission, which administers such grants, said Snell’s work “will enhance understanding of younger people.” Not everyone shared the enthusiasm.

Opposition National Party lawmaker Paul Hutchison said research grants are supposed to be part of a government drive to transform New Zealand’s economy.

“Part of the research looks at practices which include `moshing’ and `head banging’,” Hutchison said. “How is this … research actually going to improve our economic performance?”

Hutchison said money for the bogan study was granted while government funding for agricultural science had dropped by NZ$13 million (US$1.2 million) to NZ$50 million (US$36 million) in 2005/06.