The extremities of the moustache were not to extend more than 15 millimetres beyond the corners of the mouth.’’
The stiff upper lip of New Zealand’s police force is the focus of a popular exhibition at the Porirua Police Museum. The collection of images in Hot Fuzz provides a snapshot of New Zealand Police history. But more importantly, said curator Naias Mingo, it showcased the evolution of police moustaches.
‘‘There have always been strict rules around the growing of facial hair for members of the New Zealand Police,’’ she said. ‘‘While the preference has always been for clean-shaven officers, moustaches have been accepted within certain parameters.’’
Mrs Mingo noted the 1970s was a good decade for the moustache, with police were allowed moustaches of ‘‘moderate length’’ as long as they were neatly trimmed.
By the 1980s, the rules were more specific in terms of length, she said.
‘‘The extremities of the moustache were not to extend more than 15 millimetres beyond the corners of the mouth. Also, police were not to be seen growing a moustache when they were required to appear in uniform before the public. That ruled out growing a moustache unless you were on leave.’’
Today there is an added rule banning a ‘‘tuft of beard’’ on the chin for recruits.
Mrs Mingo said the exhibition had proved popular, with children counting the moustaches in Hot Fuzz as part of the museum’s holiday programme activities.
The photos span from the 1880s to the present, ‘‘so it’s a great way of seeing a whole lot of different photographs of police in various periods, doing all sorts of things, from training police dogs to graduations, to scenario-based training,’’ Mrs Mingo said.
The exhibition was created as part of Movember celebrations last year, but has remained in the museum because of its popularity and will stay open for at least another month.