Our newest world champion is celebrating a mo-mentous achievement: Chris Thwaites is now among a pantheon of moustache champions, winning this year's International Man of Movember award.

"I had people describe it as if somebody had slapped me across the face and took the whiskers off," he said.

The Auckland insurance underwriter, 31, was announced as winner of the global moustache-growing fundraising drive this weekend. As well as recognition, he has won a 10-day trip to Thailand as part of his prize. Thwaites' late father had prostate cancer before he died from unrelated causes two years ago.

Apart from raising thousands, Thwaites said Movember also benefited men's mental health charities and research.


"I guess overall, I like attention as well," he admitted.

It was his sixth Movember. "The first year I did it was a pitiful attempt," Thwaites said. But with each year his designs became more ambitious.

"Last year it was a handlebar with arrows coming up off it," he said. A mohawk haircut added to the mix.

And after his new shave with international fame - at least in the Movember community - he said next year's look would be even "bigger and better".

International fame hadn't gone to his head though. He said he felt "naked" after getting rid of the moustache. "I'm just an average person now."