Nothing says "I'm a Kiwi man" more than the quintessential black singlet hanging loosely over a pair of stubbies and gum boots, brazenly indifferent to their appearance.

There's a long proud history of the black singlet with an emblazoned silver fern in our sporting culture: track and field heroes like Peter Snell, three-time Olympic champion and world record-holder; John Walker, the first man to break the mile record in under 3min 50sec and the 1976 Olympic 1500m gold medal winner; to the more recent achievements of Valerie Adams.

Outside of sport, these are the main characters that have influenced and defined the singlet culture the most over the years.

Temuera Morrison received dubious acclaim for his violent behaviour in a black singlet as Jake Heke. Photo / File
Temuera Morrison received dubious acclaim for his violent behaviour in a black singlet as Jake Heke. Photo / File

Jake the Muss: The tough bloke


The infamously volatile Jake Heke has become as much of a cult icon as the movie itself. Hard-drinking, tough-talking and all-round menace, he was a flawed character we could also empathise with.

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Regularly the last one to leave the bar after a long night he'll prolong the imbibing as long as possible, or start a fight.

Fred Dagg. Photo / File
Fred Dagg. Photo / File

Fred Dagg: The farmer bloke


Blokes don't come more Kiwi as than John Clarke's satirical character, he had it all: singlet, stubbies, gummies and a bucket hat that he never changed. The archetypal sheep farmer from the rural town Taihape, his longevity will endure as long as there's wool to be shorn.


Exponents of this kind of Kiwi bloke still abound in rural towns up and down the country.

Cover of the CD Billy T: Te Soundtrack. Photo / Supplied
Cover of the CD Billy T: Te Soundtrack. Photo / Supplied

Billy T: The funny bloke


The much-loved moustachioed musician, comedian and actor who brought us "Te News" with a yellow towel slung over his shoulder showed us that the singlet wasn't just for farming and brought it to the world stage, giving people a taste for Kiwiana.

Barry Crump with one of his semi-autobiographical novels. Photo / File
Barry Crump with one of his semi-autobiographical novels. Photo / File

Barry Crump: The outdoors bloke


His novels and acting typified the outdoorsy Kiwi bloke: a bushman, hunter and fisher and he is probably the main reason the Toyota Hilux is one of the best-selling cars in New Zealand today.

He developed an idiomatic Kiwi bloke style of writing over the years that perfectly captured the rhythmic lilt of colloquial New Zealand.

Anton, Ryan, Miah from new TV2 show Bogans. Photo / Supplied
Anton, Ryan, Miah from new TV2 show Bogans. Photo / Supplied

Bogans


Mullets, motors and Metallica - enough said.