Matt Heath began his career making ‘stupid videos’ which later became the cult television show Back of the Y. Now breakfast radio host on Hauraki and a Herald columnist, he says he spent years pretending to be a bogan.

1. What did your parents want you to grow up to be?

My dad wanted me to do medicine, like him. He was a professor at Otago University and he chose all my subjects at school. I ended up doing pre-law but dropping out and then I did anthropology, archaeology. I wanted to do digs, you know, but then I started making stupid videos instead. I don't know if they were disappointed. They were very open-minded people " but teetotallers. Mum would be given a strong coffee and say "oh no, not for me". Some of my TV shows have been very offensive but Mum would accept pretty much anything from me. I think she just thought no matter what I did, "Matt's a good boy underneath".

2. What did they teach you?

They taught me manners so I've spent most of my life being really disgusting and rude. Not that they cared. My mum was the smartest, nicest person I know. We would have these long philosophical discussions. She taught languages at my high school and I'd walk to the bus with her. I was never embarrassed. Her Latin class was the only class I turned up to in my sixth form year. She passed away in May and when I was cleaning out her study I found all my old truancy slips.


3. Did they teach you anything you wouldn't pass on?

Fencing, scrub cutting and docking. We moved from Maori Hill (Dunedin) to a farm about 40 minutes out when I was 11 "for my own good". Suddenly I had no mates. My three sisters didn't want to play cricket with me. A wild horse called Shannon chased me when I tried to ride my BMX. It created a hatred for nature that burns deep in my soul. It was my dream to one day be within walking distance of a dairy. I teach my kids that shops and traffic rule.

4. Were there any advantages to the country life?

When I was 13 mum and dad gave me my own money to buy clothes and things and I moved to a barn away from the house on our property. It had its own phone line and everything but my mates were so far away I didn't really get to make the most of it. And the barn had terrifying, human-sounding possums in the roof.

5. What was life like as a Scarfie?

As you'd expect. One morning I woke up my flatmate by punching a hole in his wall and dragging his feet into the stairs. We would play this game where we would smash every bottle in the house. We were actually trying to be the worst people. Yeah, I think boys do have arrested development (more than girls). You quite like being a dick for a long time and pride yourself on it, on being crap and filthy. When we were doing our TV show, we bought into this persona of being bogans. We pretended so long that we became them. Someone would go "but isn't your Dad a professor?"

6. When did you grow up?

Thirty. Or 28, 29. Lani says when she met me I had only a suitcase, because I was travelling all the time, two mirrors, a TV and a DVD. And a crappy mattress on the floor. Yeah, it might have been [Lani] that did it. Now, if I write something in the column that's about drinking and parenting or whatever, Lani will just sigh. She thinks "that's just Matt being a dick". She's very good at telling me I'm being a dick and I do actually listen.


7. When have you been at your lowest and how did you pull yourself out?

Winter, London 2006. Our TV show was due to start over there but was put back. So I had nothing to do. I'd been partying hard for months and months and I missed Lani back in New Zealand. I remember sitting on the roof of my apartment building, drinking on my own in the snow thinking there's no good in this world. I'd never really been down and I was like "this is what everyone is talking about when they are depressed". It was horrible. I got over it by moving back to a New Zealand summer and blasting out some kids.

8. Why on earth did you call your son Barry?

It's actually quite cute having a baby with a 50-year-old plumber's name. And Barry is a great name. My son Chaz [Charlie] named Baz. We were watching cricket. Chaz was 2. He heard Brendan McCullum get called Baz. Chaz pointed at Laz's [Lani's] pregnant tummy and said "Laz can we call the baby Baz?" And we did. Now we have a 5-year-old called Baz. I am very proud of my boy and of his name.

9. What do you want for your children?

Obviously I want them to be happy. Cliche, I know, but I do take parenting seriously. I also want little versions of myself. My 7-year-old son plays cricket now. It's like having a little bowling machine. The other one loves movies and superheroes as much as I do. It's amazing to sit down and talk to a being you have created out of nothing about the things you love. In the future I look forward to meeting my adult boys at pubs for drinks.

10. You write a lot about the joys of drinking: why is that so frowned upon, do you think?

I do it to get a reaction often. You put something that's quite normal in conversation in the paper and even the drinkers are shocked. What people do and what they say they do are often different, I think, and yeah, society is a bit puritanical. It's like the safety thing. Everyone wants to appear safe. When you do a TV shoot there are 10 pages on the back of the call sheet saying be careful with rocks and stuff. They don't really care. It's just about them being covered.

11. You're part of the Alternative Cricket Commentary team this summer: what's the appeal of the game?

I've loved it before I could speak. It's summer. It's exciting. It's funny. My new job sitting in a caravan with my mates commentating cricket is a dream come true. People complain cricket takes too long. It's the greatest game in the world precisely because it gives you the time to talk crap.

12. Where and when are you happiest?

I love drinking booze. I love watching movies with my kids. I love talking crap on the radio. I also love sitting in a caravan with my mates watching cricket and talking crap.

The ACC (Alternative Commentary Collective) delivers eccentric ball-by-ball commentary and off-beat analysis to New Zealand cricket fans all around the world, via a dedicated stream on For the schedule go to