2022 FCANZ Conference Wrap-up and Photo Gallery

As usual the time between Conference and the release of the September WIRED magazine has moved very quickly. In yet another year where COVID threatened to derail the best-laid event plans it was fabulous to see so many faces at the National Fencing Field Day (NFFD) and Conference in Dunedin last month.

A huge thanks to the Association partners who sponsored the Conference and exhibited at the NFFD, and to the members who attended both parts of the event.

Wednesday 3 August


In a change from the 2021 structure, 2022 saw the National Fencing Field Day (the second ever) being held on the first day of the Conference programme – Wednesday 3 August. The weather could not have been better for the day, an outcome that wasn’t expected from Mosgiel in the middle of Winter!

Held at the Otago-Taieri A&P Showgrounds, the event had been advertised in the local paper and radio stations, and the additional promotion was rewarded with fencing contractors and farmers from the area who stopped by to see what it was all about. The day offered plenty of opportunity to exercise the competitiveness that fencing contractors exhibited last year through the hammer throw (ladies and mens), guess the strainer weight, stride competitions, wire tying, and battening competitions. A wire sculpture competition that took place in the showgrounds hall resulted in an impressive display of creativity – some of which can’t be shared here.

This year the Carr Family Foundation’s new Rural Health & Wellness caravan attended with mental health advocate Craig “Wiggy” Wiggins. Offering free health and wellness checks, nurse Kirsty Barnes saw 41 NFFD attendees of which 34% were referred to see a doctor. Wiggy said that he found that rural guys in particular often pressured each other into getting their checks done – and this was quite apparent at the NFFD. Hopefully, those referred have since followed up with their healthcare provider.

Probably the most enjoyable part of the day for most was watching the students from Geraldine and Taieri High Schools College exhibit their fencing skills in a very impressive demonstration. The future of the fencing industry looks bright with tutors and students like these.


Wednesday afternoon saw the Speights Alehouse abuzz at 5pm with old friends catching up and plenty of new acquaintances being made during the famous Mix & Mingle dinner. After a delicious meal and a few more liquid refreshments, the group took the short stroll to the fascinating Scenic Southern Cross ready for the early start the following morning.

Thursday 4 August


Thursday morning was an early start, kicking off at 8.30 am by welcoming those who were new to Conference. It was fantastic to see so many new faces in the audience, who, by the end of Conference had established some new friends and connections in the industry and across the country. Following the welcome, the Board then provided attendees with an overview of what they had been working on since the last Conference and provided information on areas that would be discussed later in the day during the feedback forum.


The Board Update was closely followed by the AGM. With no Board election required, the Association said farewell to Board member Mike Renner, confirmed Prue Younger and welcomed Janine Swansson.  Following the resignation of Prue Younger in September, your current Fencing Contractors Association of NZ Executive Committee for 2022/2023 is now Shane Beets, Phil Cornelius, Janine Swansson, Donna Upton, Max Walton and Debbie White.


An integral part of the annual Conference programme, the hour-long member feedback forum provides a valuable opportunity for members to discuss areas of concern with the Board. As usual, many topics were addressed including the Board Structure and Association management, the Certification process, a managed apprenticeship scheme, and a tweak to the Association name and branding (further details about this can be found in the Marketing update).
We appreciate the input and comments received from those at the meeting and will be working hard to get the changes discussed in place as soon as possible.


Conference this year focused on providing some tools and tips for how to look at creating a work-life balance, which we know is something that many of us struggle with.

The first to speak was Shane Bird. Known as the “Farmers Mindset Coach”, Shane took delegates through how some simple mindset changes can help manage stress in the workplace. This was followed by Stephen Caunter from ANZ who talked about some of the digital tools available to help streamline business processes and save some time on those painful admin processes. The final speaker of the day was business coach Laurel McLay who works with businesses to improve their performance as a team. Laurel reinforced some of what “Birdy” had already touched on but also made the valid point that sometimes outsourcing some tasks so you can focus on your core business is the smartest move.

Recordings of each workshop session will be available in the Members Area of the FCANZ website in due course.


Having sat for far too long, most of the group was more than ready to get out in the fresh air. What they were not expecting was a Baldwin Street relay challenge where groups of 4 had to get their ping-pong ball to the top of the world’s steepest street. Full credit needs to be given to everyone who joined in on the challenge and also those who climbed to the top (and back) anyway. They well and truly “knocked the bugger off”. Special mention to Peter Graham of the Graystone Partnership who ran (almost) all the way up AND back and was the first solo competitor to return to base.


After this wee bit of exercise, the coaches headed off along the coast to the historic Carey’s Bay Hotel bar in Port Chalmers for the Bayonet Happy Hour. Built in 1874 this beautiful bluestone hotel no longer offers accommodation but is a charming pub and restaurant. Thanks to Bayonet, delegates enjoyed mulled wine (and other drinks) in front of the roaring fire before heading back to the Scenic Southern Cross for dinner and a quiz.


Dinner at the Scenic Southern Cross hotel was followed by a hotly contested quiz with quiz-master Stephen (the speaker from ANZ) joyfully handing out fines to raise funds for the Whatever With Wiggy charitable trust. Following the closely fought quiz the evening took an unexpected turn when it became a charity auction with FCANZ Partners and even members donating a huge array of prizes. Quiz-master Stephen became auctioneer-extraordinaire and even auctioned the literal shirt from his own back as the final item of the night. As a group we were able to raise a massive $15,000 to allow Wiggy to carry on delivering his mental health advocacy services through the Whatever With Wiggy charitable trust. It was a humbling experience to be part of and everyone who donated, bid or purchased during the evening should be incredibly proud of themselves.

Friday 5 August


Although an early(ish) start, Friday’s activities were designed to provide a bit of down-time while taking in some of the local attractions. The coaches delivered delegates to Wal’s Plant Land for the morning where teams of 4 competed against each other across three disciplines – the driving range, mini golf and the living maze. Through a complicated yet fair scoring system that eliminated any possible match-fixing, the winners were determined and prizes awarded.

A short drive up the road took us to Black Forest deer stud farm for a BBQ lunch surrounded by some spectacular head mounts.  After lunch farm manager William Benson provided a fascinating talk about bloodlines and animal handling before taking a tour through the deer holding area. It was an eye opener being up close to does that in many cases were larger than the stags found in the wild!

Local fencer Kim Rapley then took delegates to a local switch-station that he and his team had security fenced with chain link made in his own yard. Unfortunately, a bus malfunction prevented us from visiting his site but did allow for a little bit of extra downtime to get ready for the gala dinner.


The Stockade Happy Hour and Gala Dinner this year were held at the spectacular Larnach Castle. A lone piper piped delegates off the bus and up the stairs into the beautifully lit Castle. Once seated in the ballroom for dinner the hilarious haggis ceremony began and provided an excellent way to farewell outgoing Board member Mike Renner. His fellow haggis-ites Noksee and Donna Upton were also excellent with everyone playing their parts beautifully. After dinner comedian Simon McKinney continued the night of hilarity by thoroughly entertaining everyone with his set. We are not sure how the team will top a castle next year!

FCANZ Conference 2023

Announced at the Gala Dinner was the location for Conference 2023. New Plymouth here we come! Keep an eye out for announcements soon on dates and details.

Thanks again to everyone who came and made the Conference the success it was.

We look forward to hosting many more of you next year.

Published in WIRED September 2022 by Fencing Contractors Association NZ

Thanks to Conference 2022 Sponsors:






Friday Activities

National Fencing Field Day