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A fenceline with a view

There are worse places to knock up a fenceline than the picturesque Waiheke Island near Auckland. So, when Hawke’s Bay-based contractors Shane and Joelene Bouskill were approached about a job fencing up a newly purchased farm on the island, they were happy to oblige. The 800-acre property was purchased by an old boss of Shane’s, who owns the neighbouring property.

Although he wasn’t short of work back home, Shane and Joelene were happy to take it on. “There’s plenty of work happening down here (in Hawke’s Bay), but he’s purchased this block and it needs to be fenced up, so we are just helping him out.” Accommodation is provided for them on the property while they carry out the job, while a worker takes care of their business back home.

At this stage the property has around 1,200 ewes and some cattle, but that will increase over time, Shane says. The new owner is also taking on a large amount of native planting of the wetlands and is using seeds from the existing bush on the property to carry it out.

The three-kilometre boundary fence, with eight-wires including two hot wires, is on rolling countryside with reasonably forgiving terrain, Shane says. “There’s a little bit of steeper stuff, but it’s not too bad.” There is eight kilometres of internal fencing to carry out as well, “but I think it’s going to be more than that.”

So far on the job, machinery and tools have included a tractor and post driver, skid steer with a ram and a four-wire jenny. They are using Goldpine quarter-round posts, which you don’t see a lot of in the area where full rounds are a more common sight.

Quarter rounds perform just as well as full rounds, Shane reckons. “They’re quite strong, the quarter-round posts. You don’t really need to use full rounds, and it’s pretty hard to get full rounds at the moment as well.”

And if there are any issues with them breaking, Goldpine will replace them. The price point on quarter rounds was good too, helping to keep the cost down for the client, he said.

“It’s a no-brainer as far as farm fencing goes, especially with the added compliance costs these days.”

One challenge the location had thrown up was getting material and machinery to the job, relying on transport across to the island which could be two hours apart. “You’ve got to barge everything over, so you’re running on a timetable.” It added to the cost and was “a bit of a hassle”.

Shane and Joelene are managing to get through about 700 metres a week and are using Waratah’s longlife blue wire, which Shane was confident would stand up to the area’s coastal conditions. An order of 48,000 metres was on its way to complete the job.

Shane is well known in the fencing industry having taken out the Golden Pliers competition four times and also winning the world title. However, his son Tony knocked him off the perch in 2018, taking the national title and having done so each year since. Together, Shane and Tony have won the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 Silver Spades doubles titles.  

Bouskill Fencing Contractors

Article written by Rosa Watson.

Published in Our People section of WIRED Issue 66 / September 2022 by Fencing Contractors NZ