The establishment of a fence may assist in achieving the biodiversity protection or
enhancement work of a group or project.
There are a number of types of fence depending on what animals you wish to keep in or
out of an area and whether it is a permanent or semi permanent fence.
Different parts of New Zealand also have differing styles of acceptable fence. This
research is important as different sites and materials (along with fence requirements)
dictate what type of fence is built. Local fencing contractors will be able to assist with local
1.1 The Fencing Act 1979
This legislation is a law regarding the erection and repair of dividing fencing (boundaries).
Below are summaries of the legislation sections
Section 9. Occupiers of adjoining land must share the cost and work on a dividing
Section 10. You can compel your neighbour to contribute to the cost of a shared fence.
Section 18. Persons taking advantage of a fence. This covers a person benefiting from
a fence they didn’t contribute to.
Section 22. Where the fence is to be built. The middle of the fence must be put on the
boundary line, or as near as practicable.
Section 26. About the rights of persons (and their equipment) constructing the fence to
go on to the adjoining land.
1.2 Definitions of a fence:
Rural - 6, 7, 8 wire fence. A substantial wire fence, having 7 or 8 wires properly
strained, with up to 2 of these wires as galvanised barbed wire, or with 1 galvanised
barbed wire and a top rail; barbed wires to be placed in a position agreed upon by the
persons interested, or to be omitted if those persons agree; the posts to be of durable
timber, metal or reinforced concrete, and not more than 5m apart, and securely
rammed and, in hollows or where subject to lifting through strain of the wire, to be
securely footed, or stayed with wire; the battens (droppers) to be affixed to the wires
and of durable timber, metal or plastic, evenly spaced, and not fewer than 3 between
posts; the wires to be galvanised and of 2.5mm high tensile steel or 4mm steel or its
equivalent; the bottom wire to be not more than 125mm from the ground, the next 3
wires to be not more than 125mm apart; and the top wire or rail to be not less than 1m
from the ground.
Rural - 7,9 or 10 wire fence. A substantial wire fence, having 9 or 10 wires properly
strained, with or without battens (droppers) or lacing affixed to the wires between the
posts or standards; the posts or standards to be of durable timber, metal, or reinforced
concrete, well and substantially erected, and not more than 5m apart, the top wire not
to be less than 1m from the ground surface, the wires to be galvanised, and of 2.5mm
Biodiversity Tech Guidelines – Fencing 20-11-06 Page 1 of 8
high tensile steel or 4mm steel, or its equivalent, the space between the ground and
the bottom wire not to exceed 100mm, the 4 bottom wires to be not more than 130mm apart.
2. Fence guidelines
2.1 Types of fences
2.1.1 Exclusion fences;
1. Rural 7 wire post and batten fence
This is suitable to keep cattle, sheep and goats enclosed. 8 Wires is recommended
if pigs and goats are to be enclosed. If goats are to be contained a stay method
should be used which does not crate a ramp for the goats to walk up and get over
the fence. It is suitable as an internal fence or a boundary fence. It is also the best,
but most expensive fence, to build around an area of bush which will not be grazed
on the other side. It is generally low maintenance and should have a life span of
approximately 25years. The exceptions would be if it is in a flood prone area or in a
coastal area where wire and staples rust unless they are coated steel. In a flood
plain they catch a lot of debris and require greater maintenance.
2. An electric fence of 3 – 5 electric wires
This is suitable for flood prone areas to contain cattle and on relatively even terrain
it they will contain sheep, domestic pigs and quiet managed goats.
These fences have a shorter life and require maintenance and vegetation control to
maintain thier effectiveness. They are less suitable if both sides of the fence are not
grazed as vegetation shorts the fence.
An electric outrigger placed on any fence will enhance its ability to keep animals out
or in. Place this low down for goats and pigs and at the top of the fence for bulls and
3. Netting fence.
Netting fences made of square netting is suitable for pigs, sheep and goats. Less
battens are required than with the standard wire fence.
Deer fences are usually netting fences twice the height of standard fences and they
do not have battens attached.
4. Pest and predator exclusion fences
In recent years there has been the development of fences especially designed to
exclude pests and predators form biodiversity protection projects. There are several
styles of fence depending on what you wish to exclude. These range from fences
which will exclude everything from mice to fences which just exclude possums.
2.1.2 Containment fences
Fences may also be used to contain animals. An example is a netting fence with
and underground ‘skirt’ developed and then built at lake Waikaremoana to stop kiwi
from dispersing out of the protected area into an area where they would be
predated from mustelids.
2.2 Coping with floods
Flooding can be one of the biggest challenges for maintaining fences beside waterways.
Simple one to two wire electric fences are less likely to collect flood debris and therefore
Biodiversity Tech Guidelines – Fencing 20-11-06 Page 2 of 8
be swept away in floods. They are also easier to stand back up after a flood event.
Suggestions to reduce the damage and cost of repairs include:
try five wire electric fencing along the most flood prone sections
construct separate ‘blow-out’ sections across flood channels
put fence wires on the downstream side of posts so they pop their staples and drop
rather than breaking
use un-barbed staples so wires can pop more easily
avoid using battens in flood prone sections to reduce snagging.
2.3 Fence recording, maintenance and assessment.
Fences must be maintained to ensure they are functioning as planned. A permanent
boundary 8 wire battened fence will require less maintenance than and electric one. A
predator fence does require regular checks and maintenance as they usually are around
bush or forest areas and if vegetation falls on them or there is damage where an animal
get in it becomes a difficult task to find and eradicate them. Some of these fences are now
having remote cameras and sensors to monitor any possible fence breaches.
It is important that consideration and resources are planned to carryout assessment,
maintenance and repair of fences.
Records & operational monitoring
Fence length constructed and maintained
Records are kept of the length of new fence constructed and the length of fence maintained in
Assessment of new fence locations or fence maintenance requirements are also recorded.
These records can be used to report on fencing and budget for future fencing work. They help
ensure that fences are maintained to protect important areas.
Indicators it can provide
Length of new fence constructed
Length of fence maintained
Length of fence assessed for construction or work.
Methods & Formats
Fencing record sheet: Assessment of new fence locations and maintenance needs of
existing fences can be recorded. A standard fencing record sheet is provided below. This can
be used to plan and budget fencing work. A date of completion is recorded once the assessed
work is completed. Total length of new fence competed, maintenance completed, and length of
fenceline assessed can by reported from the sheet. The record sheet should be updated as
assessments are undertaken. It should be checked and updated if necessary at least once a
Stock fence classification: It is often useful to classify the state of different sections of a
fence during the assessment. This allows you to get an idea of future maintenance needs. An
example classification for standard post and batten fences is provided below:
Biodiversity Tech Guidelines – Fencing 20-11-06 Page 3 of 8
Summary & Interpretation
Look at cumulative length of fence constructed and fence maintained.
In some situations more than one sheet may need to be totalled, if a number of different fenced
blocks are involved.
What is the total length of fence being managed.
Are regular assessments of fence condition being undertaken.
What is the length of fence in different condition classes? How can this be used to plan future
How does the length of fence constructed and maintained vary over time. Why are these
changes occurring, e.g. has initial construction of fence been completed so that all necessary
fencing is done.
Producers of fencing equipment and materials usually have booklets which can be ordered
through the internet or obtained from rural supply shops. These booklets have details on
fencing and electric fencing.
The Xcluder Pest Proof Fencing company has developed predator fences and will assist
in their assessment and erection. ( http://www.xcluder.co.nz)
Forms & templates
Biodiversity Tech Guidelines – Fencing 20-11-06 Page 4 of 8
Example post and batten fence specifications for a contract agreement
(for a contract which has the contractor purchases the materials and plan the boundary fenceline)
This is an outline of specifications for a boundary fence.
The work is to be complete by………………..
The fencing will be supervised by…………………………….
Prior to beginning the fence the line chosen must be discussed with the supervisor.
This is a full job contract and payment will be made on completion and inspection of the
Materials to be used
Wire- is to be 2.5mm galvanised wire and 1 barbed wire included. To be the second from the
Staples - Barbed stapes to be used which are galvanised. Post staples are larger than batten
Posts – Tantalised pine number 1 round posts to be used. (1.8m in length) Number 1 grade.
Strainers- are larger posts (2.4m long) and heavier in weight. Number 1 grade.
Stays- number 1 grade 2.4m stays to be used
Angles- either number 1grade 2.1m stays or number 2 grade 2.4m strainers to be used as
Battens –number 1 tantalised pine 50x40mm battens
Fencline choice and preparation
The fencline is to be established along the most effective route while trying to develop a fence
as straight as possible without necessitating the clearing of a large number of indigenous trees.
Any vegetation clearance should be done by hand rather than heavy machinery and all felled
Vegetation to be piled in the paddock of dragged into the bush area beyond the new fenceline.
The line should be clear of vegetation for 2.5m on both sides.
Ground on the upper side of the fence to be navied or benched if the fence is on steep slopes
and cattle may try and jump the fence. This to be done also if the ground is uneven. The line is
not to have large amounts of soil moved with bulldozer.
Strainers and angles are to be placed in situ and then a guide wire set up for the post
placement, so the final fenceline is straight.
Strainers and angles to be footed and blocked. Also to have a tieback or mortised stay
attached. A strainer will also require footing.
Posts to be spaced evenly so there are 5 posts to a chain of fenceline.
Posts on risers or high points to be erected first. All posts to be 600mm into the ground. The
soil is to be rammed firmly around them. Any posts which has an upward lift of more than
75mm will require a ‘foot’ so when the wires are tightened they will not lift the fence out of the
Wiring. Fencing figure 8 knot to be used and tied off.
Wire spacings are usually; top wire 50mm below the post top, then the following spacings -
225mm, 200mm, 175mm,150mm,125mm,100mm and then 125mm to the ground.
The finished tied off wire should be130-170Kgf and all wire should be of even tension.
Stapling. The post stapes to be stapled into posts parallel to the post and not stapled home.
This is so the wire will pull through the staples. The staples holding the battens are to be
stapled on at alternating angles (skewed) on each of the wires and stapled home so the batten
can not move. Any staple gun stapling must be checked to ensure the staples are firm.
All wire ends, pieces of post etc to be removed from the site and the site to be left clean and
Biodiversity Tech Guidelines – Fencing 20-11-06 Page 5 of 8
Fencing Assessment Form
Block / Project:
Fence diagram and notes – or refer to attached aerial photo or map.
Section Length Date Fence New or Difficulty Materials Notes Date
location Class Repair finish
Start Finish Strainers Posts Wire Battens
Difficulty Fence Type
L=machine access, can machine drive posts Electric (3-4 wire electric fence)
M=no machine access due to e.g. slope, but relatively easy hand digging. May be Post: conventionalwire fence, but no battens
able to machine auger some of posts. PostB: conventional post and batten fence
H=steep slopes and / or hard rocky hand digging. Netting: Post and netting fence
Deer: full height deer netting fence
Biodiversity Tech Guidelines – Fencing 20-11-06 Page 6 of 8
Fence Condition Classes for Post & Batten Stock Fencing
The following classes can be used to classify fences.
1 Virtually New – Complete new fence post, wire & batten
2 Still fully stock proof, but may require maintenance in 1-2 years time.
3 Some maintenance (relatively minor) required to replace occasional
missing battens, tension wires etc. Fence is generally stock proof,
but may have occasional places where stock are getting through.
4 Major maintenance required (e.g. some posts, battens, wire) but
possible to rebuild fence. Fence is no longer stock proof – many
places where stock can get through.
5 Fence no longer functional – does not restrict stock. Has missing
sections and areas of collapse. Requires complete replacement.
6 No Fence
Biodiversity Tech Guidelines – Fencing 20-11-06 Page 7 of 8
Biodiversity Tech Guidelines – Fencing 20-11-06 Page 8 of 8