Story: Farm fencing

Post-and-rail fence, Wairarapa (1st of 3)

Post-and-rail fence, Wairarapa

Farmers often used post and rail fences to protect cultivated paddocks from stock, and for stockyards. However, the fence in this 1840s watercolour is subdividing paddocks for grazing. Before the widespread adoption of wire fencing, post-and-rail fences were common where there was ready access to forests. The trees had to be felled and then the posts and rails split using an axe, maul and wedges. Building the fence was also laborious.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: B-062-022
Watercolour by William Mein Smith

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Robert Peden, 'Farm fencing - Early fencing methods', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 May 2022)

Story by Robert Peden, published 24 Nov 2008