You can tell a lot about the Kiwi mentality by watching the All Blacks rugby union team. It’s toughness and focus personified (the last rugby union World Cup semi-final not withstanding!) and the same can be said for the fencing industry across New Zealand.

For proof just ask James Corbett, a fencing contractor from Brackley whoreturned from a gruelling three week‘tour’ of Aoteroa, the Maori name for New Zealand, just a few weeks beforethe world entered lockdown. “It was the perfect busman’s holiday,” explained James who runs J C Countryside Services, a firm he established in 2008 that operates across Northants, Oxfordshire and the Home Counties delivering agricultural, equine, domestic and commercial fencing services.

“The tour was organised by a contractor based in Aucklandbut over the three weeks there, together with Pete Redgwell of PDR Contracting based in Reading, we travelled the length and breadth of the country taking in both South and North Islands.

“New Zealand has a reputation of being home to the best fencing contractors in the world and it was easy to see why as we visited manufacturers, suppliers and contractors. They install to a very high standard and their attention to detail is very impressive. If there’s anyone out there wanting to see the best in action then I’d recommend you take a trip there!

“They are crying out for people to work over there and discussions often turned to how we can all deal with the shortfall in labour,” added James.

James also entered a fencing competition with Pete on the southern tip of the South Island finishing ninth out of ten, an admirable outcome given the novelty of the challenges they faced and the tools required to do each part of the challenge.

James went on: “There were three aspects to the competition: the installation of Warratah stock fencing, construction over an irrigated crossing and a post and rail task with box strainers.

“It was all new to us but our fellow competitors were only too happy to lend us their tools when they weren’t using them. That reflected the nature of the people over there. They really couldn’t do enough for you.

“We saw every type of fencing going on the trip including hopyards and vineyards and remedial work for the earthquake that struck there tragically a few years ago. They are a hardy bunch who get through life with hard work and humour.

“It would have been nice to spend longer there. As we headed home we were aware of the growing coronavirus menace and were on our guard.

“Since getting home work has slowed down a bit but J C Countryside Services is in a better position than most due to being predominantly focused on agriculture,” added James.

The duo also spent time at the home of Paul Van Beers, widely considered the best fencer in the world with a clutch of titles to his name.

James concluded: “We must put on record our thanks to Debbie White from White Fencing in Auckland whose family proved to be wonderful hosts. She also runs a company called ‘All About Fencing NZ’ that organises trips for anyone interested in learning more about the Kiwi fencing scene.

“There’s such a lot we can learn from the Kiwis but both Pete and myself can take a lot of positives ou  of the adventure. It’s certainly given me a taste for travel, fencing style!”

It seems the All Blacks and the fencing scene in New Zealand have a lot in common with their strong work ethic and conscientiousness making them true world beaters.

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