Work progresses on wallaby exclusion fence

Hoar frosts were no deterrent for local fencing contractors, Cleavers Excavations and Simon Butler Fencing, as they come close to finishing stage one of the wallaby exclusion fence in the Mackenzie Basin.

The first section will be finished by the end of September according to Wallaby team lead Brent Glentworth. Progress has been good over winter with no snow on site allowing continued work. Both contractors have become very proficient with the product.

The new fence will be 1.3m high constructed with purpose-built Australian-made wallaby exclusion netting, with an apron to prevent them passing beneath it. It will also be rabbit netted, allowing continued management of this pest as well.

Jack Cleaver had previous experience building similar "roo fences" in Australia but the hard ground of the Mackenzie River system meant tweaking their process at the start. Once they figured out what worked the rest flowed smoothly.

Simon Butler is equally impressed with the warratah system. "Nothing’s going to get through it, it’s incredibly durable and should last 100 years plus."

Fencing location

The fence will follow the western border of Canterbury’s wallaby containment area, along the Tekapo/Takapō River system from Lake Benmore through to Lake Tekapo/Takapō. For most of its length, the new fence will replace an existing rabbit-proof one that is over 50 years old and needs upgrading.

Fence construction will take place in stages over a few years, the first stage is a 15km stretch from Grays River north toward Lake Tekapo/Takapō. The next section will work south from Grays River Ford and run for 11km, and is expected to be started in September.

The project is being funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries-led Tipu Mātoro National Wallaby Eradication Programme.