Story: Farm fencing

Page 7. Gates and other barriers

All images & media in this story

Gateways, providing access for stock, vehicles and people, are part of any fencing system. Many types have been used over the years. Early gates were modelled on wooden hurdles, used to make temporary pens for sheep. More substantial wooden gates, which were swung on hinges, were put up where a gateway was frequently used. Most modern gates follow this pattern, but are made of galvanised pipe and heavy wire mesh.

Taranaki gates

The Taranaki gate is part of the tradition of ‘making do’ when money or materials are in short supply. Originally it was made of five plain wires and one or two lengths of barbed wire, held in place by wooden battens. The gates were tricky for novices to open and close, and easily became tangled. Taranaki gates are still found throughout New Zealand – modern ones are made from wire netting. Despite their name, there is no evidence that the gates were a Taranaki development.

Boundary dogs and cattle stops

One of the ways of preventing stock going through a gateway was to tie a dog nearby. Where county roads cut through a property, boundary dogs were often used rather than gates, which travellers might leave open. A local place name in the Mackenzie Country is Dog Kennel Corner, where dogs were tied to keep sheep from escaping off one station and on to the next.

Cattle stops were introduced once people started travelling in cars. These barriers allow motorists to drive through gateways without the frustration of opening and closing gates. A pit is dug across the gateway and covered with a grid of heavy pipes or railway irons, spaced about 15 centimetres apart. Stock will not normally cross a cattle stop unless under pressure. In Otago and Southland, cattle stops are sometimes known as motor gates.

How to cite this page:

Robert Peden, 'Farm fencing - Gates and other barriers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 April 2024)

Story by Robert Peden, published 24 Nov 2008