Rabbit exclusion fencing job at Simons Pass Station

FCANZ WIRED magazine December 2021

Rabbit netting a fenceline in the South Island's Mackenzie country added an extra element to a large tenure review job for Tekapo-based contractor Nathan Monk.

The 17km job at Simons Pass Station near the bottom of Lake Pukaki job included 6.3km of deer fencing with rabbit netting.

Nathan and his worker, with the help of some casual labour, spend more than three months completing the line.

"There was just the two of us the majority of the time, with the help of casual labour mainly when putting the rabbit netting on."

He also brought in Geraldine-based contractor Ben Haugh's crew that completed 2.1km of the line.

The weather was one of the biggest challenges on the job, according to Nathan. There was close to three weeks of inversion visibility for getting the work done. Time management and planning was required to get around this.

"When it cleared, you'd drop what you were doing and continue sighting lines while you could see," Nathan said.

On top of the weather throwing some obstacles, another challenge was keeping to the timelines that were submitted as part of the tender in the tenure review.


"The key material was worth its weight as the Waratah Longlife Blue rabbit netting's quality is second to none."

"The scale of the rabbit netting was probably the biggest time-consuming part - having to put a rock on the apron every one to two feet apart.

"Over 17km equated to a ship load of rocks!"

Rabbit netting added half the price again to the cost of materials, and the same again for the labour cost.

"This job in particular we rocked as opposed to pinning. I got a digger in to sort a pile of rocks into a manageable size."

"On Glenrock Station just recently we put seven kilometres of Waratah rabbit netting on and pinned it down as opposed to rocking due to the lack of availability of rocks nearby."

"At smoko one day we worked out that this job put us over 60km of rabbit netting and 600,000 clips."

The control of rabbits in the Mackenzie has been ongoing for many years now, and in the early days there weren't a lot of fences in the area.

"What they did rabbit net was more of a border for control," Nathan says.

"In today's world, fencing has intensified and now between multiple groups are putting a plan together to intensify rabbit netting on new and mainly existing fences for easier control on rabbits."

Monk fencing has been operating for 15 years, which Nathan operated alongside an accommodation business in Tekapo township. He reckons 99.9% of their work is rural with a small amount of residential.

As well as rabbit fencing, the MacKenzie area has thrown up a few different challenging jobs for Monk Fencing. Earlier this year they also undertook fire damage repairs, replaying strainers, joining broken wires & restraining.

Article written by:

Rosa Watson