11 / Number 8 Wire

New Zealand is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, but its farms are defined – and subdivided – largely by number 8 wire. The ‘eight’ refers to the gauge, or thickness, of the wire, whose uses extend far beyond the nation’s fences. In earlier times the wire was often used to make handles for buckets, which were themselves fashioned from discarded kerosene tins. In fact, the versatile fencing material came to represent a form of local (Kiwi) ingenuity, inspiring the suggestion that New Zealanders can fix anything with a piece of number 8 wire and, perhaps, a length of four-by-two.

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