Mike Gee-Taylor: Tawai Fencing
We visited Tawai Farm in Rangiwahia, where we met up with Mike Gee-Taylor and his fencer, Taylor Barr, the 2023 Emerging Talent winner at FCANZ, as they completed some re-fencing projects.
With the property in dire need of renovation, Mike’s daughter Heather bounced the idea around of Mike starting up a fencing business to help cut on-farm costs. “I love fencing, but I didn’t think I could take on all this on my own,” Mike said. So he hired Taylor to help him with the fencing side of the business, and he’s been with him from the very start – a 20-month venture so far.
The pair outsource themselves by doing fencing work around the region, which enables them to subsidise gear for the fencing at Tawai Farm. Most of their work has been generated by word-of-mouth and repeat business. “It was about building up a clientele that we’re capable of taking on in the future. Taylor, the mainstay fencer, is set up to take the business on, and run with it. It’s about getting young people into business, and he’s a good worker,” Mike said.
“A lot of people are cutting back on fencing in this recession, so we’re just being careful with what we’re doing. We’ve always got Tawai to fall back on if the work is slow,” he added.
The work that Tawai Fencing has done so far is mostly rural, with a couple of subdivisions closer to town. Goldpine has been a good supplier for their gear, which Mike finds to be top quality. In the future, they hope to get the farm fully fenced through the external jobs that they’re completing. “We’ve recently done a set of cattle yards in Hunterville, where a three-day job turned into a three-and-a-half-week job. We ended up building holding yards, subdividing a house and a few other things.”
Mike enjoys talking to his clients and giving them a second opinion to help figure out options for what they could do. He was kind enough to show us the batten techniques that he carries out on the farm and for his clients.