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Winston Fleming : Bay of Plenty

Winston Fleming Fencing

We visited Winston at his Kaharoa-based property, just 30 minutes north of Rotorua, where he showed us a few tricks he had up his sleeve from working over 40 years in fencing.

Winston grew up on the same farm his whole life. His father was a dairy farmer and Winston followed in his footsteps farming sheep, cattle, deer and a few goats – developing more of the family land.

Winston’s property spans 210 hectares with 60 hectares dedicated to bushland, retiring 53.5 hectares for the QEII Trust and the rest to other private reserves. Over the years, Winston has fenced off 36 areas, including streams, wetlands and native forest blocks. He has also planted over 1,000 Nīkau palms in the bush reserves and around 30 Kauri trees which now stand at 2.5 metres high. “Years ago, I did fencing on a farm for the QEII Trust. It was three kilometres in one year, all done by hand, and the representative from the QEII Trust said it’s the best fence he’s seen on any reserve here. I see that as a credit to the quality of my work, but I do them to last – do it once, do it right,” he said.

Growing up rural, Winston remembers picking up fencing when he was just eight years old, putting wires down in a gully. “It gets heavy when you get 100 metres down the gully as a little eight-year-old skinny kid trying to pull the wire up – she’s pretty tough,” Winston reminisced.

Winston has been selling firewood all of his life, just as his father did – he even built a Goldpine shed specifically to store it. However, with the Rotorua Lakes Council only giving him another year or so to sell firewood, he said the shed might then be used to store his vehicles.

Goldpine Putāruru is Winston’s local store where he purchased his firewood shed, and continues to purchase all of his fencing supplies. “I love them, they’re a great bunch of guys and girls – nothing is ever too much trouble.”

The most rewarding thing about fencing for Winston is being able to see what he has produced each day. Winston used to have two fencers working for him, but nowadays he tends to work by himself. In his spare time, Winston likes to go mountain biking, deer stalking and tramping – enjoying all the great outdoors has to offer.