Rural Fencing (March 2011)

Many rural fences not on the mark - do you know where the bounday really lies?

When it comes to replacing rural fences you need to take particular care.  For practical reasons they have often been moved off the boundaries over the generations.  Therefore when it comes time to fence you need to carefully assess your boundaries before getting out the post hole borer. 

Often the original boundaries were defined by hedges and over the subsequent years the fence has been offset to find a clear alignment – perhaps on several occasions.  Then there were the  straight line boundaries that never followed a practical alignment.  Along the road sides farmers have enjoyed additional land for years, whilst maintaining the land voluntarily for Council.    Most of the time it suits both parties to have a little give and take.

These days you can generally pick up a photographic map from your local council office to assist with locating your boundaries but beware of this because they are all too often misleading.  Sometimes boundary pegs may have been lost or obviously disturbed.  The only  way to confirm the legal boundary position is to engage a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor.  They will work from other survey monuments in the wider area to confirm the original position of the boundary.

The photos may give you an indication, presuming that they look realistic, with most boundary lines on the photo lining up with the fences.  Based on this you should have a good look for your pegs prior to replacing the fence or building near the boundary.  We always advise people to have a good look around the corner post – and this can mean digging up to half a metre deep as the pegs tend to get covered over the years, particularly in sandy country or flood plains.  It is worth having a look and protecting these pegs for future reference.

Surveyors have plans of all properties showing just where the pegs were placed.  They are dimensioned from nearby reference marks and trig stations.  Most of these reference marks are buried for protection.  Often we utilise GPS equipment to locate boundary points efficiently, hence saving clients time and money in relocating their boundary.

A Licensed Surveyor will obtain a copy of your title along with plans from the survey that placed your pegs. These documents contain other information relevant to your landholding, such as easements favouring or restricting your title.  They can advise you on how these affect your farming operation and fencing requirements.

Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Coromandel.  For further information call 0800 268 632 or email


Trig points and topographical surveying
theodolite - traditional land surveying equipment
Surveying Services Subdivision Planning Team Vehicle
Mt Maunganui Land Surveying