Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 4 - Havelock to Picton - The Shoe Fence

To get to Picton through the Queen Charlotte Sounds, we had to leave Havelock briefly and head south, then turn left to go round the harbour then over the hill.

Carol missed the turnoff. We looked and looked and she couldn't find it. I was really pleased though as it meant we travelled south and came to the Shoe Fence again. This time I asked her to stop so I could photograph it.

The reason I was interested in it was because..

a). I had never seen one before and
b). I had heard of the Bra Fence in Cardrona but that was way south from Havelock.

The Bra fence has an interesting story. I looked it up on Wiki It has a couple of photos on that website there if you're nosy..

But for those that don't want to visit the link - I'd do the brief synopsis here for you..

The Cardrona Bra Fence was a controversial tourist attraction in Central Otago, New Zealand, where passers-by started to add bras to a rural fence, with the fence eventually growing into a famous tourists attraction with hundreds of individual bras. The fence was on a public road reserve adjacent to farm property in the Cardrona Valley area southwest of Wanaka.

The Bra Fence began at some point between Christmas and New Year 1999, when four women's bras were attached to the wire fence alongside the road. The original reason for the bras being attached to the fence is unknown. News spread of the addition, which was left on the fence by the local landowners, and more bras began to appear. By the end of February there were some 60 bras, but at about this time they were all removed anonymously. This was reported in the local press, and the story gained widespread dissemination through the New Zealand media, leading to more bras appearing.

By October 2000, the number of bras had reached around 200, and again the fence was cleared of bras and this time the story spread even wider, as the fence had by this time become to some a quirky tourist attraction, and media sources from as far afield as Europe became interested in the fence. Due to this interest the number of bras being added to the fence personally or sent to be added increased dramatically. In early 2006, the number of bras attached to the fence stood at close to 800.

Although some locals welcomed the fence and regarded it as a tourist attraction, others viewed it as an eyesore and embarrassment and also as a potential hazard to drivers using the road. Frequent legal attempts were consequently made to see it removed. These attempts were increased in early 2006, accompanied by a further removal of some 200 of the bras. Some locals claimed that a lot of Japanese students who are being educated in nearby Wanaka could get offended by the fence, as well as many other Asian cultures or South Africans.

However local sheep farmer John Lee, who had become the unofficial guardian of the site, refused to remove the bras from the fence, claiming that 90% of letters received about the fence were positive and that the bras were the most photographed attraction in the area.

On April 28, 2006, after discovering the fence rested on public road reserve, the local Council determined the bra fence was a "traffic hazard" and an "eyesore" and ordered the bras on the fence to be removed. On September 7, 2006, the local Council announced it would remove the remaining bras from what it described as a "dilapidated eyesore." Two days later, the local Council made good on its pledge and removed over 1,500 bras. The fence's removal led to an attempt to make the world's longest bra chain, at an annual festival in nearby Wanaka, later that year. The attempt at the world record fell more than 100,000 bras short but raised over $10,000 for charity.

I find it hilarious - and can't see why some people might find it offensive. Please leave me a message if you have time if you think it is or isn't offensive and your reason why.

Back to the Shoe Fence.

The shoe fence south of Havelock is in typical New Zealand countryside - you know, green hills, green grass, sheep, and wire fences...

Unfortunately scenes like this are getting scarce as the country is turning sheep farms into dairy farms hand over fist. More money in dairy than wool. Sad sad state of affairs.

The thing about the shoe fence I found odd, was the lack of heels. Lots of trainers and boots and slippers - but no stilettos. What does that tell you about the type of people putting shoes up there??

The work boot looks like it had seen better days. Carol told me that really, we didn't have to stop here, because her husband has boots just like these and she could tie them to her fence at home on the farm for me to take photographs!! In fact she reckons her husbands boots were in an even worse state! Probably time to tie them onto this fence!

See? Slippers, sandals, trainers! But where are the Heels???? Aren't there any females just south of havelock that have worn out their heels? Heck - I have some I could take down and tie on there that I no longer wear!

As you can see the shoes went for some way down the fence. So - I've heard and seen photos of the bra fence, I've seen a lost hubcap fence up north, I've seen a shoe fence. Any others out there for me to look out for??? If so - tell me!


Dave said...

I love it! The shots of the shoe fence are magnificent.
Bra fence???

Nice post

Bron said...

Well I guess the type of shoe tells you it is pretty difficult to chase sheep through a muddy paddock in Stilettoes. It would certainly make the farmers look pretty entertaining though.

I am still trying to get over the suggestion by you and Lia of me in a miniskirt, lipstick and high heels. What, all at the same time? What do you think I am? A girl or something? I am not even sure I own any heels so I won't be helping you decorate the fence. With your 35 lipsticks you should be well placed to start a lipstick fence. I could contribute my one and only lipstick. It's black so I can be your gothic contributer. I could kick off the dark arts section of the fence.

What the hell do you do with 35 lipsticks?

suthrngrl said...

I love the idea of a bra fence! I don't find it offensive at all. Maybe someone could start one on a fence known to be on private property!

As to the shoe fence, all of the current shoes seem to have laces to attach by. Perhaps someone will add a pair of stillettos that have an ankle ribbon.

aliqot said...

I was pleased to find your blog entry, as we saw this fence when travelling between Picton and Blenheim in November last year.

We didn't stop and take photos, but i've linked to your blog in my post:

We really enjoyed our trip to NZ.


Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip to NZ - hope you come back soon :)