Number 8 wire

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A model showing a method for jury-rigging a rudder, an example of Number 8 wire mentality.

Number 8 wire is a 0.16"-diameter gauge of wire on the British Standard Wire Gauge that has entered into the cultural lexicon of New Zealand.

Number 8 wire was the preferred wire gauge for sheep fencing, so remote farms often had rolls of it on hand, and the wire would often be used inventively to solve mechanical or structural problems.[1] Accordingly, the term "number 8 wire" came to represent the ingenuity and resourcefulness of New Zealanders,[2][3] and the phrase "a number 8 wire mentality" evolved to denote an ability to create or repair machinery using whatever scrap materials are available on hand.[4]

Since 1976 when New Zealand adopted the metric system, number 8 wire is officially referred to as 4.0 mm gauge wire, although the older term "Number 8 wire" continues to be commonly applied. Fencing now predominantly uses 2.5 mm high-tensile wire.[5]

The Waikato Museum runs an art award named after the [6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Orsman, H. W., ed. (2011), The Dictionary of New Zealand English, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-558347-7.
  2. ^ Bardsley, Dianne (20 November 2008), "Rural language: No 8 wire", Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
  3. ^ Bridges, Jon; Downs, David (2000), No. 8 Wire: The Best of Kiwi Ingenuity, Auckland: Hodder Moa Beckett, ISBN 1-86958-820-7.
  4. ^ Derby, Mark (24 Feb 2015), "'Inventions, patents and trademarks - The 'no. 8 wire' tradition'", Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
  5. ^ Robert Peden, '"Farm fencing - High-tensile and electric fencing", Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, page 5, (accessed 5 October 2016)
  6. ^ ArtsPost (2010), "Fieldays No. 8 Wire National Art Award 2010", Waikato Museum, Hamilton, NZ: Hamilton City Council, archived from the original on 16 September 2010