Number 8 wire

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Number 8 wire is a gauge of wire on the British Standard wire gauge that has entered into the cultural lexicon of New Zealand.

It has not been sold under that name for three decades, since it was replaced with the equivalent 4.0 mm wire in the metric system. As such it is still widely used in fencing, mostly in strapping or tie-downs. It is not generally used for line wires, where 2.5 mm high-tensile (formerly 12.5 SWG) is the norm.

Number 8 wire is often used inventively and practically for applications other than fencing.[1] It is also used as a term that epitomises the "kiwi bloke" as someone who can turn their hand to anything, most commonly found in the phrase "a number 8 wire mentality", meaning the ability to create or repair machinery using whatever scrap materials are available to hand.

The Waikato Museum runs an art award named after the wire.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Orsman, H. W. (2011). The Dictionary of New Zealand English. danniverk: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558347-7. 
  2. ^ "Fieldays No 8 Wire 2010, Waikato Museum, national art award, hamilton nz". Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bridges, Jon; David Downs (2000). No. 8 wire : the best of Kiwi ingenuity. Auckland, New Zealand: Hodder Moa Beckett. pp. 160pp. ISBN 1-86958-820-7. 
  • Bardsley, Dianne, Rural language: No 8 wire Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 20 November 2008.