Taking the next career steps – planning the work and reading the land

Stockade Murray

Murray Graham entered the fencing world during holiday work between his senior years of high school. He stayed. Now, four years into a fencing career under the guidance of Tony White at White Fencing in Clevedon, the Stockade Ambassador is mastering heavy equipment and a variety of fencing systems. He says he can’t imagine doing anything else.

“I am using tractors, post drivers, skid steers. It is a whole other side of fencing compared with hand and wire work.”

Murray Graham

Murray’s thoughts

For the most part, Murray says using the post driver and other machinery is about getting comfortable trusting himself and knowing where he can take the machinery and where he can’t. But he explains there’s also more to post driving.

“It is not just a mechanical process. You’ve got to plan the fence out, picking where the lines are going to go, and then lay out the fence and build it in the right place to a high quality.

“It is about managing a crew as well. Usually if you are on the post driver, you have others under you, and you’ve got to make sure that they are getting through the work and using the right systems on the fences.”

It’s not just about turning up

Murray says he is still working on aspects of this process. “Much of the time fence lines are dictated by Tony and the customer so I am working between fixed points. Reading the contour and the terrain as to the best place to put the fence is something that I can work on.”

“I enjoy post driving. It is more of a responsibility because it is up to you to keep yourself motivated, plan the work out in front of you, and look after the crew. It is not just about turning up and having the work out there waiting.”

Fence work continues to provide Murray with an everchanging scenery in some of the most stunning coastal and bush landscapes of the Auckland Province. He works regularly out on Āwhitu Peninsula and at Port Waikato in the West and all-around Clevedon and Orere Point past Kawakawa Bay to the East. The variety of projects provides good experience across fencing systems from horticultural structure work, standard rural fencing, and post and rail.

“Every job is always different, and whether it’s wire or post and rail, each fence systems requires a completely different approach and process. A lot of it has to do with planning and set out of the fence, laying out of material, and bringing the right gear so you are not tracking back and forth constantly.”

Looking ahead, Murray says he will be refining his technical and planning skills and expects greater experience managing a crew will be determined, in part, by attracting new people on board. His message to those thinking about taking up fencing is always the same.

“Fencing is a lifestyle thing. It might not be what you expect. There is a real career involved rather than a labouring position with limited scope for skill and management development. There is always something to learn and skill sets to expand.”

Murray Graham

Get in touch

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