A good nights sleep to celebrate the end of back-to-back day/night one-dayers translated into a struggle to doze off during the Auckland-Hamilton road trip. Counting sheep in these scenic rural surroundings isnt monotonous enough,so I tried to count the endless poles that shape the wire-fencing around the meadows. Its during this half-sleepy state that I realised I was staring at a tool that symbolises this isolated countrys inventiveness and self-reliance.
The engine that dragged this train of thought was a conversation with a Kiwi cricket fan in the morning. Frustrated by his teams lack of ideas in stopping Sehwag,he conveyed how the Black Caps lacked out of the square thinking. They need a No 8 wire to fix Sehwag, he said. And I remembered that Peter Inspector Gadget McGlashan,who used copper wires and pliers to come up with his now famous wicketkeeping mask,had mentioned how the highly malleable wire used in making fences was an epitome of Kiwi ingenuity.
When the pioneers moved in this area,they had little resources. There were houses to be built and farms to be set up. They would fix anything with wire since we have so many sheep,the fencing wire was always at hand, McGlashan had said.
There are several stories in the region about how local heroes made the best of their limited resources. Speed-biking legend Burt Munro,whose rag-tag mechanics on a used car helped him break records,inspired the film The Worlds Fastest Indian,starring Anthony Hopkins. And there are also a few who say that a New Zealander had flown much before the Wright brothers.
The cricketing world,too,got a feel of the No. 8 metaphor during the 1992 World Cup the dibbly-dobbly bowlers looked innocuous but Martin Crowe used them to fence great batting line-ups. This train of thought continued as the town approached,and I spotted a hardware store with a large No 8 Wire hoarding. It may not be a bad idea for Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori to pick up a few metres to fence in Sehwag.