Lost: The Battle Of The Bra Fence
Monday, April 13, 2009
It may be a few years after the event, but I’ve finally learned that the Cardrona Bra Fence has been removed. Rules and political correctness have once again snuffed out something that dared to be different.
The Cardrona Bra Fence was a section of farm fencing in rural New Zealand on which hundreds of womens’ bras had been hung. It began when four women each hung their bra on the fence as a new year celebration for the new millenium. In the succeding six years the bra population multiplied and it grew to be a unique tourist attraction, gaining worldwide attention (and frequent donations of underwear). I visited the quirky collection in August 2006 and blogged about it here, blissfully unaware that just two weeks after my visit the whole lot would be pulled down.
As you may imagine, the sight of hundreds of women’s undergarments hanging artistically from a roadside fence tended to polarise people. While an overwhelming majority viewed it positively, a few saw it as an eyesore, an embarrassment or a traffic hazard, and tried to have it removed. Some claimed it might offend Japanese students in Wanaka, 24km away.
After many unsuccessful legal challenges, and the burning of many bras (on the fence), it was found that the fence rested on public land. The Queenstown Lakes District council then stepped in and ordered the removal of the bras from the fence, declaring them to be an eyesore and traffic hazard. On September 9, 2006, the fence was stripped of over 1500 bras.
I toured the bra fence at its peak, and thought it was rather decorative. At the worst, it was no more unsightly than some of the other man-made structures in the region. Perhaps it could potentially have been a traffic hazard - maybe - but no more so than plenty of other roadside distractions which nobody seemed to be as concerned with. Oh well, at least the vocal minority no longer have to suffer the sight of a fence that didn’t look the same as every other fence.
The battle of the bra fence may have been lost, but I can take comfort in one thing. I was among the last privileged travellers to behold the spectacle of 1500 mammary support garments fluttering majestically in the breeze on a humble farmer’s fence.