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Profile: Taragate

Specialising in electric fencing products and accessories, Taragate has now been part of the rural Kiwi scene for more than 30 years

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Taragate has been part of the rural Kiwi scene for more than 30 years

Taragate has amassed a legion of followers not only in New Zealand and Australia but also in the US, the UK, and France. Taragate also sells its accessories to an ever-growing security fence market.

Even with dozens of other innovations now to its name, the humble Taragate remains the original product that anchors the business.

Specialising in manufacturing electric fence products from geared reels and accessories, through to insulators, outriggers, and tapes and wires, the latest Taragate releases include the ‘Dead or Alive’ handle and ZerO range fence standards (lightweight helixtop with tough polymer foot).

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Taragate specialises in manufacturing electric fence products

Then there’s the Taragate flood fencing system designed specifically for safe and environmentally sustainable fencing for flood-prone areas. This system hinges on a
Flo-Post, a white self-insulated UV-stabilised post designed to flex and bend when under pressure from the flow of water and spring back into position afterwards.

“Kerry’s mind is always looking at new ways to innovate or improve products,” admits wife, Barbara. Even decades in the business haven’t dulled his passion for the industry, and he can always be found at field days around the country having a yarn with customers.

Based near Hamilton airport, Kerry and Barbara’s 12-acre property is the distribution headquarters, as well as the testing ground for any new innovations, and there’s never a shortage of fresh ideas and concepts.

Early days

Kerry and Barbara were farming in Taranaki when Kerry started mulling over a solution to fence off his silage pit. These musings led to the invention of a multi-strand electric gate system, which went on to be trademarked as Taragate, and was first publicly showcased at National Fieldays® (1998) where it proved an attention grabber in the Invention category.

The couple left that same Fieldays event reeling at having received a sizeable order from RD1 (then called Anchormart).

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Barbara and Kerry Powell

“We just went to show the idea really; the goal was never the business it has grown into,” she says.

“That order was beyond anything we had dreamed of and also of anything we were prepared for, so we had to hit the ground running and gear up to produce hundreds of gates. We didn’t even have a proper logo or any packaging or anything like that.”

Undeterred, it was all hands on deck to get that first big order filled and within the six-week timeframe. Family rallied around, as, at the time, Kerry and Barbara also had twin toddlers and a farm to run.

In the early years, the business was run from their home and garage, before expanding into an old woolshed on the farm and today, into purpose-built industrial premises on the couple’s home property in the Waikato. Kerry and Barbara run a handful of Speckle Park and Angus cattle just to keep the paddocks ‘mown’ and as a testing ground for new fencing developments.

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Kerry and Barbara run a handful of Speckle Park and Angus cattle

After fulfilling their initial orders and realising that Kerry’s ‘little idea’ actually had the legs for a proper business, it was in 2000 that they committed to a major change. Farming had been becoming increasingly challenging due to a back injury Kerry had suffered, and the Taragate business was continuing to grow, requiring an increasing number of hours. After much discussion, the couple made the brave decision to leave farming completely and invest themselves, their time, and their finances in growing Taragate.

“In a way, we were forced into commercial production from that first Fieldays order,” laughs Barbara, “but fortunately, demand for the product continued growing and has done so over the years, which we feel grateful for.”

Standing the test of time

The original Taragate multi-strand electric gate remains a proven performer. Made of permanent materials, the Taragate is compatible with all electric fence systems, with the multi-strands operated by one handle for ease of use. With the option of two-strand (for cattle and horses) and four-strand (for sheep and smaller animals), all plastic componentry is UV-stabilised and the Taragate comes in kit form with easy instructions and all componentry required to install except tape. This allows for flexibility in the type of tape used, as well as the ability to make up the gate to fit individual gateway widths.

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The business has 75 products on offer in NZ and globally

To meet demand, the Lifestyler Taragate model does include 25 metres of Taragate gate tape.

All models of the Taragate are designed to transfer any stress on the springs and polybow or tape. This protects the main body of the gate leaving it intact and permanent.

With 75 products offered by the business today, the international market has become of increasing importance, particularly the US. Kerry reckons part of the success of the business is that he and Barbara keep the same high standards of quality that they started out with and the fact that they have aligned themselves with other like-minded people. While Kerry continues developing new products, and Taragate owns all of the intellectual property and tools for their creations, they also work closely with experienced plastic moulders. Much of the range is made here in New Zealand, as well as overseas.

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The original Taragate multi-strand electric gate remains a proven performer

“We’ve chosen to work with people we respect and trust and whose core values align with ours,” says Kerry, “and that’s proven to be a successful formula.”

In an admittedly crowded marketplace, Taragate has stood the test of time. Problem-solving is one of Kerry’s greatest strengths according to Barbara – that and his genuine and authentic passion for the business of farming and fencing.

With his background not only including farming but also a qualified electrician, Kerry’s combined skillsets are a perfect backdrop for the continual evolution of Taragate.

From starting up their fledgling business ‘on an absolute shoestring’ to growing it into a globally recognised brand, teamwork has been an important part of the journey – both for Barbara and Kerry but also for those around them. Their twins Kate and Ben are now 33 and following their own passions, but over the years, they stepped into the business to help whenever necessary, particularly during the challenging times of COVID when lockdowns limited the involvement of other staff.

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All models of the Taragate are designed to transfer any stress on the springs and polybow or tape

“We’ve grown organically. We’ve stayed in the space we know (fencing and accessories), and we have made amazing professional and personal friendships over the decades.”

One of the lasting effects of COVID on the business is giving some consideration to the online side of the business.

“This came about through necessity,” says Barbara. “So many businesses were forced to operate online for survival, and we definitely put some attention into that side of the business also.

“However, by contrast, attending field days around the country has always been important to our brand, and I also can’t see that changing anytime soon. Farmers and users of Taragate products love chatting with Kerry and finding out what he’s got his attention on now.”

Find new and used farm machinery for sale in NZ 

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