Saturday, November 21, 2009
The Cardrona Bra Fence was a controversial tourist attraction in Central Otago, New Zealand. The fence was on a public road reserve adjacent to farm property in the Cardrona Valley area southwest of Wanaka.
The Bra Fence began at some point between Christmas and New Year 1999, when four women's bras were attached to the wire fence alongside the road. The original reason for the bras being attached to the fence is currently unknown. News spread of the addition, which was left on the fence by the local landowners, and more bras began to appear. By the end of February there were some 60 bras, but at about this time they were all removed anonymously. This was reported in the local press, and the story gained widespread dissemination through the New Zealand media, leading to more bras appearing.
By October 2000, the number of bras had reached around 200, and again the fence was cleared of bras and this time the story spread even wider, as the fence had by this time become to some a quirky tourist attraction, and media sources from as far afield as Europe became interested in the fence. Due to this interest the number of bras being added to the fence personally or sent to be added increased dramatically. In early 2006, the number of bras attached to the fence stood at close to 800.
Although some locals welcomed the fence and regarded it as a tourist attraction, others viewed it as an eyesore and embarrassment and also as a potential hazard to drivers using the road. Frequent legal attempts were consequently made to see it removed. These attempts were increased in early 2006, accompanied by a further removal of some 200 of the bras. Some locals claimed that a lot of Japanese students who are being educated in nearby Wanaka could get offended by the fence, as well as many other Asian cultures or South Africans.
However local sheep farmer John Lee, who had become the unofficial guardian of the site, refused to remove the bras from the fence, claiming that 90% of letters received about the fence were positive and that the bras were the most photographed attraction in the area.
On April 28, 2006, after discovering the fence rested on public road reserve, the local Council determined the bra fence was a "traffic hazard" and an "eyesore" and ordered the bras on the fence to be removed. On September 7, 2006, the local Council announced it would remove the remaining bras from what it described as a "dilapidated eyesore." Two days later, the local Council made good on its pledge and removed over 1,500 bras. The fence's removal led to an attempt to make the world's longest bra chain, at an annual festival in nearby Wanaka, later that year. The attempt at the world record fell more than 100,000 bras short but raised over $10,000 for charity.