This rusted Number 8 wire and standard fence line remnant marks part of the 1861 spade-line boundary between Otago and Canterbury.

The setting of the boundary caused inter-provincial squabbling which was eventually put to rest with a dead straight ruler line on a map stretching from Mt Aspiring across the northern end of Lake Wanaka, the tip of Lake Hawea, across the Ahuriri River to the western shore of Lake Ohau.

The measured stroke was made with absolutely no thought given to the prevailing alpine terrain or wishes of the pioneering landholders.

The concept of “stakeholder consultation” was eons away, instead high-level decisions on regional delineation were left to important men in tweed waist coats armed with an official fountain pen who clearly knew better on where to draw the line than minions who toiled the hinterland.

But it was the minions – farmhands from Lake Benmore Station – who got the job of replicating the ink and paper line on the land around Lake Ohau turning bone-dry sods of soil to create a spade-line ditch, which supposedly is still visible in places.

The story about the dividing line is told on a DoC and Historic Places information plaque near Ohau.