Emile van der Merwe, who lives on a block of land at rural Reikorangi, in Kāpiti, has invented a simple but effective product that will greatly assist in the laborious task of fencing.

While putting up a new fence Emile popped into a farming store to get some battens but was shocked to find they cost twice as much as they did when he bought some six years ago.

Battens are lengths of wood used to space wire on fences as well as preventing animals from pushing through.

Thinking there must be an alternative to battens, Emile poured himself a cup of coffee and started tinkering with some soft wire while at the same time imaging he had a puzzle to solve.

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It was good fun for the man who has a long background in the yachting industry and a fondness of knot making.

Before long he had created the Coffee Klip, a metal clip which attaches to a twisted wire batten — it was an eureka moment.

He checked online to make sure there was nothing like it available, and then after refining the clip by reducing two arms to one arm, he got the product patented and the brand CoffeeKlips trademarked.

An important litmus test, to ensure he was on the right track, was to see what his neighbour, a long time farmer, thought.

"The first thing he said to me was 'take it to the Fieldays', which is the southern hemisphere's largest agricultural event, so I did and was invited to show it in the innovations marquee.

"There was about 50 exhibitors and I was selected as one of about five or six award recipients.

"I didn't expect to win anything because there was so many cool innovations that have used technology to improve farming but with my technology, I'm looking at patents from 1870s, from guys that had something similar, but 130 years later no one has thought about having a fence with a clip on it."

There was a lot to like about the product.

"It holds tight, it's more than 10 times lighter than a wooden batten, I can carry lots of them, and I don't need any tools.

"Not a lot of people like installing battens so there's contractors that have fancy tools to staple the batten onto the fence but if you don't you have to learn how to hammer a staple over the wire while holding the piece of wood which is quite tricky."

He said high tensile wire clips would save farmers time, labour, and possibly money in the long-term as his battens would last longer than wooden battens; his product is currently on an equal price footing with wooden battens.

A company in Paraparaumu is already making the clips while Emile is exploring options to make the product cheaper and faster as well as a specialised machine to make the loop at the top of the twisted wire safe for animals.

He's already sent of box of clips and twisted wire to Fiji.

"My aim is to try and keep production here in New Zealand."

His company is called TC Fence System.

TC stands for his daughter Tula, 7, and son Cohen, 3.