Common sense is an underrated quality in humans.

But there is a startling lack of it displayed sometimes, something that Te Mata Peak farmers are experiencing at the moment.

The farmers are prepared to share their land with the public who embark on the thousands of kilometres of walking and biking tracks that Hawke's Bay enjoys.

But as the popularity of Hawke's Bay as a visitor destination increases, so does the use of areas such as Te Mata Peak.


One farmer reckons things had become progressively worse on Te Mata Peak over the past five years.

Ducks have been shot on his property, and people have chopped branches off his trees for firewood.

All he wants is for people to show some respect for his property and close gates so that cattle aren't mixed up, or escape. Another farmer has had a dog attack sheep. A dog that shouldn't be allowed to roam.

"Townies" who buy a lifestyle block and move into a rural setting to live are often the brunt of a joke or two at the hands of experienced farmers, who tend not to name anything that might end up on the dinner plate, and raise a bushy eyebrow at chickens being taken to the vet.

Wal from Footrot Flats would not approve.

But at least lifestyle block owners learn from their own mistakes - leaving a gate open can be costly, you don't always get your livestock back alive.

Walkers who leave gates open on farms are ignorant, so perhaps better signs or some sort of education programme is needed.

Although a large shot of common sense wouldn't go astray.


Imagine if a farmer wandered onto your urban property and left a gate open so the yappy poodle-cross escaped. Or your four-year-old?

Common sense. It's underrated. Shut the gate.