The Toothbrush Fence

Don’t forget your toothbrush. In fact, bring an extra one, just in case you get lost down this winding Waikato rural road. It’s a fence, covered in toothbrushes. Over fifty of them! Imagine that! The Toothbrush Fence was not just a silly joke on ‘Flight of the Conchords’, it was actually dead serious. It really has to be seen to be believed!

So many toothbrushes!



About to throw away yet another used toothbrush, Graeme Cairns noticed something quite pretty about the plastic stick. It was colourful. “Toothbrushes were like tropical fish, as they come in a bewildering range of colours and shapes.” So in 2006, Graeme started tying his old toothbrushes to his front fence. The number quickly surpassed fifty brushes and caught the attention of Murray Hewitt, New Zealand’s fictional Deputy Cultural Attaché to the US.

The Toothbrush Fence versus Uluru (Flight of the Conchords):

Many people have contributed to the fence, with toothbrushes coming in from all over the world. Even celebrities have hung their brushes here. Former Prime Minister Helen Clark, and Flight of the Conchords Brett McKenzie and Jermaine Clement have donated their dental hygiene products here.


Graeme Cairns, the eccentric artist that created the fence on his farm. He is best known for his political and music career, none of which is to be taken seriously.

He was the leader of the McGillicuddy Serious party. Policies included; making chocolate fish the official New Zealand currency; giving trees the right to vote; and limiting the speed of light to 100km/hr. The party contested six national elections but never achieved more than 0.61% of the national vote. He probably would’ve been more successful if trees could vote.

A painting of the Toothbrush Fence, on the Toothbrush Fence

Cairns was a founding member of the Big Muffin Serious Band; a bush music ensemble with mostly comedic songs. He was also a founding member of the Serious Ukulele Ensemble, an ensemble of serious ukuleles; and Goulash Archipelago, a ukulele band with a Ukrainian twist. Active for over thirty years, Big Muffin Serious Band is still kicking, a list of upcoming gigs can be found on their website.

The music video “Mr. T. Pot” celebrates 30 years of Big Muffin Serious Band. It was filmed on the farm at Te Pahu.

How to get there

If you can’t get here, but still want your old dental hygiene products hanging out with the best, you can post it here:

The Toothbrush Bucket
294 Limeworks Loop Road
Te Pahu, R D 5
New Zealand

Better yet, you can visit the fence and deliver your toothbrush in person. It about half an hour from Hamilton towards Mount Pirongia. Put the above address in your GPS; there aren’t many other landmarks around, it is mostly farmland in the area.

All sorts of toothbrushes are on display, even novelty brushes!
See more articles like this:


Graeme Cairns: A man of colour

Sparking idea, Te Pahu

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