This week we had a great group of Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Gold Award participants complete their residential requirement at CUE Haven. The group included Anneke, Doug, Ellis, Emily, Harry, Howard, Sarah and Sophie. Brigid, Kalym and Katrine were the team leaders.
The group arrived mid morning and we got acquainted over morning tea. Mahrukh gave an introduction and welcome and overview of the CUE Haven project and the history of the DoEHA Grove. Thomas then gave a safety briefing.
We then all went for a short tour of the property so that the group could see the work that previous DoEHA teams had done and to get an idea of the things they would be doing.
There were two main tasks planned for the week. The first was to finish off work a walking track that had been started by other volunteer groups and the other was to do some totem poles to mark the entrances to the DoEHA Grove walking tracks. Some other creative work and several smaller maintenance tasks such as pruning vegetation on the roads and tracks were also planned.
After the tour we had lunch and then went to work on the track. They group described their activities as trail blazing and terraforming as they had to find the best route for sections of the track and then had to do a lot of digging and shaping to make the track level and safe. They broke into smaller groups to work on the different tasks.
Ellis and Howard walked the track and cleared away any overhanging vegetation.
Previous teams had shaped the track and cut steps on steep sections. It was necessary to box in the steps with boards and pegs. The first task was to measure and cut the timber.
While being supervised by an experienced adult, the participants learned to use hand and drop saws to cut the timber.
Once the wood was cut, it was taken out to the track and installed.
Anneke and Katrine worked on connecting up two sections of track by building some steps and a retaining wall. It required a lot of planning and digging to make the sections join neatly but the result is excellent.
Bridget worked with Emily, Sarah and Sophie to install the steps along the new track. The project involved digging out the steps, making sure they were even and level, and lots of nailing to secure the posts in place.
The result of these efforts is a great looking track with safe and attractive steps.
The team that started building this track had built two bridges over small streams that flow across the track. However, we’ve found that several track sections around the bridges are quite wet, even during the dry summer weather and therefore needed to be boardwalked so that future visitors can enjoy the track without getting their feet wet.
Kalym worked with Doug, Ellis, Harry and Howard to build the boardwalk sections. The first task involved studying the terrain and figuring out the best route and measuring to determine how much timber would be required.
The participants learned how to use the power tools and cut the wood.
Once the wood was cut, the frameworks for the boardwalk sections were assembled.
The frames were then carried out to the track.
Installing the frames can be a challenge. Each one needs to be level and even with the previously installed section. Getting it right involves a lot of digging and checking with the spirit level.
Once the section is in place, the top planks are installed. The biggest challenge is to cut the triangular sections around the curves where two frames meet at an angle.
The end result is two very nice sections of boardwalk that will be used (and appreciated) by visitors to CUE Haven for years to come.
Here’s the boardwalk team making sure there are no nails out of place!
The final task on the track was to spread some gravel on the surface to make it safe for year round use. This involved collecting gravel from a pile near the top of the property into buckets.
The buckets were brought down to the track and the team spread and smoothed the gravel over the surface. The result is a safe year round and very good looking walking track.
In addition to the track work, the other big task that the team tackled was carving totem poles to mark the entrances to the walking tracks they have built. Previous teams have installed six totem poles at various points around the property and this team did an additional two.
The boys were still in the field finishing off the boardwalk so the girls broke into two teams and started work on the posts. The first task was to agree on a design for how to carve and decorate the pole.
One of the poles was an old fence post that still had staples in it.
The team decided to retain the post’s farming provenance, keep the staples, and decorate the post with bits of old fencing wire. And Anneke’s farm experience with fence wires came in very handy,
The other post was a full team effort. All the girls worked on carving sections and once the boys finished the boardwalk they helped out. The post is unique in that it includes a contribution from every team member and includes their name or initials.
Once the posts were carved, the challenging part was to get them out to the field and install them. The posts were loaded onto the ute and carried to the nearest convenient spot.
The posts were then carried down to the installation site and very deep holes were dug. The team took turns digging with the post hole digger.
The hole was then cleared of any loose dirt.
And the post was manoeuvred into position.
Once the post was positioned and straightened, the hole was filled with cement to anchor it.
The team also tackled another very creative task. A previous team had made a chess board and chess pieces for the DoEHA Grove. The chessboard is in place on an old water trough behind the hut (old water tank) in the Grove. This team decided to make checkers to go along with the chessmen.
First a smooth pole was sliced into sections to create the checkers. The team decided to paint them black and red.
Then Sarah used her artistic skill to painstakingly paint the DoEHA logo on each piece.
And Emily and Kalym took the opportunity to spruce up the chessmen by painting the concrete bases.
Other team members meanwhile reinforced two storage boxes which will be used for storing the checkers and chessmen. They loaded up the pieces into the boxes for delivery to the site.
Brigid and Katrine set up the checkers and faced off for the first game!
There was no official winner because everyone got involved in giving “helpful” advice.
This team accomplished an amazing amount of very challenging work in record high temperatures. But they coped very well and had a lot of fun as well as hard work.
They took some time to relax.
Enjoyed the sunsets.
They also did a great job of cleaning up.
Which wasn’t too hard because the brooms were magic!
We’d like to thank Nestle NZ for generously providing Nestle Iced Tea, Nescafe Menu sachets and water bottles for the team during the week.
And as always, a big thank you to Andy Woodhouse, National Training Director of the DoEHA programme for organising and inspiring the residentials and keeping everything moving in the right direction.
We want to thank Brigid, Kalym and Katrin for all their hard work as team leaders. Your participation helped make this such a successful residential. We wish you all the best and hope you will come back to lead future teams. And a special thanks to Kalym for leading two DoEHA teams back to back. Your enthusiasm and energy from beginning to end helped bring the teams together quickly and got the best out of everyone.
And a special thank you to each of the team members for your hard work in spite of the heat. We really enjoyed meeting you and working with you. We wish you all the best with completing your gold awards and with your future endeavours. You have all made a major contribution to the CUE Haven project and we are very grateful for your creativity and efforts. Each of you made a contribution and left your mark.
Your track and totem poles and checkers will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come. We hope you will bring your friends and families and come visit us again. And we look forward to having you out as team leaders for future a DoEHA gold residential. Thanks again!!
Lisa’s Wish Charitable Trust (LWCT) is an organisation conceived by the late Lisa Knapman-Smith, a wife and mother who passed away from cancer in 2009. Lisa’s vision was that the Trust would provide support and activities for children whose parents or caregivers have been diagnosed with cancer.
The Trust has regular day events for children and young people with an ill parent and has long hoped to hold longer events. Through our association with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards (DoEHA) programme we met the Lisa’s Wish trustees and arranged to have a weekend long camp to give the participants a chance to get away and do some new things and learn some new skills. The first camp was held this past weekend.
The group arrived on Friday afternoon and included Antonio, Karissa, Nicola and Nikita. Ian Knapman-Smith, a trustee of LWCT, was the camp coordinator
Bridget and Kalym who are Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award team leaders volunteered to work with the LWCT group for the weekend.
We welcomed the group to CUE Haven and gave them an overview of the project.
And then took them on a short tour of the property. When we got back from the tour and had identified the area where they wanted to establish the Lisa’s Wish Grove, the team took some time brainstorming about ideas for what projects they would like to do.
Saturday morning, the team got to work. They had decided that they would create a walking track through the Grove and build an archway to welcome visitors. It was a major challenge to clear the track of weeds and vegetation.
But with lots of hard work, the track slowly emerged.
The entrance to the Grove is at the level of the main road on the property but the walking track slopes down towards the wetlands, so the team decided to put in some steps to make it easier to walk down. They cut the steps into the soil.
And the next task was to frame them up with timber. First the boards are fitted into place.
And then secured with wooden pegs.
It was a challenge securing the planks and pounding in the stakes with a heavy sledge hammer.
And an even bigger challenge nailing the stakes in place, but the team did a great job.
The track turned out very nicely!
The team decided to finish it off with a layer of gravel so that it would be safe for visitors to walk on in all kinds of weather. They went up to collect the gravel in buckets.
And then spread it over the track.
The end result is a fantastic track that will enable visitors to visit and enjoy the Grove safely year round.
The team decided that they would create an arch at the entrance to the walking track to welcome visitors to the Lisa’s Wish Grove. The first task involved bringing down the posts that would form the sides of the arch.
The posts needed to be sunk deep in the ground and cemented in place. Under Kalym’s guidance, each team member took turns using the post hole borer to dig the holes.
Once the holes were deep enough, the posts were set in place and cemented.
While the cement hardened, the team made the top of the arch.
The team also wanted visitors to the Grove to have a place where they could rest and enjoy the setting so they cleared a spot in the Grove where they decided to put a bench.
While part of the team worked on the entry arch, the other team members worked on constructing the bench.
Once the bench was complete, they carried it down to the Grove and installed it.
Once the arch and bench were in place, the team decided to paint them using the Lisa’s Wish Foundation colours and design. The Lisa’s Wish logo includes handprints and the tag line is “In the Hands of Angels.”
The team went to the paint shop and got a supply of paint and the next morning went to work.
Once the basic coat was on they decorated the bench with hand prints and added their initials.
In addition to being a very nice looking bench, it is also quite comfortable!
The team also painted the entry arch with a similar design.
The team finished up late on Sunday morning. They had invited their families and friends over for lunch and to officially open the Lisa’s Wish Grove.
The team cooked a big lunch as the guests arrived.
And it was enjoyed by everyone.
After lunch Ian led everyone up to the new Lisa’s Wish Grove for an unveiling and to try out the walking track and bench.
It’s hard to believe that what looked like this on Friday evening:
Now looks like this:
An excellent contribution by the team!!
We want to thank Andy Woodhouse of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award for co-ordinating the visit and many thanks to Kalym and Bridget for serving as team leaders and for helping out with the work and making a valuable contribution to the Lisa’s Wish Grove.
Also a big thank you to Ian for organising the weekend and for all his hard work, inspiration and support.
And a very special thank you to Antonia, Karissa, Nicola and Nikita. We enjoyed meeting you all and appreciate what you have done. Not only have you created something beautiful in support of the Lisa’s Wish Trust you have made a lasting contribution to CUE Haven. Your track and bench and art will be seen and appreciated by many visitors for years to come. We wish you all the best and much happiness and success in the coming years and we hope you will come back again for future camps.
2015 started off very successfully with a great Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award gold award residential at CUE Haven. The participants included Aakash, Calum, Cindy, Dylan, Hamish, Ji Won, Maddie, Matthew, Rebecca and Thomas. Kalym was the team leader. This was the third time Kalym has been at a CUE Haven residential and his second time as team leader.
The group arrived on Monday morning. Andy Woodhouse, National Director of Training for the DoEHA programme joined us. We got acquainted over morning tea and Mahrukh gave the group a welcome and overview of the CUE Haven project.
Tom and Andy then gave the group an overview of the work planned for the week and a safety briefing.
We then went for a short tour of the property so that the group could see the DoEHA Grove and get a better idea of where they would be working.
The primary task for the week was to build a new walking track which would connect the old walking track with the main race and give visitors access to an entirely new area of the property. After lunch the team went right to work.
The first challenge was to find the best route and layout for the track and then to clear away the vegetation. The idea was to create an interesting walk for visitors while minimising steep slopes.
Once the new track was formed, in areas where the slope was too steep it was necessary to install steps. The process involves measuring and planning the number and distance for the steps, cutting them out and then boxing them up with timber.
The team found a big tomo along the track route and built a small bridge over it to keep future visitors safe.
This new track joins up with the old track at the stream and as a result it was necessary to build a small bridge to link the two tracks. The team dug holes for the support posts and concreted them into the ground. They measured the bridge dimensions, cut the framing timber and installed it.
Once the structure was in place, the top boards were nailed into place and a wire mesh was nailed over the timber so that it won’t be slippery when wet.
The final step to finish off the track was to put down a layer of gravel to make the surface safe year round. It’s not an easy job. The metal was brought up in the ute and unloaded into buckets.
The buckets were then carried down and the gravel tipped out and spread on the track.
In just three days of hard work in hot weather the team managed to create a wonderful new track—155 metres from end to end with 28 steps, two bridges and a safety rail. A fantastic effort!!!
This is how the area looked before the team got started:
And this is how it looks now:
The other project for the week was to work on carving some totem poles to mark the entrances to tracks built by DoEHA participants. The team decided to do three poles and broke into smaller teams and each team came up with their own unique design for the pole and went to work carving.
Once the posts were all carved, the next very challenging job was to take them out into the field and install them.
Installing the posts involved digging deep holes and concreting the posts in place.
It took teamwork to make sure that the posts were straight and oriented in the right direction.
Once the posts were all installed, each one was painted to seal it and to make the carving more visible.
Some team members came back painted as well!
Here are the completed posts with their carving teams.
Calum didn’t think their post was tall enough so he added a bit of height!
In addition to the track and the posts the group also did a lot of maintenance work around the property, trimming overhanging vegetation and weeding.
The team took some well deserved time off to relax…..
…and when not playing “Mafia” and “Articulate”, Matthew entertained the team with his guitar playing for an enjoyable sing-a-long.
We very much enjoyed working with this group. They quickly came together as a close team and got a lot of work done and had a good time together.
We’d like want to thank Nestle NZ. During the week, the team enjoyed Nestle Iced Tea and Nescafe Menu coffees generously provided by Nestle who also provided each team member with a water bottle for use in the field.
We also want to thank Andy Woodhouse for his efforts in organising the residential and for giving up some of his time to be on site with the team. Andy’s ideas and help and support are invaluable.
Our many thanks to Kalym for taking time out of his holiday to lead the team. His leadership and hard work helped make the week very successful. Thanks Kalym!! We look forward to having you lead another team next week.
And most of all a big thank you to the team for their hard work in spite of the heat. It was great meeting you all and we wish you all the best with completing your gold awards and with your future endeavours. You have all made a lasting contribution to the CUE Haven project and very much appreciate your efforts. Your track and totem poles will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come. We hope you will bring your friends and families and come visit us again. And we look forward to having you out as team leaders for future a DoEHA gold residential. Thanks again!!
Tall Mingimingi – Leucopogon fasciculatus
CUE Haven – November 2014
We wish you and your dear ones a very Merry Christmas
and a healthy, happy, peaceful and prosperous 2015
We thank you for your interest and support
and look forward to seeing you at CUE Haven again soon!
Tom & Mahrukh
Cultivating Understanding & Enlightenment
Spark Digital, formerly Gen-i, is New Zealand’s leading IT and ICT solutions provider. Spark is an affiliate of Spark NZ, formerly Telecom NZ. Today for the third time, Steve Jessop of Spark Digital arranged for a team of his colleagues from Spark Digital and Spark to come out to CUE Haven for a day.
The team arrived around nine and included Alison, Anna, Andy, Charlotte, Deb, Ian, Jeff, John, Luke, Neil, Pablo, Paul J., Paul O., Phillip, Quintin, Rizwan, Samuel, Steve H., Steve J., and Steven. And also joining us for the day were Luke’s sons Samuel & John
We spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea.
Mahrukh then gave a welcome and a short overview about the CUE Haven project. It was an introduction for new people and an update on our activities for the several people who had been out on previous visits.
Tom then gave a safety briefing and an overview of the work planned for the day.
We are building a new walking track which will give visitors an opportunity to explore a part of the property that has previously been inaccessible. Earlier groups of volunteers had started the track and the plan for today was to further extend the track, build two bridges over some small streams that cross the path and also do make some improvements to the wetlands boardwalk.
The team walked up to the work site by way of the boardwalk in the wetlands that earlier Spark teams had worked on.
The group broke into three teams. One team worked on extending the new track, the second smaller team worked on building bridges for this new track, while another small team stayed on the boardwalk to work on an area that hadn’t previously been boardwalked.
We had previously dropped off the tools and equipment at the start of the track but the first job was to carry the timber, cement and water for the bridges up to the bridge sites.
The first task for the track team was to clear, widen and level the path. The proposed route had been sprayed out but was covered with dead grass and weeds.
That was the easy part!
A good part of the track traverses steep terrain. Where the track goes along the slope it is necessary to bench out the surface so that it is level. This requires figuring out the best route and carving the path out. The team proved to be excellent engineers and earth movers!
When the track traversed a steep section at a right angle, it was necessary to cut steps into the track so that it will be easier and safer to negotiate. Installing steps requires a lot of care to ensure that they aren’t too steep and are spaced correctly to make it easy to walk on them. The work involves cutting out the step and then framing it with a board secured by two posts which are then nailed in place.
The team collaborated to come up with the best solution to the various challenges they faced.
While the track teamed worked their way up, the bridge team were working near the middle of the track where two small streams cross the path. The bridge building involved building the frame around old fence posts which would be cemented into the ground.
First the team had to decide the best position and orientation for the bridge and then dig out the area around the posts.
They dug the post holes with a borer and it was a real challenge digging into the heavy clay.
Once the holes were dug and they were satisfied with test fitting the frame, they cemented the posts in place and attached the frame.
Once they finished the first bridge frame, they continued on to build the second.
And the final task was installing the top boards.
Meanwhile, the boardwalk team was working on fixing up a section of the boardwalk. When we did the boardwalk last summer we had left a section of ground bare as we thought it would stay dry enough to enable people to walk on. However, during the wet winter weather the section proved too muddy and we decided to boardwalk over the section.
First the team built a frame for the new boardwalk section.
And then did a beautiful job of planking over the top. They also installed wire mesh for safe footing on wet days.
Because the steps going down to the lower boardwalk section were open, the team decided to plank them over as well.
The result is a much safer and attractive boardwalk and we are delighted with the huge improvement.
Here is the before view:
The team took a break for lunch shortly after midday.
And a short but much deserved rest before going back to work.
We had a busy but really fun day with this team. They were great to work with and had lots of enthusiasm and energy. They set a new single day record for track building by finishing off 154 metres of track and building two bridges plus the boardwalk sections. Here is a look at what they accomplished.
Other teams later this summer will finish off the approaches to the bridges and complete new track and the small remaining section on the boardwalk.
A fantastic effort and a great accomplishment overall!!
A big thank you to Steve Jessop for championing CUE Haven at Spark. This is the third time Steve has brought a team of his colleagues out for a day and we always have a great time.
And we want to thank everyone in the hard working team. You accomplished a huge amount of work and made a major and lasting contribution to the CUE Haven project. We really appreciate your efforts and enjoyed getting to know you and working with you and look forward to having you all back next year.
And we hope you will also come back with your families for a more leisurely visit and to enjoy the walking tracks you have worked so hard on.
Orewa College, located on the Hibiscus Coast north of Auckland, has a significant international exchange program. The school seeks to enrich international students’ experience in New Zealand by giving them wide exposure to New Zealand culture and natural heritage. Today, Adrienne Croad, International Students Development Manager brought a group of students from Chile, Germany, Italy and Japan to CUE Haven to explore, learn a little about New Zealand plants and animals and to leave a permanent mark in NZ by helping us build a new walking track.
The group arrived about ten and included Adrienne and students Anne, Enrico, Gretha, Kazuma, Naoki, Nina, Pablo, Rodrigo, Tamara and Yudai.
We spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea and chatted with the students about where they were from and how they were enjoying their New Zealand experience.
Mahrukh then gave an overview of the CUE Haven project.
And Tom gave a safety briefing and short description of the work planned for the day.
Before the group went to work, we took a ride up to the top of the property.
And then took a short walk down to give the students a chance to learn more about CUE Haven and New Zealand plants and animals.
As we walked down, Tom also pointed out aspects of the walking track to give the students an idea of what to expect when they would be working on their track.
When we got down to the new track site we broke into two teams. One team worked on finishing off some steps a previous group had started while the other group worked on extending the track by benching and clearing.
Finishing off the steps involved cutting out the step sections and levelling the ground so that each step was even and straight as possible.
A particularly challenging task was fitting in the backing boards and nailing the stakes to the board.
But it all worked out well!
The other team worked on clearing vegetation from the track and levelling the surface. They had to cope with prickly gorse, blackberry and thistles but managed to move the track ahead by about 25 metres—a great effort in a short amount of time.
After a couple of hours work the group took a leisurely walk back to the cottage for a relaxing lunch.
We really enjoyed working with the Orewa international students and were very impressed with what they were able to accomplish in such a short period of time.
We want to thank Adrienne for making all the arrangements for today’s visit and bringing the students out.
And a very big thank you to Adrienne and the students for all their hard work today. We appreciate your efforts and hope you enjoyed the day. You have made a lasting contribution to New Zealand natural heritage and the track you built today will be used and enjoyed by visitors for many years to come.
We wish the students an enjoyable stay in New Zealand. We wish you happiness and success in your future endeavours and we hope that someday you will come back to New Zealand and visit CUE Haven too.
The week of 1-9 November is Conservation Week in New Zealand and the theme for this year is “Discover the World Where You Live.” Over 150 events have been taking place throughout the country to give people a chance to find out about the conservation activities in their area.
Today with the help of the Department of Conservation, Auckland Council and many volunteers we hosted a community open day and over 100 people stopped by to explore the property, learn about our project and some other conservation activities going on in the area.
It was great to see a lot of familiar faces and also meet lots of wonderful new people.
Over the past few weeks with the help of lots of volunteers, we’ve been getting the walking tracks and roads in shape after the winter rains. We put up directional signs to guide visitors and also some pictures taken when the project started so that people could see how the landscape has changed.
Visitors brought a picnic lunch, socialised and spent time exploring the property.
The objective for the day was not only to showcase the conservation efforts at CUE Haven but also other local conservation activities. So we turned the nursery into an environmental education centre focussing on the Northland brown kiwi that have been released at Mataia, our neighbours across the road.
Clea of Kiwi for Kiwis, and Julie, a biodiversity student at Unitec who also assists with the kiwi at Matai, set up interactive displays and were on hand to talk to visitors about the highly endangered kiwi and efforts, like those at Mataia, to protect them.
Laptops had been set up so that visitors had an opportunity to see video clips of some of the kiwi at Mataia and their recently born chicks which had been filmed using infra red cameras.
The kiwi at Mataia are fitted with telemetry devices so that their movements, activities and vital signs can be monitored. Because Mataia is literally across the road we are in range of the telemetry signals and visitors had a chance to track the kiwi.
Also as part of the Open Day, a few students from the Unitec department of Performing and Screen Arts were on site with lecturer, Mark Ingram, to film and interview as part of their project to make a short documentary on the CUE Haven project. They interviewed some of the volunteers and also interviewed Paige and Yan, Unitec graphic design students who developed the beautiful signs which are now installed at CUE Haven.
It was a great day and we really enjoyed seeing so many old friends and meeting new friends and we have a lot of people to thank for making it such a successful event.
The Open Day, like the CUE Haven project itself, is again evidence of what a community can achieve when the public and private sectors and individuals all come together to create something beautiful and lasting for current and future generations.
Firstly our many thanks to Sue from the Department of Conservation who launched the idea of a CUE Haven open day and who helped with the publicity. And also many thanks to Craig of Auckland Council for assisting with the laminated ‘before’ photos of the CUE Haven landscape so that visitors could better visualise the progress of the project over the past six years.
We want to thank Nestle NZ for providing the much appreciated Nescafe Menu coffee and Peach and Lemon Nestea for the visitors.
We also want to thank Mason Contractors Ltd and Northpower Ltd for the very generous contribution of quality metal. And thank you Pete of Helensville Diggers for getting the roads and walking tracks ready for the Open Day.
A very big thank you to Clea and Julie for giving up a Saturday to share their vast knowledge of kiwi and New Zealand ecology.
And a very special thank you to our very dear friends Jane and Mauricio for coming and helping out for the day. Jane looked after all the visitors making sure that the food and beverage tables were well stocked and answering questions. Mauricio helped out by guiding visitors, answering questions and taking fantastic pictures to document the day. We really appreciate your invaluable help.
And finally, a big big thank you to all the visitors who came out for the day. It was great seeing you all and we really appreciate your support. We look forward to having you back again!