FleetPartners NZ is a leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company based in Auckland. Today a group of corporate staff and family members spent a fun and productive day at CUE Haven. Also joining us for the day was our good friend, Doug Bayer who is a regular volunteer at CUE Haven.
The group arrived shortly after nine. The FleetPartners team included Chris, Daniel, Gail and Viv as well as Gail’s partner Paul and Viv’s daughter Sian.
We got acquainted over morning tea and gave the group an overview of the project, the work to be done and a safety briefing.
Doug volunteered to work in the nursery and help with potting up the seedlings into bigger pots. The potting up work is very important as the seedlings outgrow their pots and can become root bound which will impede further growth or even kill the plant.
Doug’s new nickname is “The Machine” because in just a couple of hours he managed to transplant over 100 trees from the potting tubes into the bigger bags!
Meanwhile, Tom and the FleetPartners group went down to the wetlands to work on the boardwalk.
The team did a short walk on the completed sections of the boardwalk to see the finished product and then took a tour of the unfinished section so they could plan their work.
The first task was to transport the timber and tools to the work site.
The FleetPartners team was working in one of the most challenging sections of the track. The section starts with a steep drop down to a very wet area and then another steep section back up to a drier section. The team’s task was to cut steps at both ends of the section and to build boardwalk frames to connect the steps in the low area.
They broke into two teams–one worked on the steps and the other worked on the boardwalk frames—but because everyone cooperated so well, members regularly switched teams to help each other out with different tasks.
Building the steps is a real challenge. It is necessary to study the terrain to determine how many steps are necessary to ensure that future users of the track will be easily able to negotiate the steps. Once the step layout is determined, they are cut out and secured with frames, pegs and nails.
The end result is very professional looking steps that will be enjoyed (and appreciated) by visitors to CUE Haven for many years to come.
Building the boardwalk frames involved assembling them from heavy timber, and then pegging them into the ground after ensuring that everything is straight and level.
One of the biggest challenges is fitting the boardwalk sections to curves in the track. This required lots of measuring and cutting, and the team’s results were excellent.
The group was so enthusiastic that they ended up breaking for lunch about an hour late! But as a result, they got a lot done. In spite of wet and slippery conditions, the team did a fantastic job, building two very nice sets of steps as well as some complicated turns in the boardwalk sections.
After the late lunch, we went for a tour of the property.
It was a great end to a wonderfully productive day and we have a lot of people to thank.
Doug, thank you very much for your hard work and enthusiasm for the project. We really appreciate your continued support and it’s always great to have you out to CUE Haven.
A big thank you to Chris for championing CUE Haven to his colleagues at FleetPartners and making the day happen.
And a very special thank you to the hardworking team. You were great to work with and we very much look forward to having you back.
Westlake Girls High School on Auckland’s North Shore is one of New Zealand’s largest girl’s schools. School teacher Maree O’Leary contacted us about having some of the Year 12 and 13 Gateway Class students do projects at CUE Haven.
The plan was to have an orientation day for the students to learn about CUE Haven and to give the girls a chance to think about activities they might like to do as part of a class project.
Shortly after 9.30 on Saturday morning, Maree arrived with students Brittany, Brooke, Chiffon, Christine, Claudia, Enya, Hope, Julie, Karen, Kendall, Mary Ann, Mitanshu, Rochelle, Summer and Taylor, and parents Alison, Anjila, Dominique, Hari, Jo, Nicci and Wayne.
We started out with morning tea and gave the group an overview of the CUE Haven project, the plan for the day and safety issues.
We then went for a long walk around the property to give the students a better feel for the project. We explained the forest restoration work, weed and pest control, wetlands management, walking track construction and maintenance and native birds and plants. We also took some time to harvest seeds from the mature puriri and kahikatea trees along the walking track.
We also took a walk through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Grove to show the girls some of the art work and projects that other students have done.
While the group was out on the walk, four other students – Anna, Emma, Isabella and Wairua arrived. They had relied on their GPS for directions, but as we do not have mobile reception in the area, the GPS signal often gets scrambled and took the girls to a totally different destination. Fortunately the girls persevered and managed to get to CUE Haven an hour later.
It was too late for them to join the walk so they went to work in the nursery potting up some seedlings. The seedlings had been delivered from the nursery in their germination tubes and it is necessary to transplant them to larger pots so they have room to grow. This work is very important because the seedlings grow very fast and quickly outgrow the little pots they start out in. If they are not given more room, they become root bound and will either not have healthy growth and can even die.
After the walk the group had a light snack and talked a little bit about ideas the girls had as a result of what they had seen.
It was a really hot and humid day and the refreshing Iced Peach Nestea generously sponsored by Nestle was much appreciated. Thanks Nestle!
Then, the students who had been on the walk got some hands on experience in the nursery. And the girls who had already done the potting up demonstrated the work to be done.
The group then went to work and transplanted many rimu, titoki, kohekohe seedlings.
We would like to thank Daltons for generously providing their excellent premium potting mix that we used for today’s planting.
The girls also got acquainted with some of the creatures who share the nursery with the plants.
In the meantime, the four students who had arrived later and worked in the nursery while the group was out walking, went out to the field and helped install some steps on the wetland walking track.
In addition to a couple of very professional looking steps, they also added some flax flowers to the landscape:
The group left about 12.30 p.m. The plan now is for the students to take a couple of days to think about what they saw and did on their visit and to work on project ideas. They will come back for a day later next month with their project work.
We’d like to thank Maree for her interest in the CUE Haven project and for organising the day. It was a pleasure meeting and working with the students and we look forward to your next visit. Also, thank you to the parents who joined us for the day and added their support. We look forward to having you back, too.
IAG is the largest general insurance company in New Zealand, covering approximately 37% of the market. Today a hard working group from the Procurement, Property and Administration departments in the Auckland head office spent the day at CUE Haven for a volunteer community support day.
The team arrived at nine using a variety of transportation.
The group included Andrew, Brendon, Daniel, David, Eva, Havovi, Jessica, Latham, Michael, Nasreen, and Tim.
Over morning tea we provided an overview about the CUE Haven project, the work planned for the day and safety issues.
The tasks for the day included transplanting seedlings in the nursery from their germination tubes into larger pots and working on the wetlands boardwalk project. Group members were given the option of working on either or both activities.
In spite of practically record heat and humidity, most of the team decided to tackle the boardwalk. The first task involved loading up the timber that we would be using.
We were very happy that our friends Kevin and John, who have worked on other parts of the boardwalk, were able to join us for the day and help out. Once we got into the field and unloaded the timber and tools, we broke into two groups. One group would work with John building a curved boardwalk section around a tight corner of the track. The other group would work with Kevin building one of the longest bridges on the property.
Dan and Latham went to work to dig out the sloping section of the track joining the two work areas. It was very hard work and they did a great job creating a nice curved approach to the bridge.
John’s team had to determine how best to build their section. It was a challenge because the ground was very uneven and they had to ensure that there wasn’t too great a slope on their boardwalk section.
They did some measuring and tried some test layouts and then built the framework for their board walk section.
Once the frames were in place, the group went to work nailing down the top planks.
And the result is a beautiful section of walk that will be enjoyed by many people for a long time.
In the meantime, Kevin’s group worked on the bridge which goes over a stream which flows freely in winter but in summer is relatively dry. A previous team had put in the support posts for the bridge and today’s first job was to assemble the framework.
Once the frame was in place and secure, the top planks were nailed in to finish off the bridge.
When the team got to the end of the bridge, they continued work on extending the board walk.
The bridge is an amazing achievement and a unique feature of the wetland walking track.
While the boardwalk work was in progress, Brendon & Tim were busy in the nursery assisting with potting up some rewarewa seedlings. This work is very important because the seedlings grow very fast and quickly outgrow the little pots they start out in. If they are not given more room, they can become root bound and will either not have healthy growth and can even die.
After lunch, Havovi and Nazreen joined Brendon and Tim in the nursery to pot up some nikau seedlings.
In just a few hours, almost 200 rewarewa and nikau seedlings were potted up into bigger pots. A fantastic effort!
We would like to thank Daltons for generously providing their excellent premium potting mix that we used for today’s planting.
After a hard day’s work, the team still had enough energy to take a tour of the property. We drove up to the top.
And then walked back down.
The team took a couple of well-deserved breaks on the way down.
It was a really hot day and the Iced Peach Nestea generously sponsored by Nestle was much appreciated. Thanks Nestle!
We’d like to thank Havovi for championing the visit to CUE Haven and Nasreen for her effort in organising the day and making sure everyone knew where to be and what to bring.
Our many thanks to Kevin and John for all their hard work and help today. We very much appreciate it. Your hard work and expertise in construction have added a lot of value to the project.
And finally a very big thank you to the enthusiastic and hard working team from IAG. You were a great group to work with and we hope you will come back again. You have made a major contribution to the CUE Haven project and your efforts will be enjoyed by visitors for many years to come. THANK YOU!
One of the features of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards Grove at CUE Haven is the old water tank near the top of the property. When CUE Haven was a farm, the water tank served as a key element of the infrastructure. Water was pumped from the dams in the wetlands up to the tank. It was then gravity fed to the troughs for the stock to drink. It was painted sky blue and had been pretty much neglected ever since we stopped grazing in 2009.
The first team of DoEHA students decided that the water tank should be turned into some sort of a rest stop/shelter and in early April 2013, we had a professional concrete cutter cut an opening in the tank for an entrance.
We were pleasantly surprised at the condition of the tank interior. Other than a long abandoned bird’s nest and the absence of the manhole cover, the structure was sound and only in need of a good clean up.
The April 2013 team of gold award participants tackled the clean up. First they painted the outside with white sealer paint and then scraped and scrubbed the inside and painted it as well.
That team also gave some thought to how the hut should look. They decided that it should have a thatched roof like a proper hut and to decorate the exterior walls with a mural or some other art work.
The team decided to focus on the roof and leave the art work/painting for future teams. They harvested nikau palm leaves from the mature bush at CUE Haven and wove a roof which they secured down.
They were so anxious to get the roof completed in time that they moved the operation inside so they could continue working after dark!
Once the roof was finished, the next task was to get it back up to the hut and fix it in place.
The roof looked really nice but unfortunately, it did not hold up well. The hut is located near the top of the property where it is exposed to westerlies coming off the Kaipara Harbour and after a few months, the roof was in shreds!
The DoEHA team in January 2014 realised what they were up against and decided to construct a more sturdy roof.
Detailed measurements were taken:
Because a lot of wood cutting would be required, the new roof was constructed in the nursery where power tools could be used.
The first step was to make the framework.
Once the frame was finished, wood planks were individually cut and nailed into place.
Once the finishing touches were applied, the roof, which was heavier than it looks, was placed on the back of the ute for transport up to the hut.
The entire team then carried it down and placed it on top of the hut.
The teams had decided that they wanted a mural on the inside and outside of the hut and that the mural should portray the planting and construction tasks that the teams have been doing in the Grove.
We contacted Doug Ford, mural artist, who had helped us with our bird mural on the nursery and he agreed to help out with another interactive mural. Paint for the mural was also generously donated by Resene NZ.
Doug met with the team to discuss ideas and how to approach the mural work.
The team decided that they wanted the hut to look like a stone cottage. The hut would also have windows reflecting the surrounding views and in the interior a big painted mirror would reflect the views of the Kaipara Harbour.
At the hut, Doug showed the team how to mix paint colours and apply the paint.
He then demonstrated how the participants should trace each other in work poses on the hut walls.
The figures on the exterior show the students hammering, working on the roof, digging, planting, and weeding.
Earlier teams had envisioned a circular bench along the wall would be an interesting idea. And so, the figures on the interior showed three girls sitting on the (to be constructed) bench against the wall.
Once all the figures were outlined, the team went to work painting in the details.
The windows on the exterior of the hut and the big mirror on the interior were painted to reflect the surrounding views.
As the team worked on their painting, Doug shaded in the details and smoothed off the work to give it a three dimensional appearance.
The team is justifiably proud of the way the hut roof and mural turned out.
The interior background was finished off in a bush green. And Doug painted a big logo of the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards on the side.
In spite of the weight of the roof, we didn’t want to take any chances and the next team wired the roof down securely.
The roof is perfect for the hut and looks great from all angles!
The final task for the hut involved the seating installation. The circular bench running along the inside wall as envisioned by earlier teams proved to be impractical. As a result, the next team designed and built a straight bridge which would be sturdier and would accommodate more people.
The bottom half of the interior figures were painted out to reflect the change in seating design. The interior mural now looks like three girls are standing at the entrance to the hut looking into the (painted) mirror on the wall which reflects the Kaipara Harbour in the background.
In building the bench, the team considered that because the hut used to be a water tank for the farm, they wanted to make the bench out of old farm materials. Accordingly, they collected old fence posts and wired them together with fence wire to create the bench. It comfortably seats five people, all of whom can enjoy a view of the Kaipara Harbour while they take a rest on the walking track.
The completed hut looks fantastic and has now become a focal point of the DoEHA Grove.
We want to thank Resene for providing the paint for the mural and a very big thank you to Doug Ford for devoting so much time to creating another beautiful work of art and for making this another really fun and memorable project for the students.
And we want to thank all the gold award participants who contributed ideas and effort to the hut over the past year. The project has been a great example of how the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards programme works. The hut transformation project took the participants out of their comfort zone requiring them to learn new building and art skills. Not all of the ideas always worked out as initially intended, but with their enthusiasm and great team work the teams have created something that they can all be very proud of and will be appreciated and enjoyed by visitors to CUE Haven for a long time.
This week a team of Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary gold award participants made a lasting contribution to the CUE Haven landscape and added a new dimension to the residential programme activities. The team worked on the hut mural, built almost 50 metres of wetland boardwalk and built a chair and a bench for future visitors to the DoEHA Grove to enjoy for years to come.
The team arrived on Monday morning and included Alanna, Chris, David, Hugh, Jack, Josh, Molly and Rosalind. Kevin Sutherland was the team leader.
We got acquainted over morning tea and gave the participants an overview of the CUE Haven project and the DoEHA Grove.
We then went for a quick tour of the property to show the group some of the things that previous groups had done and the work that was planned for the week.
Even in summer, parts of the wetland area are swampy and muddy and in winter the entire area is very boggy. To allow visitors to enjoy the area year round, the plan for this summer is to construct a raised boardwalk.
The first task was to trim back the vegetation along the track leading to the wetlands to make it easier to bring down tools and equipment.
The team then brought down the timber that would be used to build the track frames and plank the track surface.
The frames form the support structure and some frames were assembled where the timber was stored while other frames were assembled on site.
Once they are built they are fitted into position and secured down.
The challenge is to get the frames straight and level on the muddy and uneven ground.
When the frames are in place, the top planks are nailed down. It took a while for the team to get the hang of nailing in the long nails but under Kevin’s keen guidance, everyone was a pro by the end of the week.
A big challenge of the work was to build the corners in the track because each one is different and the boards have to be individually measured and cut out. The team did a great job on the corners making an interesting and safe walk way.
Another job was to create steps down from the main road to the board walk and to join up the steps to the walk.
The team put down almost 50 metres of track and reached an area where we will have to build some larger boardwalks over small gullies. They planned out the work and installed some of the footer posts for the boardwalks.
Although everyone spent some time working on the track, the team broke into 2 groups and while some team members went to work on other tasks, Chris, David, Jack & Rosalind dedicated all their time to the track work and made excellent progress.
The track work is a major accomplishment and a major contribution to the CUE Haven project. It was hard and messy work but the team worked very well together and added a lot of value to the track planning and execution.
Previous teams had cleaned up the old water tank and converted it into a hut and last week’s team built a wooden roof and created a mural on the inside and outside. This week’s activities included securing the roof in place with wire and finishing off the mural.
Securing the roof involved drilling holes through the concrete tank and looping wires through and attaching them to the roof structure.
Doug Ford, the artist who worked with last week’s DoEHA team on the interactive mural came out to put on some finishing touches. Molly helped him paint the interior with a colour selected by this team.
The hut is now looking great and we’ll share pictures of the mural in the next posting.
Another task for the week involved building a bench for the hut. The idea was to have a place where people could take a break and enjoy the view while they are out on the walking track. This team was so ambitious that they came up with a seat for the hut and also created a fantastic big chair for another location on the walking track.
The big chair was completely designed and built by the team and looks like a work of art as the back resembles a piwakawaka (New Zealand fantail).
There was so much nailing required that the team compared their blisters!
And of course the chair had to be regularly tested out to make sure it was comfortable.
Once the legs were attached and the chair was complete, each of the team members who worked on it carved their initials in the front.
The team then went out to the DoEHA Grove to select the best place to put the chair and we loaded it up and took it up to the site.
The chair is an amazing achievement and it will be enjoyed (and appreciated) by visitors to the Grove for many years.
The team also built a seat for the hut so that people could relax in the shade. They decided that because the hut had been built from the water tank that had been used when CUE Haven was a farm, they would build their seat out of old farm materials. They wired together old fence posts and nailed a split post on top to create a seat.
And then Alanna, Hugh, Josh, Kevin and Molly tested it out to see if it was sturdy enough to hold their weight. Yes it is!!
And here is the bench installed in the DoEHA hut!
Earlier residential teams had worked on artwork in the Grove including the building of two koru sculptures on the walking track. We are looking forward to the day when the sculptures are covered by moss and to help that process out, we made up a mixture of moss and yoghurt which will encourage moss growth on the shady side of the korus.
The team worked hard all week but also took time to relax and enjoy. They explored the property on night walks and also had fun in the tall grass of the unplanted (and ungrazed) pastures).
They played cards and board games
And Alanna taught them how to make flowers from flax leaves.
They also did some gourmet cooking….
And took some well-deserved rest.
Alanna also baked a delicious chocolate cake to celebrate the birthday of Andy Woodhouse, DoEHA Co-Director of Training and Development, who came on Friday for the de-briefing meeting with the team.
A great ending to a fantastic week!
We’d like to thank Nestle for providing water bottles, Iced Peach and Lemon Nestea and Nescafe Menu sachets for the team. Thanks Nestle! The drinks were very much appreciated on and off the field.
We’d also like to thank our 13 year old nephew, Yazdy, who came to help and worked with the team on the tracks. Thanks Yazdy!
And thank you Daniel Scott for organising this residential. Daniel is a DoEHA alumni and has co-ordinated the last seven residentials at CUE Haven, but he is now off to new adventures. It has been great having you on board and we wish you the very best in your endeavours ahead. Keep in touch.
A big thank you to Andy Woodhouse – your enthusiasm for CUE Haven and your ongoing support are much appreciated.
Many thanks to Kevin Sutherland for giving up yet another week of holiday to lead the team and for being an excellent team leader and doing far more than his share of the work. Kevin – thanks to you, this was another special week. You set the tone that enabled the team to come together and work so well.
And we especially want to thank the gold award participants – a great group of hard working young adults who accomplished so much. Everyone got along and contributed with great ideas to construct things which will last a long time and will be enjoyed by many people. It was a real pleasure working with you all and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours. We look forward to having you back to visit us in the future and also to serve as team leaders.
2014 got off to a great start with a hard working group of Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Gold Award participants joining us for the week. Gold Award participants can fulfil their residential service requirements at CUE Haven and this was the sixth group of students who have been to CUE Haven since January 2013.
The students primarily work in the DoEHA Grove which is an area of approximately 2 hectares where students have done tree planting, built a walking track and created artwork.
The team arrived on Monday morning and included Emma, Isabella, Karen, Karim, Laura, Lauren, Mariam and Vanessa. The team leader was Kevin Sutherland.
Andy Woodhouse, DofEHillary Awards Co-Director of Training and Development was also on site for part of the week to work with the team.
Over morning tea we got acquainted and gave the group a briefing on the CUE Haven project and the work to be done for the week.
The team had an early lunch and we then took them for a tour of the property and the DoEHA Grove to give them a better idea of the project and the work to be done for the week.
There was an ambitious list of tasks for the week including walking track maintenance and artwork.
Last summer, earlier teams of DoEHA participants had built a walking track through the Grove. Walking tracks require continual maintenance—vegetation and weeds can grow up on the track and nearby trees can block the path. Also, storms and rain over the winter can cause water flows that damage the track and we need to fix it for better drainage.
Their first task was clearing weeds and vegetation from the track for easy access.
The next task involved improving a drain on a sloping section of the track. The objective was to cut a channel for water to flow and keep it off the track and then to build a culvert and pipe the water under the track toward the stream.
Once the drainage ditch was complete, the team constructed and installed the culvert box and fitted the drainage pipe and buried it.
Some sections of the track were steep and slippery, especially in winter, so the team studied the track and determined where some additional steps would be helpful to visitors using the track.
The first task was to cut out the steps. Digging in the hardened ground was tough but the team were up to the task and in spite of the hard work kept smiling throughout.
Once the steps were cut out, the next task was to install a wooden plank to stabilize the step. The planks are held in place with wooden stakes and nailed in place. Pounding the stakes into the hard soil and pounding in long nails at a difficult angle was a challenge but everyone had a go and got the job done amidst lots of laughter.
The team also built a short track to connect the walking track with a service road. This will make it much easier to bring in equipment and materials for future projects in the Grove.
The final track related task was to cover the new sections with gravel which will provide traction for walkers year round. It was a challenging job because the gravel had to be carried in by the bucket load.
Thanks to this team’s hard work the track looks better than ever and they should be very proud of their efforts.
In addition to track work, the team also worked on some of the art projects underway in the Grove. Last spring, a team began work on a mosaic of the DoEHA logo. Future teams will do more work on the mosaic by building a border. This team spent some time cleaning up the mosaic stones and prepping it for the final finish.
Another task this week involved work on the conversion of an old water tank into a rest hut. When CUE Haven was a farm, the tank was used for water storage for the cattle.
Previous DoEHA teams had decided to convert the tank into a hut and paint a mural on the outside of the tank. In April 2013, an opening for the entry way was cut into the side of the concrete tank and the team painted the tank with white primer paint. They also designed and created a beautiful roof for the hut woven from nikau palm fronds. Unfortunately, the nikau roof didn’t stand up to the high winds that come off of the Kaipara Harbour.
This week’s team spent some time brainstorming how to build a more permanent roof structure and once they agreed on a plan they went to work building it.
Because building the roof would require using power tools to cut the timber, it would be built down in the nursery then taken up to the hut. As a result, the first step was to get accurate measurements to ensure the roof would be the right size and would be a perfect fit.
Kevin assisted with cutting the timber and the team members worked to assemble it.
The next challenge was getting it onto the ute to take it to the top of the property.
The entire team then carried the roof down to the hut and lifted it on top. The roof fits perfectly and will definitely withstand any strong winds!
The next step was to paint the mural! Because none of the students had much art experience, we asked the very talented artist, Doug Ford, who designed the native bird mural for the nursery to assist with this project.
The paint for the project was generously donated by Resene NZ, who have also helped out with our nursery mural and other projects as well. Thanks Resene!!
Doug arrived Wednesday morning and spent some time getting acquainted with the team to find out about their experience and interests and to explain how the work would be done. The students decided that the hut should be painted like a little stone cottage and decorated with pictures of them doing the various jobs and activities.
We then went up to the hut where Doug showed how to mix the paints and how to approach the work.
Doug gave a demo and then the students posed doing various tasks and traced each other in outline.
After all windows and stones were detailed in, the team started painting in the colours.
It was an opportunity for the students to explore their artistic sides!
This is how the hut looked before the painting started:
And this is how it looks now. We won’t reveal it completely as there is still some final touch up work to do before the official unveiling!
The team worked really hard all week and accomplished an amazing amount of work. They also took time to relax, going for a night walk to see the glow worms and playing Monopoly and other board and card games.
We also celebrated Vanessa’s and Karen’s birthdays!
Also, during the week, the team enjoyed Nestle Iced Tea and Nescafe Menu coffees generously provided by Nestle New Zealand who also provided each team member with a water bottle for use in the field. Thanks Nestle!
We’d also like to thank Andy Woodhouse for organising this week’s residential and helping out.
A big thank you to Kevin for giving up part of his summer holidays to lead the team. He was an excellent team leader and provided help and guidance to the team.
And finally we’d like to thank the fantastic students who were a real pleasure to work with and who got outside their comfort zones and tackled a number of new and challenging tasks. We wish you all the best as you continue toward your gold awards and in your future endeavours. We look forward to having you come back as team leaders in future years!