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Nestle New Zealand—26 June 2015

June 27, 2015

Nestle NZ has been a fantastic sponsor of CUE Haven for several years.  They have regularly provided our volunteers with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, snacks and water bottles all of which have been very much appreciated.

Nestle has a strong commitment to community service.  Staff spend a day each year doing various community service projects and today, as part of their zero carbon initiative, they added another level of support to the CUE Haven project by coming out to help us plant trees.

The group arrived at about nine and included Ben, Blair, Brad, Jay, Jono, Jyotsna, Kate, Kelly, Kim, Lena, Lony, Matthew, Minyada and Vanessa.

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We got acquainted over morning tea (with Nestle Café Menu coffees of course!) and gave the group an overview of the CUE Haven project, a safety briefing and a talk about the plan for the day.

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Today we were planting in the steep area near the nursery.  Previous groups have been working in the area but there is still a large amount to cover and the group went to work filling in gaps and extended the planted area.  It was challenging planting because the ground is steep and uneven and also covered with a thick layer of dead kikuyu grass.

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But the team coped very well and quickly got to work laying out the trees and planting.

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For the most part it was a perfect day for planting.

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But at one point a brief shower came along–it didn’t last long and was quickly followed by a rainbow.

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Lena decided to celebrate the sunshine with some spade yoga :)

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The team kept working and made a lot of progress.

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After a few hours we broke for a late lunch.  The team gathered up the pots and trays for recycling and we tallied up the trees planted.  In just a few hours, the team managed to plant over 600 trees!  An amazing accomplishment and a tribute to their enthusiasm and hard work.

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While most of the team was in the field, Jyostna, who is recovering from a knee injury, helped out in the kitchen getting lunch ready and cleaning up. Thanks very much, Jyotsna!

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After lunch we took the group for a tour of the property and walked back down via gully walking track.

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We are very grateful for all the support Nestle NZ has provided to CUE Haven over the years and we look forward to our ongoing partnership.

It was really nice meeting more of the Nestle NZ team and we want to thank Kate for organising the very productive and fun planting day.

We really enjoyed meeting and working with you all.  The native trees you have planted will be absorbing carbon from our atmosphere as they grow and establish the canopy which will provide shelter for a variety of plant and birdlife to flourish. What a great contribution not just to CUE Haven but also our planet! Thank you.

We look forward to having you all back again for a more relaxing visit.

THANKS AGAIN!

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Zoroastrian Youth of New Zealand—21 June 2015

June 22, 2015

Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest religions and its followers have spread throughout the world.  There is a thriving Zoroastrian community in New Zealand and later this year, the community is hosting the 6th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress in Auckland.

The congress is being managed by the Zoroastrian Youth of New Zealand (ZYNZ) and their vision is to create a global platform for Zoroastrian young people from around the world to embrace the treasured culture and unique traditions of the religion and to work to create a united future.  The ZYNZ have also decided to make this the first ecologically conscious congress by showcasing New Zealand’s clean green reputation as well as Zoroastrianism’s environmentally conscious rituals and customs.

In connection with the congress’ Green Initiative and to help make the event as carbon neutral as possible, the ZYNZ committee decided to plant trees at CUE Haven. Young Zoroastrians from around the world will be coming to Auckland for the congress and they have the opportunity to offset their carbon footprint by sponsoring trees which the ZYNZ will plant.  The funds generated from the tree sponsorship will be used towards hosting some fun events at the upcoming youth congress.

Today seven members of the ZYNZ – Aatish, Astad, Danny, Farzad, Nazneen, Sanaya, and Tinaz were on site to do the planting.  Also joining us were four other very enthusiastic youth – Stephanie, Xerxes, Yazdy and Zoe, who are regular volunteers at CUE Haven.

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We started out with a welcome and introduction and morning tea.  We then gave the group a safety briefing and an overview of what they would be doing.

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The plan for the day was to continue planting at the top of the property, an area combining wetlands and open sloping ground.  We drove the group up to the top and went to work.

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Tinaz, a professional photographer, spent time documenting the group’s activities.

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But she did manage to plant some trees as well!

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For the most part it was a perfect day for planting, but a couple of times some brief showers blew in from over the harbour.

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But the team kept working and smiling!

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The team worked hard and in a few hours managed to plant 522 trees—an amazing accomplishment! A perfect end to a great day!

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We are very happy to be a part of the ZYNZ’s green initiative for the 6th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress. It is wonderful to see young adults taking initiatives towards creating a healthier and more sustainable environment.

The trees they have planted are the fast growing pioneer native New Zealand trees (Cabbage trees, flax, kanuka, karamu, kohuhu, lacebark, mahoe, manuka, wineberry), that will establish the canopy which will provide shelter for a variety of plant and birdlife to flourish.

Our thanks to Roxanne for organising the 6WZYC planting day. Unfortunately Roxanne could not join us today due to work commitments, but we look forward to seeing her again.

A big thank you to the ZYNZ team who came out today to plant.  We wish you much success for the Congress and we hope you will have an opportunity to bring some of the delegates out to CUE Haven. And we hope you will come back again to plant more trees next year!

And finally – an extra special thank you to our regular young volunteers – Stephanie, Xerxes, Yazdy and Zoe for giving up yet another weekend to come out and help.  It’s always great having you assist at CUE Haven and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

It was a pleasure working with everyone today and we really appreciate the major contribution you all have made to the CUE Haven project and our planet with your efforts.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

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SFS Centre for Rainforest Studies—16 & 18 June 2015

June 19, 2015

The School for Field Studies (SFS) is a US-based global organisation providing ecology students with overseas study opportunities.  The SFS Centre for Rainforest Studies, based in Australia, provides a programme of study that includes a visit to New Zealand during which the students learn about New Zealand’s temperate rain forests.

For the second year in a row, the students’ New Zealand trip included a visit to CUE Haven and Mataia, our neighbours across the road.

The group convened at CUE Haven on Tuesday morning and included students Annie, Blair, Brandon, Casey, Courtney, Doi Teng, Doug, Ema, Jacqueline, Jessica, Katie, Liz, Maddie, Maria, Mary, Molly, Nicole F, Nicole S, Sarah and Zac.  In addition to the students, joining us were Amanda Freeman, SFS Centre Director, Sigrid Heise-Pavlov, Professor of Rainforest Ecology, Catherin Pohlman, Lecturer in Rainforest Management, SFS Student Affairs Managers Drew and Simone and Programme Interns Carina and Kylie.

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We started out by meeting up over morning tea and then we gave the group an introduction to the CUE Haven project and described the work they would be doing during their stay.

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Thomas then took the group for a short walk around the property and explained the restoration plan and demonstrated how it is being implemented in both the wetlands and other areas of the property.  He also explained our pest and weed control procedures and pointed out tracking tunnels, bait boxes and traps.

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The group then headed to Mataia to explore more mature native inland and coastal bush, and learn about the Northland kiwi released on the property. The following day the team spent the day planting pioneer trees in the wetlands as part of the Mataia Restoration Project.

On Thursday the group returned to CUE Haven and spent the morning assisting us with our infill planting of canopy trees.  We planted karaka, kauri, pigeonwood, puriri, totara, rewarewa and rimu, in amongst the pioneer manuka, kanuka, karamu and mahoe trees we had planted in 2010-2011.  Those pioneer trees have now grown up sufficiently to provide protection for the longer lived, slower growing canopy trees.

It was challenging planting because the trees have to be planted 5-10 metres apart in little clearings in the growing pioneer bush.

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The area to be covered was huge and although the plants had been brought up to the site it was necessary to distribute them evenly throughout the area.

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The spot where each tree was planted was marked with a bamboo stake so that we can later find the trees for weeding purposes and to check on their progress.

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While enjoying a mid-morning snack in the field:

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the students encountered a unique New Zealand stick insect ….

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The tree planting was hard work, but the team kept smiling and worked on until all the trees were planted!

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Even though they had to get into some tight spots in the bush.

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The weather was perfect and team coped very well with the various challenges.  They had a good time and in just a few hours managed to plant 275 long living canopy trees.  Well done!

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We want to thank Amanda for arranging the visit and making sure everything went smoothly.  We very much enjoy having SFS students and staff at CUE Haven and value our relationship with SFS.

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And we also want to thank all the SFS staff for helping out with organisation and for helping us work with the students to make sure they got the most value from their time at CUE Haven.

And a very big thank you to the students.  We really enjoyed meeting all of you and working with you. We appreciated your enthusiasm and interest in the CUE Haven Restoration Project and were impressed with the questions you asked about NZ native flora and fauna.

You have all made a major contribution not only to the CUE Haven restoration project but also to our planet.  The canopy trees you planted will outlive us all and will provide food and shelter for a variety of plant and bird life over the years and the growing native forest will provide enjoyment to generations of visitors. THANK YOU!!

We wish you all the best for your continued studies and future success and we hope you will keep in touch and come back to see the progress at CUE Haven and enjoy the growing native reserve.

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Green ‘S’ Force—13 June 2015

June 15, 2015

The Green ‘S’ Force was back at CUE Haven for another very successful planting day.  The team included Ankit, Napinder, Parminder, Raj, Randal and Suhas.

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Except for some wind it was a perfect day for planting.  The group picked up where they had left off last weekend and made major progress, almost finishing off the entire area.

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The area presented some interesting challenges.  Not only was it sloping in sections, but there is also a small wetland fed by an underground spring.

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But the team coped very well with these challenges and planted out lots of flaxes and cabbage trees around the spring.

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The team worked till late afternoon and despite being a small group accomplished a lot of planting.

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Thank you so very much!!  We are truly thankful for your efforts and for giving up yet another Saturday to come out to help us.

The Green ‘S’ Force team has made a huge contribution to the CUE Haven project as part of their selfless service and we really appreciate your dedication, enthusiasm and friendship.  We look forward to having you all back to help us finish off our planting season. Thanks again!

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The Spaces Between/The Living Community–Unitec Media Students

June 12, 2015

During 2014 – 2015, the Faculty of Creative Arts and Business at Unitec in Auckland sponsored a community media project called “The Spaces Between/The Living Community.”  The project involved students and staff from the Departments of Communication Studies and Performing and Screen Arts.

“The Living Community” series is intended to reflect Unitec’s commitment to the communities it serves, and to suggest the idea of exploring what it is that makes communities vital and resilient.  Also it echoes Unitec’s “The Living Curriculum” – learning as a conversation, the importance of engagement / two way dialogue to make something “live.”

Six community projects in the Auckland area were identified and teams of students and staff created film documentaries on each of them.  The documentaries were broadcast on the Auckland community television station, Face TV, during May and June 2015.

We are honoured that CUE Haven was selected as one of the projects.

Last year we met with Jocelyn Williams, Head of Department, Department of Communication Studies, Faculty of Creative Industries and Business and she interviewed us at length about the CUE Haven project, its history and our goals and objectives.

In June, Mark Ingram, Documentary Production Manager, Department of Performing & Screen Arts at Unitec brought out a group of students—Andrew, Asha, Caleb, Tima, Jatin, Josh, Parth, Roshan, Siobhan and Victor to exploring and film the property and interview us.

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In November, Mark Ingram came out again with students Geoffrey, Jade, Jimmy, Peia and Rosie to conduct some additional interviews.

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Last year a group of Unitec Graphic Design students had done projects to design signs for CUE Haven as part of their course work.  Thanks to a grant from the Auckland Council and sponsorship from Capitol Signs Ltd, seven information signs designed by students Yan Herre and Paige Keene, were developed and installed at CUE Haven in 2014. The Unitec media students interviewed Paige and Yan about their experience working on the project.

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From initial ideas, to interviews, story development, filming and editing – the project was a great opportunity for all sorts of Unitec students to get their hands on a real production project.

The end result is a wonderful short documentary showcasing CUE Haven and you can see the final results of the students’ efforts here:

We are delighted with the results.  We have very much enjoyed working with the Unitec staff and students who were professional and also fun to work with.

Real world learning and delivering value to communities is a key element of studies at Unitec and we are delighted that CUE Haven is able to provide a platform for student learning and in return gain significant benefit from the students’ contributions.

We would like to thank Jocelyn, Marcus, Mark, Ravi and Skye for their support and interest in CUE Haven and for involving us with the Living Communities project.  We very much value our relationship with Unitec and we look forward to continuing working with them on other projects.

The Living Community CUE Haven program was the result of the work of several people and we want to thank each of them for their efforts.

Presenters –Jess Kahi and Hannah Rohe

Camera – Jeffery Huang, Jimmy Yang, Jade Hurst, Andrea Eastwick, Victor Ikeda, Asha Haines, Jatin Kachhala

Editors – Gad Gong, Jemma Lee, Elias Elzenaar-Adams, Natasha Bishop

Editing Supervisor – Jo Jowitt

Series Assembly Coordinator – Skye Clark

Music – Michael Murray, Jason Shaw (audionautix.com)

Studio recording – Will Isherwood

Design & Animation – Angus Burrows. Jay Matson, Jamie Martel, Irene Lee, Sam Wong

Sound – Josh Metcalfe

Production Assistant – Sondiyp Singh

Chief Researcher & Project Leader – Jocelyn Williams

Executive Producer – Alex Lee

Episode Director – Mark Ingram

Interviews written by – Tima Abbas, Parth Mehta, Roshan Nama, Caleb Rakete, Siobhan Willocks, Amy Bramley, Jade Hurst, Rosie Stanton

Interviews by – Siobhan Willocks, Rosie Stanton

Thanks again!  You’ve created a valuable visual story about the CUE Haven project and we really appreciate all of your contributions.  We wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

You can see other Living Community stories here.

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Green ‘S’ Force Planting Day—6 June 2015

June 8, 2015

The Green ‘S’ Force was on site today for their fourth visit this season to help out with our planting efforts and, as always, got a lot of trees planted.

The team arrived shortly before nine and included Bharpoor, Dinesh, Jasveer, Manjit, Manpreet, Manjeet, Napinder, Navjot, Ninder, Nitash, Parminder, Rajpreet, Randal, Sandeep and Shubham.  It was great to see a lot of new people and also to catch up with our old friends in the group.

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Once again we were planting at the very top of the property so we took the team up in groups.  Once on site the team went to work.  It was a perfect day for planting and the team wasted no time working through the area to be planted.

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As always, the team took their breaks in the field and we kept them well stocked with drinks and snacks.

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After several hours of hard planting work, the team ended the day with a late but well deserved lunch.  The team made a major contribution to our planting efforts and finished off a huge area.

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Our heartfelt thanks to the entire team for giving up yet another Saturday to come out to help us.  We know how busy you are with your studies and work and really appreciate your dedication, enthusiasm and selfless service.  You have made a major contribution to the CUE Haven restoration project and we are truly grateful.  We really enjoy working with you and spending time together and we look forward to having you all back to help us finish off our planting season. Thanks again!

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International Student Volunteers—May 30-5 June, 2015

June 7, 2015

International Student Volunteers is a US based organisation which gives young people the opportunity to combine volunteering with adventure travel.  ISV operates tours in six countries, including New Zealand.  The focus is on conservation and learning about environmental sustainability and over 310 universities around the world recognize ISV projects for academic credit. This week a group of eight students from the US and Canada joined us for a soggy but fun and productive week.  The team arrived on Saturday morning, coming directly from the airport after arriving from Los Angeles, and included Amanda, Andrea, Austin, Lauren, Melissa K., Melissa S., Nicole and Vincent.  Jonathan Hattrell of ISV New Zealand was the team leader.

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We spent some time getting acquainted and giving the group an orientation to the CUE Haven project and a short tour around the property.

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The group had the weekend off to recover from their long flights and on Sunday went exploring at nearby Muriwai beach and relaxing in the Parakai Springs hotpools. On Monday morning we went to work.  We started planting in an area that had been sparsely planted a few years ago and needed to be filled in.

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The team continued working until that area was completely planted.  We then moved up to the top of the property and to the main area being planted this year.  The area is brown because to prepare the site for planting earlier in the year, we had sprayed the pasture to kill the introduced kikuyu grass which is an invasive weed and undesirable in restoration projects.

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The team also did some planting in the wetlands.

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Throughout the week we took time to explain the goals and objectives of our restoration project to the group and to involve them in as many aspects of the project as possible.  We explained the problems that introduced pest mammals create and described our pest control procedures.  The ISV students helped by installing some new tracking tunnels and laying out tracking cards in existing tunnels. We started out by assembling the new tunnels.

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We then went for a bush walk to install the tunnels and lay out the cards.  Each card has to be baited with peanut butter.

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The tunnel and card are then installed at a location likely to attract creatures.

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The last step is to attach an identifying ribbon to help find the tunnel later.

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Another important task the group helped out with was clearing the walking tracks of overhanging vegetation.

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While the girls were working hard on clearing the overhanging vegetation along the walking tracks, the boys decided to tackle another task. Heavy rains over the past few weeks had made sections of the boardwalk, that had been boxed in but not boarded over, difficult to walk on. Austin, Jonathan and Vincent decided to work on fixing those sections.   It was challenging work because each section was different and customised solutions had to be developed for each area. They started work on an interesting curved step.  The step had been boxed but it was necessary to install a centre board to support the boardwalk planks.  This involved a lot of digging in the compacted clay.

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Once the box framing was installed, the next challenge was to figure out how to cut the top boards to cover the irregular shape of the step. The solution involved a lot of measuring and cutting.

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The result is an amazing achievement that makes the boardwalk easier and more comfortable to walk on.

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The following day, the entire team worked on different sections of the boardwalk and had a chance to try out their measuring and hammering skills!

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One of the boardwalk tasks was installing wire mesh on the surface so that the boards do not become slippery when wet or muddy, and the team installed several metres of mesh.  This is a challenging job because the boardwalk sections are all irregularly shaped while the mesh comes in long straight rolls.  It takes a lot of careful measuring and cutting to create a nice continuous screen.  The team took extra care and did a great job.

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The team made a major contribution to the wetlands boardwalk and they should be proud of their accomplishments.

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In addition to all their hard work, the team kept busy with other activities.  One night they went into town to see the US play New Zealand in the U-20 football (soccer) World Cup finals. They did puzzles and played games in their spare time.

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They made friends with some of the local creatures.

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And Jonathan conducted several group discussions on topics such as sustainable development and environmental issues. The team set a schedule for cooking and clean up and had some great meals.

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The occasional wild weather didn’t only affect the team when they were working outdoors.  We had a few power outages which meant that the water pump wasn’t working for short periods.  The participants figured out a way to do impromptu shampoos.

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And also did some research on what to do in case the power and water were off for an extended period of time!

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On the last day the team gave the cottage a thorough clean up.

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On Friday afternoon the team planted a totara tree as a commemoration of their visit.  The totara grows to heights of 20 to 50 metres and can live for 1000 years or more. Maori consider totara “the king of the forest” and a symbol of strength and goodness, protecting other trees from storm damage.

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It was the last time the team was out in the field and right on cue it started raining heavily as we planted the tree.  But like the earlier rain showers this one cleared quickly and the sun came out with a wonderful omen – a double rainbow right by the spot where the team had planted their celebration totara tree.

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We then had a farewell afternoon tea with a birthday cake to celebrate Andrea’s birthday. Our friends and neighbours, Gill and Kevin Adshead of the Mataia Restoration project also joined us and got briefly acquainted with the team who will be spending the next week assisting with various environmental restoration activities at Mataia.

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We’d like to thank Jonathan and the team for all their hard work this week. The group quickly became a team and everyone was a contributor both to the success of the week as well as the CUE Haven project.

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We really enjoyed meeting and working with you all.  We had a lot of fun and you’ve made a lasting contribution to the CUE Haven restoration project by getting outside your comfort zones and tackling a number of new and challenging tasks. You have all made a very positive difference and we thank you very much. We wish you all the best in your future studies and endeavours and hope you will come back to CUE Haven to see how your trees have grown and to take a stroll on the boardwalk.

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