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Air New Zealand Greenteam—25 July 2015

July 26, 2015

Air New Zealand has a strong commitment to offsetting the impact of air travel on the environment and accordingly, Air New Zealand employees are involved in several green initiatives.  The Air New Zealand Greenteam includes almost 3,000 employees who are committed to environmental action and education both at work and home.

Among other things, the Greenteam members and their families and friends participate in educational activities such as taking field trips to observe native birds, insects and plants at close range, doing beach clean ups and tree plantings.

Today we were very fortunate to have ten Greenteam members plus twelve of their family members come out for our last planting day of the season.  Joining us were Andrea, Angela, Bill, Brett, Castor, Carys, Denise, Eileen, Fiona, Jan, Jing, Joan, Karl, Klass, Mike, Neena, Nelle, Rory, Samuel, Shelley, Steph and Trevor.  They were helped out by Zoe, who is a regular volunteer at CUE Haven and Roger, who drove several members of the Air NZ Greenteam out today.

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The team arrived and we got acquainted over morning tea and we gave a brief overview of the CUE Haven project and a safety briefing.

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The task for the day was to fill in any spots that had been missed during previous plantings and also plant out an area still covered by thick dead grass.  It was challenging planting but the weather was great and the team quickly got to work.

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The neighbour’s cows kept a close eye on what we were doing!

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And in just a few hours of work the team planted 492 trees—the last of the trees to be planted for the 2015 season. Yeah!!!  It was an amazing effort by the group and we really appreciate it!

Before leaving the field the team gathered up all the pots and trays for recycling.

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Then headed back to the cottage for a relaxing lunch.

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After lunch we took the team for a long walk to explore the property and to check out the contributions of the numerous volunteers who have helped make CUE Haven so special.

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A wonderful end to a very productive and enjoyable day.

Our many thanks to Shelley for organising the Air NZ Greenteam visit today.  We really appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to work with you.

A big thank you to Rodger who took off his bus driver’s uniform and helped out with the planting today!

Many thanks also to our very enthusiastic and committed young volunteer Zoe, who regularly helps out at CUE Haven.

And extra special thanks to all the Greenteam members and their families who gave up a Saturday to come and help out.  We really enjoyed meeting you all and working with you and truly appreciate your contribution. Thanks for a wonderful end to our 2015 planting season!

We look forward to having you all back at CUE Haven for a leisurely visit.

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THANKS AGAIN!!

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Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Residential—13-17 July 2015

July 18, 2015

This week saw the fourteenth Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards (DoEHA) gold award residential at CUE Haven.  It was a fun, inspiring and productive week.  The team arrived on Monday morning and included Aida, Cam, Emma, Issac, James, Joanna, Jono, Jordyn, Tobias and Zak.

Jonathan was the team leader and it was great to have him back. Jono had done his gold award residential at CUE Have two years ago and was also the team leader for the April 2014 residential.

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We got acquainted over morning tea and gave the group an overview of the CUE Haven project, the history of the DoEHA Grove and a description of the work planned for the week. It was great to learn that Tobias had been part of the very first tree planting at CUE Haven in 2008 when he came out for the Trees For Survival planting with the St Kentigern School.

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We then went on a short tour of the property and showed the group the DoEHA Grove and the areas where they would be working.

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The group worked on a variety of projects over the course of the week and brought a lot of creativity and ingenuity to the work.  Because July is in the middle of our winter planting season they did a lot of tree planting. Additionally, they landscaped the entry to the Grove around the mosaic, finished an incomplete section of the wetlands boardwalk and built a bench and a picnic table.  All of this in less than five days!!!

Planting

The team planted pioneer trees like manuka, kanuka, karamu in several areas around the property. And they also did infill planting of canopy trees like rimu, totara, nikau in and around the DoEHA Grove.

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It was a lot of hard work but over the course of the week the team managed to plant over 1,200 trees!  Great work!

Mosaic Landscaping

One of the earliest projects undertaken during a gold award residential was a large mosaic of the DoEHA logo at the entrance to the Grove.  Several teams have worked to improve and finish off the mosaic and during the last residential in April it was largely completed.  The remaining task was to clear up the area around the mosaic and do some nice landscaping with native shrubs.

At the site, it was first necessary to clear up a lot of weeds and vegetation.

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The walking track leading down to the mosaic also needed some work.  It is steep and uneven in some areas and part of the team cleared and levelled it off.

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They also identified the area as an ideal spot for a team bench and boxed in a platform area for the bench.

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Meanwhile other team members laid out the landscaping plants and went to work planting.

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The last task was to bring up gravel—one bucketful at a time—to finish off the track.

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Boardwalk

There was still a short section of entrance to the wetlands boardwalk that wasn’t complete and part of the team went to work to finish it off.  It was challenging work because they had to join up two completed sections of boardwalk and it required a lot of measuring, digging and cutting.

First they had to dig out channels for the footer boards and measure and cut the boards.

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It was then necessary to level the frames and secure them with pegs.

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The next step is to nail down the top planks to create the boardwalk.

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The team had to build some steps and some of the boardwalk sections were curved.  This meant that the top planks had to be cut to shape.  We trained and supervised the team members so they could use power tools to help with the cutting.

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The final boardwalk step was to nail down wire mesh to prevent the surface from being slippery when wet or muddy.

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The team’s efforts are a great improvement in the boardwalk that will be enjoyed by visitors for a long time.

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Bench

While part of the team worked on the boardwalk, others tackled the project to build a bench to place on the walking track in the Grove.  They took time to design how they wanted the bench to look and went to work cutting out timber and assembling the bench.

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Slowly the bench took shape.

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The team decided that the back rest of the bench should look like the crown of the DoEHA logo and so they cut out designs in the wood.

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Once the bench was finished, it was time to take it up to the Grove and install it.

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It was a long way from the road to the site and in addition to the bench the team had to bring down the equipment, cement and water that would be used for the installation.

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The first step of the installation was to position the bench and figure out where to dig the holes for the legs.

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The holes were marked and dug out.

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The bench was then put in place and levelled and secured with cement.

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The concrete was allowed to set overnight and the next morning the entire team went up to fix up the gravel around the bench.

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And then it came time to test it out!

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The bench is a great addition to the Grove and will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.

Table

When CUE Haven was a farm, old bathtubs were used as water troughs for the stock.  There are still a few tubs around the property and while exploring, the team spotted four of them and brought them down to the nursery/workshop.  They decided that two of them bolted together would make interesting picnic tables.

The first task was to clean them up and reinforce them.

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They then gave them a good sanding to remove the rust before putting on a couple of coats of enamel paint.

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The table top was built out of long boards.

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Bolting the two tubs together bottom to bottom was a real challenge – especially for the person bolting from below.

 

The result is a quirky work of art and a very comfortable table that the team quickly adopted for socialising!

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We only had enough timber for one table top, so the other table top and the benches will be built by the next DoEHA team in October and they will also install them in the Grove.

It was a fun and successful week and the team had no problem coping with the digital detox by just relaxing and playing non-digital games.

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The team also participated in a Milo taste test – comparing the old and new Milo drinks.

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And we belatedly celebrated Zak and Jono’s birthdays.

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On the last day, the team cleaned up the cottage and nursery.

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And ended the week by planting a celebratory miro tree in the Grove to commemorate new friendships.

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We want to thank Nestle NZ for their support and for generously providing water bottles and delicious coffee, hot chocolate and Milo for the team.

Our thanks to Andy Woodhouse, National Training Director DoEHA programme, for organising the residential and for his continuing assistance and support.

A special Thank You to Jonathan for serving once again as team leader.  It was great having you back and we hope to see you again soon.

And many many thanks to every one of the hard working team members.  We really enjoyed meeting and working with you.  You quickly moved from a group to a team and we are very impressed with your creativity and energy.

You have all made a very valuable and lasting contribution to the CUE Haven project. The trees you planted will provide food and shelter to birds and other wildlife, and all the work that you did on the boardwalk, bench and picnic table will be appreciated and enjoyed by visitors over the years to come.

We hope you will come back as team leaders for future DoEHA residentials. Best of luck in completing your gold awards and in all your future endeavours.

Thanks again!

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International Student Volunteers—July 2-10, 2015

July 11, 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 is the second time this year a group of ISV students visited CUE Haven.

The team included Andrea, Claire, Halle, Jordan, Justin, and Sophie.  Evan Cameron of ISV NZ was the local team leader.

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The team had arrived in NZ the previous week and had been working at Mataia, our neighbour’s down the road.  They arrived at CUE Haven on Friday morning and we gave them an overview of the CUE Haven project and a description of the planned activities for the week.

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We also took them on a tour of the property and encouraged them to explore in their free time.

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The team spent Friday afternoon relaxing at the nearby hot pools and on Saturday visited a regional park and local beaches.  Sunday they spent at a family and friends planting day at Mataia.

The team started work at CUE Haven on Monday morning.  Because we are in the middle of our winter planting season, the main task for the week was planting and the team made a huge contribution to our planting efforts.

We gave the students an explanation of the types of trees we are planting and why some plants do better in different areas so that they could see how their work contributed to the restoration effort.

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Over the course of the week the team planted in a variety of terrains.  From open paddocks and boggy wetland areas:

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To revegetating bush to do infill planting of canopy trees:

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But the team smilingly handled all of these challenges well and made great progress.

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In addition to planting, the group helped out with maintaining the tracks and fences by cutting away overhanging vegetation.  It gave the students a chance to see more of the property and to explore some of the more mature bush.

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The last task the team helped us with was some boardwalk remediation.  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 and we’ve decided that the best solution is to plank over those areas and to incorporate them into the boardwalk.

It was challenging work because each section was different and customised solutions had to be developed for each area.

The first challenge involved a lot of digging in the compacted clay to install the support beams for the planks.

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Once the framing was in place and level, the next task was to nail down the top planks.  Because each box frame follows the contours of the land and the turns in the boardwalk, not all of the sections are square and the challenge is to cut the boards to neatly cover the area.

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The last step is to nail down wire mesh over the boards to prevent them from being slippery in wet weather.

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Although the clay was slippery to walk on and difficult to dig in the artists in the group found it was perfect for doing art work!

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The team accomplished a lot of work in often difficult conditions—it was a cold and wet week!  But it wasn’t all hard work.  The team enjoyed some good cooking:

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Took some well earned rests:

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And enjoyed Justin’s ukulele playing:

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Before the team left on Friday morning we celebrated an early birthday for Halle with a New Zealand Pavlova as a birthday cake.

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A sweet ending to a wonderful week.

We’d like to thank Evan for his great work as a team leader this week and bringing the group together as a team.

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And a big thank you to all the team members for their hard work and efforts!  We enjoyed meeting and working with you all and really appreciate the major contribution you have made to the CUE Haven restoration project.  We asked you to get out of your comfort zones and face some new and different challenges and you came through it smiling.  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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THANK YOU!

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Nestle New Zealand–8 July 2015

July 9, 2015

Two weeks ago, several staff from the Retail division of the Auckland office of Nestle New Zealand had a very successful planting day at CUE Haven.  Today, eleven of their colleagues from the Professional Division who couldn’t come previously were on site for a sunny but cool day of planting.

The team arrived before nine and included AJ, Andrew H, Andrew M, Ann-Marie, Debbie, Karllie, Nick, Paul Sm, Paul St, Scott and Silvija.

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We spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea and then gave the group an overview of the CUE Haven project, a description of the plan for the day and a safety briefing.

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We then took the short walk out to the planting area.

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Today we continued planting in the area that the other Nestle team had worked on and the team was joined by six American students with International Student Volunteers and their Kiwi team leader Evan.  Both teams met up and went to work.  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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The team went straight to work, carrying trays of plants up the hill to the planting areas.

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As the team worked the cows on the neighbouring farm kept a close watch.

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Before lunch they gathered up all the trays and pots and then went down for a relaxing lunch and to spend some time together.

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It was a perfect day for planting and in just under three hours the combined teams planted 1,072 trees!  An amazing effort

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After lunch we took the Nestle team on a tour of the property and for a short walk down the gully walking track.

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Once again, we had a fantastic time with the Nestle team.  It was great meeting all of you and we were impressed with your professionalism, collegiality and hard work.  We want to thank Kate and Debbie for all their help with organising the visit today and our many thanks to every one of you for all your hard work and effort today.

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You have made a big contribution to your carbon-neutral initiative with all of the native trees you planted today.  Not only will they be absorbing carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, they will also create a fantastic environment for birds, skinks and wetas.  Thank you very much. We look forward to having you all back again for a more relaxing visit.

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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.

THANKS AGAIN!

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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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