Paige Keene and Yan Heere are two talented young graphic artists who have recently graduated from Unitec’s School of Graphic Design and whose inspirational and native bird signs have been on display at CUE Haven since 2014.
This year with the help of a grant from Auckland Council’s Rodney Environmental Education Fund and generous sponsorship from Capitol Sign Services Ltd. in Avondale, we have acquired and installed eight new signs designed by Paige and Yan.
As a follow up to her excellent native bird signs, we asked Yan to come up with some interesting and informative signs for six of the native tree species at CUE Haven. Paige’s signs feature inspirational and educational messages and she designed two new signs.
Capitol Signs went out of their way to help. In addition to producing the signs, they also helped us attach the signs to their mounting posts which made the installation process a lot easier.
We spent a bit of time to determine the best place for each sign. We wanted to make sure that the signs would be seen by as many visitors as possible and also enhance visitors’ experience and give them useful information as well as an opportunity to think and reflect.
During October, students who were doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award gold residential at CUE Haven installed six of the signs and last week students from the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School installed the remaining two tree signs.
Yan’s tree signs were installed in the field near specimen trees.
The Manuka sign was placed in a grove of Manuka trees near the boardwalk at the edge of the wetlands.
The Kahikatea sign is located in the wetlands in the middle of a stand of juvenile kahikatea trees that have been planted as memorial trees.
Deep in the mature bush on the property on the gully track there is a lot of regenerating vegetation, including different variety of ferns. The Ponga sign is installed by a grove of ponga and other big tree ferns.
The totara sign is located near the top of the property adjacent to a mature totara tree and across from an area we are beginning to develop with some artwork.
We’ve planted a lot of cabbage trees and flaxes from the front gate up to the house and toward the wetlands, so we put the signs for Ti Kouka, Wharakiki and Harakiki in a landscaped area where we hope to put some benches for visitors to relax.
Yan’s bird and tree signs impart a lot of interesting scientific information as well as folklore and greatly add to the experience of native New Zealand trees and birds at CUE Haven. We have already had student groups out to CUE Haven these past few weeks who have learnt interesting information about native trees from the signs while on their nature walk.
Paige’s signs, rather than impart technical information, invite the visitor to stop and reflect on nature and to enjoy their time in the bush. One unique feature of all of the Paige’s signs is the inclusion of the “CUE Birdie,” a green bird who appears in each sign and the eye, wing and tail spell C-U-E. We found a special place for each of the signs.
In one of the signs, the birdie tells the reader to “Simply notice beauty and your life will be simply beautiful.” And “Tug at a single thing in nature and you will find it connected to everything else.”
We installed that sign in an area where we often have school groups meet for an outdoor classroom as it is close to the stream and a number of other interesting features on the property. Across the track from the sign are two mature puriri trees that were badly damaged by possum browsing before we started the restoration project. As a result of the pest control, the trees have thrived and become home to both a natural beehive and several kereru (native wood pigeon). The kereru have excreted karaka seeds while nesting on the puriri trees and there are now several karaka seedlings growing beneath the puriri trees. The location of this sign is a great place to show that everything in nature is connected. By saving the trees we have brought back birds who in turn have dispersed seeds to create more trees.
Paige’s other sign has been installed at a point on the stream where two walking tracks join. There you can see the interface between the wetland plants and the other forest species, hear the stream flowing over a small waterfall and also hear bird life.
On this sign, the CUE birdie is saying “Drink in the pure nectar of this moment” and a big bee encourages the reader to “Be Still” and asks, “What can you hear? What can you see? What can you smell? What can you feel?
It is a great place for visitors to slow down, take a break and get the most out of their time in nature.
We hope Paige’s signs will inspire visitors to appreciate the interconnectedness of things and encourage them to look at and experience nature in a new way.
We‘d like to thank all the students who assisted with installing the signs.
And we’d like to thank Auckland Council for the providing us the REEF grant which assisted with the costs of the signs.
Also a BIG thank you to the wonderful people at Capitol Signs. Not only have they made a significant contribution to the project by underwriting a lot of the sign costs, they were also a huge help assembling the signs and making it easy for us to install them. Plus they’re all a fantastic bunch of people to know and work with!!
And finally, our many thanks to artists Yan and Paige for their wonderful creative designs. A lot of work goes in to designing the signs and getting the information positioned and edited and they were always willing to help get everything just right. Thanks again! Your designs are a great addition to CUE Haven and will enhance visitor experience for years to come. We wish you both much success in your developing careers and we look forward to having more of your work at CUE Haven.
Click to contact Yan Heere
Click to contact Paige Keene
Rudolf Steiner schools operate around the world and the Steiner philosophy seeks to address spirit, soul and body. In addition to the full range of traditional academic topics, schools which follow the Rudolf Steiner approach follow a curriculum with an equal focus on art, science, nature and morality.
Earlier this year, we were contacted by the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School in Auckland about the possibility of having an experiential learning camp at CUE Haven. In August teacher Jo Erskine brought out the year 10 class for a visit. We told the students about the CUE Haven restoration project, took them on a tour and showed them an area where they could display their art work.
On Monday, 16th November the students returned to spend a week at CUE Haven to install their artwork and also assist us with some other projects.
The group arrived mid-morning and included Jo and students Dylan, Eamon, Jasmine, Laurenz, Naomi, Rafael and Xiyue. On Wednesday, school manager, Mark Thornton, arrived and took over for Jo who had commitments in the city.
We got reacquainted over morning tea and went to work. For the art project, the students had decided on an open arch to be carved out of kowhai wood. Rhys Thompson, a friend of the school had secured the wood and prepared it and kindly loaned the students his carving tools.
The first task was to bring the arch sections into the nursery where the carving work could be finished.
Jo then gave a carving demonstration to the students and the group proceed to carve some kowhai flowers on the sections.
Once the carving was finished, the arch could be installed. The group went up to the top of the property where the area had been prepared. They tidied up the area and dug holes for the arch sections.
We used a post hole digger to help dig the holes.
We took the art work up and test fitted the sections. The students experimented with different positions and made a decision on how to install them.
On Thursday evening, Rhys and teacher Malcom Groves joined the group and the arch sections were cemented in place.
The final step was to apply a finishing wax seal to protect the wood and enhance the grain.
The art work is a wonderful addition to CUE Haven and provides a lovely welcome to the space.
During the week the students also assisted with the construction of a new walking track. The track had previously been marked out and sprayed and the work this week involved clearing away the dead grass and benching and smoothing the track surface.
We encountered a steep section that required building steps and boxing them in and the students had a chance to practice their woodworking skills.
The final task the students helped with was installing some informational tree signs. The work involved digging holes for the sign posts and concreting the posts in place.
The students also took time out to enjoy the nearby Parakai Hot Pools and Snow Planet. Additionally one afternoon the students went to a local farm to learn how to work with horses.
We want to thank Nestle NZ for providing Milo, Nestle Hot chocolate and Nescafe Menu sachets which were much enjoyed by the students. We also want to thank Rhys for supplying and preparing the beautiful kowhai timber that the students used for the arch.
Thank you to Jo for organising the visit and being on site to lead the group. Thanks, too, to Mark for coming out to help.
And thanks also to the students for their efforts with installing the artwork and signs and with the construction of the walking track. The artwork, signs and the walking track will be enjoyed by visitors to CUE Haven for many years to come. We wish you much success with your studies and future endeavours.
The international exchange program at Orewa College north of Auckland provides international students with an opportunity to experience New Zealand culture and natural heritage. In addition to regular course work, the international students can participate in a New Zealand Experience class where they do outdoor activities, take trips and learn more about New Zealand.
For the second year in a row, Adrienne Croad, International Students Development Manager, brought a group of students from Chile, Germany and Japan to CUE Haven to explore, learn a little about New Zealand plants and animals and to leave a permanent mark in NZ by helping us build a new walking track.
The group arrived about ten and included Adrienne and students Aika, Alexander, Christiane, Ella, Emma. Jan, Javeiera, Julia, Lea, Pedro, Ronja, Sina and Sofia. Stan Parker, a friend and supporter of Orewa College, also joined the group for the day.
We spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea and then gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and a safety briefing and short description of the work planned for the day.
This year’s summer project is to build a walking track to connect the top of the property with the existing walking track network. We had previously marked out and sprayed the route of the track and today’s task was to clear away the vegetation and level the path. We started out by taking a short walk on an existing walking track to give the students a chance to see how tracks were built, and how to develop solutions for different types of terrain.
Once we got to the start of the new track, Thomas repeated the safety briefing and gave a demo of how each of the tools (spade, rake, grubber) could be used to form the track. The team then went to work.
The first challenge was to create an easy entry to the track from the road.
The group then moved along the track with some people using rakes to clear away the dead grass and others following behind with spades to form and bench the track.
Stan was a great help, showing the students the best way to use spades to form and shape the track.
The biggest challenge was chopping through and clearing the dead kikuyu grass but the team coped well and worked away and kept smiling.
The kikuyu grass put up a good fight but the only casualty was one of the grubbers!
After a couple of hours work the group took a leisurely walk back to the cottage for a relaxing lunch.
During the walk, Thomas explained the restoration program and our pest and weed control efforts. The students also enjoyed visits by some native birds and also saw a big tree weta in one of the weta boxes in the bush.
We really enjoyed working with the students and were very impressed with what they were able to accomplish in such a short period of time. This is how the track looked when they started.
And this is the same view when they were finished.
The group did a great job and the new track is off to an excellent start—the Orewa College international students have set a high standard for other teams who will be coming over the next few months to continue work on the track.
We’d like to thank Nestle NZ for providing Nestle Hot Chocolate and Nescafe Menu sachets which the students really enjoyed.
And a big thank you to Stan for helping out. It was great getting to know you and your help and advice really helped the students and the quality of the track work. We hope you’ll come back to see us again!
Thank you very much Adrienne for making all the arrangements for today’s visit and bringing the students out—and working so hard alongside the students!
And a special thank you to the students for all their hard work today. We appreciate your efforts and hope you enjoyed the day. We enjoyed working with you—you all have made a lasting contribution to CUE Haven and New Zealand’s natural heritage. The track you built today will be used and enjoyed by visitors for many years to come as they explore the growing native forest at CUE Haven.
We hope you have a great stay in New Zealand and wish you happiness and success in your future endeavours and we hope that someday you will come back to New Zealand and visit CUE Haven too.
Today, for the sixth time in three years, teacher for sustainability David Walker brought year seven and eight students out to CUE Haven for a day of learning and exploration with the objective of making students a catalyst for positive environmental change at school, home and in the wider community.
As part of their environmental activities, the students help out with environmental projects in the community, and over the years Murrays Bay students have made a significant contribution to the CUE Haven project by planting trees and helping in the nursery.
The plan for today was for the students to help us pot up some seedlings in the nursery, take a short walk through the bush and learn about native trees and pest control strategies at CUE Haven. Additionally the students would learn about invertebrates and their role in the food chain and ensuring the health of the environment with educator Shanthie Walker, from Auckland Council’s Environment for Sustainability program.
Shanthie arrived early and set up stations in the field where the students would explore and find insects. She had also brought a number of specimens with her and also some equipment for experiments.
The group arrived at ten and we started out with morning tea. Then Mahrukh gave a welcome and a brief introduction to the CUE Haven project.
It was wonderful to see many familiar faces as a number of the students had been out in May this year to plant trees. Since they already knew a bit about CUE Haven, Mahrukh invited one of the students to assist her with the briefing for the new students.
After a safety briefing from Thomas, the students broke into two groups–one group went to the nursery with Mahrukh and the other group went with Shanthie and Thomas. The groups each did their activities and then switched so that everyone had a chance to do all of the activities.
In the nursery, we had miro, pukatea, rimu, tanekaha and totara seedlings that were still in their germinating tubes. The students transplanted them into larger pots and the small trees will stay in the nursery for a year or two before they are ready to planted out in the field and become part of the CUE Haven forest.
Mahrukh and David gave the students a planting demo and then they went to work in teams and potted up the seedlings.
The students came across a few worms in the pots and even a big slug!
When the potting up was finished, the students gave the nursery a quick clean up.
The students got a lot of work done in a short time and the trees they potted up will be an important addition to the CUE Haven landscape in a few years.
They then spent some time exploring the wetlands and learning more about native New Zealand plants and animals.
They also paid a visit to the area they planted in May 2015 to see how the trees were doing.
While one team was working in the nursery the other group went into the field with Shanthie and Thomas. Shanthie led the students through a series of exercises about how plants and animals interact with a focus on insect invertebrates.
For the first exercise, Shanthie assigned each student the role of a plant, animal or insect. Each student was also given a handful of tokens. The students then had to interact and decide whether their plant or animal ate or was eaten by the others and if they were eaten they had to give up a token.
At the end of the game, Shanthie explained what had happened. The student with the most tokens represented the animal at the top of the food chain and the student with the fewest represented the bottom. She then explained how all organisms in the chain are dependent upon each other with the creature at the top being most dependent. The exercise was a fun way for the students to get an appreciation of how interdependent plants and animals are in nature.
Shanthie continued the theme of interdependence by giving each student a card that showed how different animals and insects help to pollinate different plants. The students took a few minutes to explore the surrounding bush to find some of the plants and to see if they could find any pollinators at work.
The main exercise was to learn more about insects and to learn some scientific techniques for gathering specimens and observing and identifying them in the field.
Shanthie first gave a brief overview of insects. She had brought a variety of live insects and passed them around for the students to study.
She then explained the next phase of the activity. White trays had been set out in the area we were working and on each tray there was a spoon, brush and magnifying glass.
The students then broke into groups and spent some time collecting specimens from underneath the leaf litter in the area. The groups came up with a variety of creatures and compared their results.
Shanthie then summarised the learning points by tying together the idea of the food chain and the behaviour of the insects the students had found in the field.
Thomas then gave a short talk about the problem of introduced mammal pests—specifically that as far as many native New Zealand plants and animals are concerned, introduced pests are at the top of the food chain. He showed them a puriri tree that had been badly damaged by possum browsing but since the possums have been controlled the tree has become a home for kereru which in turn are spreading karaka seeds which provide a further food source for birds.
He then demonstrated the traps we use to control pest mammals and the group then took a walk back through the bush where they saw a number of other NZ plants and animals including a tree weta.
Once all of the activities were complete the students returned to the cottage for their relaxing lunch before heading back to town.
It was another enjoyable day of community service as well as learning in the CUE Haven outdoor classroom.
We’d like to thank Nestle NZ for their continued support and for providing Nestle Hot Chocolate which the students thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated.
And also many thanks too to Daltons for generously providing Daltons Potting Mix which we used today.
Karen of Bayes Transport has driven each group of Murrays Bay students out since their first visit —and she does more than her share of work when she is here. Thanks Karen for all your help!
And a big thank you to Shanthie Walker of the Auckland Council for developing and conducting the excellent invertebrate study activities. The students found them very interesting and enjoyable and many have now gotten over their fear of bugs too!!
Our thanks also to the Auckland Council for making it possible for Shanthie to join us today.
Many thanks to teacher David Walker for once again bringing a great group of students out for a fun day of learning and also helping out today. We always enjoy our day with Murrays Bay students and look forward to more MBI students coming over the years.
And most of all, thank you to the students! We enjoyed having you at CUE Haven and working with you. We really appreciate your hard work in the nursery and we hope you had an enjoyable day. We look forward to you all coming back and participating in more activities and seeing the growing native forest at CUE Haven.
Lisa’s Wish Trust is an organisation conceived by the late Lisa Knapman-Smith, a wife and mother who passed away from cancer in 2009 at the age of 29. Lisa’s vision was that the Trust would provide support and activities for young children whose parents or caregivers have been afflicted by cancer.
The Trust has regular day outings for young children and encourages and supports their participation in the William Pike Challenge Awards (WPCA). The vision of the WPCA is to have primary and intermediate school children embracing new challenges, enjoying the great outdoors, engaging with their community, interacting with positive role models and being ready to take on whatever life throws at them. In addition to participating in 8 outdoor activities and learning a new sport or hobby, WPCA participants also have to do 20 hours of community service during the year.
Today we were delighted to host 5 young students doing their WPCA community service – Alistair, Clay, Joachim, Tahnee and Zayd. They were accompanied by family members and supporters of the Lisa’s Wish Trust — Cort, Eloise, Ian, Joanne, Kimo, Neil, Nikita, Rosemarie, Russel, Sinda and Yolarn and today they helped us out by potting up seedlings in the nursery.
Also joining us for the day was our amiable volunteer, Adrian.
The group arrived shortly after nine and we got acquainted over morning tea. Mahrukh then gave the group a brief introduction to CUE Haven and the activities for the day. Thomas gave the group a safety briefing before we all headed to the nursery.
Today we were potting up miro, pukatea, rimu, tanekaha and pukatea seedlings and after a demo by Mahrukh the group went to work.
As the seedlings were potted up, the young volunteers stacked the pots on to crates and Rosemarie placed them in the shaded open area of the nursery.
In just a few hours the group had potted up 450 seedlings! A fantastic effort!!
The group then helped us clean up the nursery before heading back to the cottage for lunch.
After lunch we took the group on a short tour of the property.
The young students doing the WPCA were particularly interested in the chess board and chessmen and checkers pieces made by the older students who do their Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (DoEHA) gold residential at CUE Haven.
It was a wonderful end to a perfect day.
In January 2015 Lisa’s Wish Trust (LWT) organised a 3 day camp for older students at CUE Haven and they established the Lisa’s Wish Grove in the wetlands. Today four kahikatea trees were planted there as memorials for departed loved ones. This included a tree in memory of Lisa which was planted by her husband Ian and their children Nikita and Cort.
LWT will be having their annual camp for older students at CUE Haven in January 2016 and the plan is to build a boardwalk in Lisa’s Wish Grove and connect it to the main boardwalk which traverses the wetlands.
We’d like to thank Nestle NZ for their continued support of our activities at CUE Haven and for providing Nestle Hot Chocolate, Milo and Nescafe Menu drinks which are much enjoyed and were appreciated by everyone today.
Also Thank You to Daltons for generously providing Daltons Potting Mix which we used today. We really appreciate their support.
A big thank you to Rosemarie Knapman-Smith, trustee and administrator of the Lisa’s Wish Trust for organising today’s event and for all her help today.
And many many thanks to everyone who came out today and helped with potting up the seedlings. We really appreciate your efforts.
We especially want to wish the students doing the WPCA all the best with completing their awards and we hope to see you back at CUE Haven at one of the annual Lisa’s Wish Trust camps or at a DoEHA gold residential!
The seedlings potted today will be nurtured till they are ready to be planted in the field and will add to the growing native forest that is being cultivated at CUE Haven. We look forward to having you all back at CUE Haven to see the growing trees.
The Auckland Council works closely with community environmental groups and also assists area schools in environmental study programmes.
Over the years Auckland Council’s environmental educators from the Education for Sustainability (EfS) team, Trees For Survival (TFS), Wai Care and WasteWise Schools programs have conducted on-site learning for the school groups that come to CUE Haven for field trips.
Today the Council hosted a meeting for both educators and community groups in the local area so that each group could meet, exchange ideas, and find opportunities to work together. We were very happy that the Council selected CUE Haven as the venue for the workshop.
The objectives of the session were to (1) provide opportunities for schools and community groups to connect with each other, (2) share experiences of successful community collaboration and (3) facilitate sharing of resources and knowledge for mutual benefit.
The participants convened at 3:30 for afternoon tea and to get acquainted.
Eight educators from six local schools and eight representatives of six area community projects joined five representatives from various environmental departments of the Council for the meeting.
Council representatives included – Shanthie Walker and Morag Vasilaki – Education for Sustainability Advisors, Shelley Hackett – Wai Care Environmental Programmes Co-ordinator, Sue Crawshay – Trees For Survival Environmental Programmes Co-ordinator, Megan Beard – Partnerships Facilitator.
Shanthie called the session to order and gave the participants an overview of the objectives and the agenda.
Shelley then gave a presentation about a very successful community shellfish monitoring programme that involves local schools and community groups monitoring shellfish populations in the Whangateau Harbour.
Next, Liz Maire of the Forest Bridge Trust gave a presentation about the CatchIT Schools programme which is involving local rural schools in active pest control and native forest protection in the Hoteo catchment. The students learn about the problems of introduced pests in class and then conduct trapping at home. They then report back on their results and the data is used to incorporate science, math and statistical work into the classroom science curriculum.
Mahrukh Stazyk of the CUE Haven Restoration Project then talked about how the project has involved several local schools in restoration work and the environmental learning opportunities that has created for students, and how contact with nature helps with mental and physical health and creativity.
The presentations generated a lot of discussion on opportunities for collaboration and afterwards the participants had a chance to network and discuss opportunities and projects.
The group then went for a short walk around the CUE Haven project where we some of the work that students had done and described some of the learning activities that we conduct when schools come out.
It was a very productive and successful afternoon and we’d like to convey our many thanks to Shanthie for initiating and organising it, and to all the council staff present today for their involvement and support.
We also want to thank Shelly and Liz for their informative presentations. And a big thank you to the educators and community groups for participating in today’s workshop.
We especially want to thank Auckland Council for their continuing support of environmental community groups and environmental education. Linking up educators and community groups creates significant synergies in both education and environmental sustainability, and we look forward to more such workshops.
Unitec is an Auckland based institute of technology with a dual commitment to post graduate and degree level study as well as vocational education and training. This real world approach to education makes Unitec graduates highly sought by employers.
We have had a long relationship with Unitec and over the years students from various departments have done project work at CUE Haven.
Earlier this year, Dr Jocelyn Williams, Head of the Communications Studies Department contacted us about the possibility of final year Communication students doing a special class project for CUE Haven.
The Communication Studies Department at Unitec offers final year students majoring in Public Relations, Event Management, and Social Media, a Special Project course which engages them in applying the concepts and principles of project management to develop and implement a communication strategy, preferably for a community project.
We met with Dr Williams and lecturer, Prue Cruickshank, to discuss needs and expectations and agreed that the students would be given the opportunity to work on a Special Project to develop a communications strategy for supporting future restoration and fund raising efforts at CUE Haven.
In August, Prue brought her students out to CUE Haven to meet with us, tour the property and learn about the project. The class included Caitlin, Catherine, Daman, Ellaura, Maria, Natasha, Ryan and Sylvia. Ani and Nishant couldn’t join us for the day but participated in the development of the plan.
We spent some time getting acquainted and giving the students a history and overview of the CUE Haven project. We also talked about some of the challenges we are facing and our short and long term plans for the future.
The students asked lots of questions and we explored some ideas about communication and fund raising needs and strategies.
We then went for a tour of the property so that the students could see the work that had been accomplished and get a perspective of the project.
After the visit, Munawaar Naqvi from Unitec’s Media department prepared a short video clip about the student’s visit. Sylvia did the voice over for the story. You can view the video here.
We were really delighted that the students’ brief visit to CUE Haven was positive and inspiring.
Over the course of the semester, the students worked to prepare their Plan. Within a few weeks they had developed a draft Plan for our review and comment. The students worked to finalise the Plan and today invited us to Unitec and presented their Unicomm Inc. Sponsorship and Fundraising Plan for CUE Haven.
Each of the students presented a portion of the Plan which included strategies for fundraising, stakeholder relations, events, social media and online identity and networking.
The visual pechakucha presentation highlighted the key points in the Plan. We then had an excellent open discussion about many of the ideas and strategies that the students had identified.
We were extremely impressed with the Plan and also the students’ presentations. Both were very professional and it was clear that the students had listened to our needs and developed a strategy that matches our needs both in the short and longer term.
The students have given us a lot of new insights on strategies for our future development and we will definitely be developing the ideas further as we move forward.
The timing of this project is perfect because we are beginning to work on organizing the CUE Haven Community Trust and many of the strategies the students identified will help with that process.
Our many thanks to Dr. Jocelyn Williams for initiating and coordinating this project and for her continued supports of our efforts at CUE Haven. This has been another very successful collaboration with the Unitec Communication Department and as always we have been very impressed with the Unitec students and staff.
Also our thanks to Prue Cruickshank for supervising the Special Project. The students were a diverse group of many nationalities and specialities and Prue got them to work as a team to deliver a good product.
And a BIG Thank You to all the students for their hard work and efforts in producing a state of the art Plan. You have made a lasting contribution to the CUE Haven project and we look forward to implementing your valuable ideas. We would be delighted to have you assist us to further develop your ideas and implement them.
It was a pleasure meeting you all and working with you and we wish you all the best with your continuing studies and in your future endeavours. Keep in touch.