In 2010, the family of Duncan Selkirk Welch established “Duncan’s Grove” at CUE Haven by planting 27 memorial kahikateas for little Duncan.
Since then, Duncan’s grandparents, Jack and Adrienne Welch have annually planted memorial trees at CUE Haven on Duncan’s birthday.
Sadly, Jack passed away a few months ago and on Friday, 27th March, a group of Jack’s family and friends established “Jack’s Grove” by planting 25 kahikatea trees in the wetland area adjacent to Duncan’s Grove.
The kahikatea trees are among the oldest trees on this planet having being around in the Miocene era (20 million years ago). They are endemic to New Zealand and are NZ’s tallest tree, growing to 60 – 80 metres in height and living for several hundreds of years–and some live well over 1,000 years.
Kahikatea prefer swampy lowlands where the trees can grow to their maximum height as their roots spread out and entwine with the adjacent kahikatea trees.
The Maori call the kahikatea a whanau or family tree because, like a family, when growing close together in the wetlands their roots entwine and they support each other. This enables the trees to grow much taller than if they were on their own.
As Duncan’s Grove and Jack’s Grove are adjacent to each other, over time the kahikatea trees in both these groves will link up and grow together as a whanau.
Present for the memorial tree planting today and the establishment of Jack’s Grove were Adrienne, Broughton, Mara, Robert, Roddy, Roger, Rosalie, Sandra, Sue and Tessa.
Adrienne holding on to the kahikatea tree planted in 2010 in “Duncan’s Grove”. On her left is one of the kahikatea trees planted in Jack’s Grove.
ANZ New Zealand is one of New Zealand’s largest companies and one of its largest banks. They have a strong commitment to corporate responsibility and community service and through their volunteering programme they encourage staff to volunteer their skills and time to community projects. Today a group of eight professionals from the Institutional and Commercial Operations department came to CUE Haven to help out with some site preparation for planting and track maintenance work.
The group included Anya, Dani, Gareth, Jasmine, Jean, Lauren, Sam and Sarah.
We got acquainted over morning tea and we gave the group an overview of the CUE Haven project and a description of the work plan for the day and a safety briefing.
The plan for the day was to do some walking track maintenance and to prepare an area in the wetlands for planting. Now that we have built the wetlands boardwalk, we can access wetland areas that were previously too difficult to get to because of the terrain and tall weeds. The area had previously been sprayed and the team tackled the messy and back breaking job of pulling out the thick mat of dead vegetation to expose the soil so we could dig the planting holes.
In spite of the heat and the challenge, the team coped very well and accomplished a lot.
They even found parts of the job relaxing.
Once the area was clear the team dug some holes to plant kahikatea trees.
The area will be planted with additional wetland plants this winter.
Once that job was finished, the team continued to clear vegetation that had grown over the walking track and boardwalk over the summer.
We broke for a well-deserved lunch and then took the team on a tour of the property and hiked back down on the walking track.
It was a relaxing end to a tiring day.
Our many thanks to Sam for organising this visit and handling the arrangements for the team to come out.
And a very big thank you to everyone in the hard working team. It was great meeting you all and we enjoyed spending time with you. Thanks to all your hard work today we now have a big area in the wetlands cleared and ready for planting this season. And trimming the overgrown vegetation along the walking tracks will make it easier for visitors to explore the area.
We look forward to having you back at CUE Haven for a more relaxing visit sometime soon.
Birkenhead College is a secondary school located on Auckland’s North Shore. It is a recognised centre of academic excellence and cultural focus and sports achievement.
This year, Year 11 students are studying the geography of the Kaipara coast and Araparera Valley and they had a field trip to CUE Haven and a neighbouring dairy farm to learn more about the geography of the area and about the impact of farming, development and our restoration project on the Araparera River and Kaipara Harbour.
The plan for the day was that the group would first do a walking tour of the property to see the restoration activities and also to observe the area geography. After the walk, Rachel Griffiths of Auckand Council’s WaiCare group and Dylan Clarke of Auckland Council’s Land Care group would do a presentation on water quality testing and observations of aquatic macroinvertebrates to help the students gain a perspective on how geography, vegetation and farming practices impact water quality.
Thirty-four students arrived with geography teachers Tamsin White and Carter Murphy at about ten and we started out with a welcome and a talk about the history of the CUE Haven project. We explained that the property had once been a dairy and beef farm and talked about the impact of those activities on the land and streams and ponds. We explained the history of our project and what we were trying to accomplish and the progress we have made – thanks to the efforts of all our wonderful volunteers.
We then started the walk and along the way Tom pointed out features of the property. He showed the students how each different year’s planting looked and showed them the difference between the wetlands and other areas of the property.
It was a long hot hike up to the top of the property but once they got there the students had a chance to view the geography of the Araparera Valley and some of the Kaipara Harbour catchment to get a better idea of how streams feed the harbour and the different kinds of land the streams flow through.
We then walked back, taking a different route so that the students could explore the wetlands via the wetlands boardwalk. They then took a well-deserved break and had their lunch.
They also made friends with a friendly native copper skink.
Earlier, Rachel and Dylan had gone out to the field and gathered water and specimen samples from the gully steam to use for the waicare presentation.
Rachel started off her presentation with an introduction to the Waicare programme and the issues with water quality and protection of waterways and wetlands. She explained that there are three areas of water testing—physical, chemical and biological.
The primary physical characteristics are temperature and clarity. She used a thermometer to check the temperature. This is important because most aquatic creatures cannot tolerate high temperatures.
Rachel had one of the students help her as she demonstrated the use of a clarity tube to check the clarity of the water. This is a test to help determine how much sediment there is in the water. Low clarity can have an adverse impact on creatures living in the water.
The next step was to do the chemical tests. These included tests of pH (a test of the hydrogen ion concentration in a solution which indicates acidity or alkalinity).
And tests for dissolved oxygen.
Rachel also did tests for nitrates, nitrites and phosphates. Each of these tests help to determine the quality of the water and how well it can sustain life. Chemical or organic runoff can affect the pH and the presence of nitrates and phosphates can indicate fertilizer or other chemical runoff affecting the waterway. Some of these chemicals can contribute to algal blooms which can be dangerous to both water and land animals.
The last test was biological and that involved studying water samples and identifying the creatures living in the sample. The types and variety of creatures are an indication of the water quality because while some species tolerate a wide range of conditions some are very sensitive to the environment and will only be found in healthy waterways.
Rachel set out several sample trays and gave the students a chance to see how many creatures they could find using field identification charts and also check out the water clarity using the clarity tubes.
Rachel was really pleased that the students found and identified a free living caddisfly and a flat mayfly, both of which only live in relatively clean and healthy streams.
A great end to a successful field trip!
We want to thank Auckland Council for making Rachel and Dylan available and a big thank you to them for all their hard work. Your presentation was very interesting and educational and we really appreciate your time and effort.
The students then headed back to their bus for their next stop—a neighbouring dairy farm where they would learn about farming practices that minimise the effect of dairy farming on the land and water.
Before they left the teachers and students gave us a completely unexpected and amazingly generous gift that will be used towards the purchase of plants! Thank you so very much. We hope you will come back and help us plant them!!
We want to thank teacher, Tamsin White for organising the visit. We really enjoyed meeting and working with the Birkenhead College teachers and students. We wish you all success in your future endeavours and hope you will come back again soon.
Fleet Partners is an international vehicle leasing and fleet management company. Last year a group of executives from their New Zealand corporate office in Auckland spent a day at CUE Haven assisting with some track work.
Today we had another team of executives from Fleet Partners out to assist with some improvements to the wetlands boardwalk.
The team today comprised Andrew, Carl, Daniel and Prem. Daniel had been out last year and it was good to see him again.
Some of the executives who were scheduled to come today had to unfortunately cancel at the last minute due to unforeseen work emergencies so it was a small team this morning and yet they managed to accomplish a lot of work in a few short hours.
After morning tea we had a quick orientation and safety briefing and then went to work.
When we built the boardwalk last year there were a few sections that we left open thinking that the ground was dry enough. However the winter rains proved otherwise, and we have since decided that those areas, mostly steps, should be planked over to make the boardwalk easier to use year round.
The job for today was to box up and reinforce the steps and then lay planks over the top.
Andrew and Daniel went to work on one section of steps. The first thing they needed to do was dig out the area where they would be installing the frames.
They then measured and cut the side frame and installed it.
They then did the same for the bottom step.
Once the frames were in place, they had the big challenge of figuring out how to cut the planks so that they would neatly fit around the curve. It required a lot of planning and measuring and delicate cutting.
And the results are very professional looking steps that will last a long time and make for a comfortable walk.
In the meantime, Carl and Prem tackled another set of steps on the other side of the bridge. The task was similar in that we were going to be boxing and planking over existing steps but there was an additional challenge because the area was longer and involved building a curved frame. It also required a lot of digging in hard clay.
They weren’t using their regular office equipment but the guys looked like pros!
And once the first frame was in place Prem nailed down the top boards.
They then tackled the earthworks involved in cutting out a ditch for the frames for the long curved step.
They cut the frame and installed it, securing it with wooden pegs.
By the time we’d finished up it was time for a very late lunch. Future teams will finish off the top planks of the steps.
After lunch we all went on an extended tour of the property.
We walked back through the gully walking track and everyone had a chance to see some of the changes that have been taking place at CUE Haven.
Along the way, Carl found a huhu grub and was tempted to give it a taste.
But he decided to wait for the Wild Foods Festival where the grubs would probably be fresher!
It was a fun day and the team left CUE Haven at almost 4 pm.
We want to thank Viv and Chris at Fleet Partners for helping to organise the day and arranging for the team to come out. Unfortunately they could join us today but we’re looking forward to catching up soon.
And a very big thank you to Andrew, Carl, Daniel and Prem. You were a great group to work with and we got a lot done and we had a good time with you all. Thanks to your hard work it will be much easier and drier to traverse that section of the boardwalk during winter. We really appreciate your efforts and look forward to having you all back.
This week we had a great group of Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Gold Award participants complete their residential requirement at CUE Haven. The group included Anneke, Doug, Ellis, Emily, Harry, Howard, Sarah and Sophie. Brigid, Kalym and Katrine were the team leaders.
The group arrived mid morning and we got acquainted over morning tea. Mahrukh gave an introduction and welcome and overview of the CUE Haven project and the history of the DoEHA Grove. Thomas then gave a safety briefing.
We then all went for a short tour of the property so that the group could see the work that previous DoEHA teams had done and to get an idea of the things they would be doing.
There were two main tasks planned for the week. The first was to finish off work a walking track that had been started by other volunteer groups and the other was to do some totem poles to mark the entrances to the DoEHA Grove walking tracks. Some other creative work and several smaller maintenance tasks such as pruning vegetation on the roads and tracks were also planned.
After the tour we had lunch and then went to work on the track. They group described their activities as trail blazing and terraforming as they had to find the best route for sections of the track and then had to do a lot of digging and shaping to make the track level and safe. They broke into smaller groups to work on the different tasks.
Ellis and Howard walked the track and cleared away any overhanging vegetation.
Previous teams had shaped the track and cut steps on steep sections. It was necessary to box in the steps with boards and pegs. The first task was to measure and cut the timber.
While being supervised by an experienced adult, the participants learned to use hand and drop saws to cut the timber.
Once the wood was cut, it was taken out to the track and installed.
Anneke and Katrine worked on connecting up two sections of track by building some steps and a retaining wall. It required a lot of planning and digging to make the sections join neatly but the result is excellent.
Bridget worked with Emily, Sarah and Sophie to install the steps along the new track. The project involved digging out the steps, making sure they were even and level, and lots of nailing to secure the posts in place.
The result of these efforts is a great looking track with safe and attractive steps.
The team that started building this track had built two bridges over small streams that flow across the track. However, we’ve found that several track sections around the bridges are quite wet, even during the dry summer weather and therefore needed to be boardwalked so that future visitors can enjoy the track without getting their feet wet.
Kalym worked with Doug, Ellis, Harry and Howard to build the boardwalk sections. The first task involved studying the terrain and figuring out the best route and measuring to determine how much timber would be required.
The participants learned how to use the power tools and cut the wood.
Once the wood was cut, the frameworks for the boardwalk sections were assembled.
The frames were then carried out to the track.
Installing the frames can be a challenge. Each one needs to be level and even with the previously installed section. Getting it right involves a lot of digging and checking with the spirit level.
Once the section is in place, the top planks are installed. The biggest challenge is to cut the triangular sections around the curves where two frames meet at an angle.
The end result is two very nice sections of boardwalk that will be used (and appreciated) by visitors to CUE Haven for years to come.
Here’s the boardwalk team making sure there are no nails out of place!
The final task on the track was to spread some gravel on the surface to make it safe for year round use. This involved collecting gravel from a pile near the top of the property into buckets.
The buckets were brought down to the track and the team spread and smoothed the gravel over the surface. The result is a safe year round and very good looking walking track.
In addition to the track work, the other big task that the team tackled was carving totem poles to mark the entrances to the walking tracks they have built. Previous teams have installed six totem poles at various points around the property and this team did an additional two.
The boys were still in the field finishing off the boardwalk so the girls broke into two teams and started work on the posts. The first task was to agree on a design for how to carve and decorate the pole.
One of the poles was an old fence post that still had staples in it.
The team decided to retain the post’s farming provenance, keep the staples, and decorate the post with bits of old fencing wire. And Anneke’s farm experience with fence wires came in very handy,
The other post was a full team effort. All the girls worked on carving sections and once the boys finished the boardwalk they helped out. The post is unique in that it includes a contribution from every team member and includes their name or initials.
Once the posts were carved, the challenging part was to get them out to the field and install them. The posts were loaded onto the ute and carried to the nearest convenient spot.
The posts were then carried down to the installation site and very deep holes were dug. The team took turns digging with the post hole digger.
The hole was then cleared of any loose dirt.
And the post was manoeuvred into position.
Once the post was positioned and straightened, the hole was filled with cement to anchor it.
The team also tackled another very creative task. A previous team had made a chess board and chess pieces for the DoEHA Grove. The chessboard is in place on an old water trough behind the hut (old water tank) in the Grove. This team decided to make checkers to go along with the chessmen.
First a smooth pole was sliced into sections to create the checkers. The team decided to paint them black and red.
Then Sarah used her artistic skill to painstakingly paint the DoEHA logo on each piece.
And Emily and Kalym took the opportunity to spruce up the chessmen by painting the concrete bases.
Other team members meanwhile reinforced two storage boxes which will be used for storing the checkers and chessmen. They loaded up the pieces into the boxes for delivery to the site.
Brigid and Katrine set up the checkers and faced off for the first game!
There was no official winner because everyone got involved in giving “helpful” advice.
This team accomplished an amazing amount of very challenging work in record high temperatures. But they coped very well and had a lot of fun as well as hard work.
They took some time to relax.
Enjoyed the sunsets.
They also did a great job of cleaning up.
Which wasn’t too hard because the brooms were magic!
We’d like to thank Nestle NZ for generously providing Nestle Iced Tea, Nescafe Menu sachets and water bottles for the team during the week.
And as always, a big thank you to Andy Woodhouse, National Training Director of the DoEHA programme for organising and inspiring the residentials and keeping everything moving in the right direction.
We want to thank Brigid, Kalym and Katrin for all their hard work as team leaders. Your participation helped make this such a successful residential. We wish you all the best and hope you will come back to lead future teams. And a special thanks to Kalym for leading two DoEHA teams back to back. Your enthusiasm and energy from beginning to end helped bring the teams together quickly and got the best out of everyone.
And a special thank you to each of the team members for your hard work in spite of the heat. We really enjoyed meeting you and working with you. We wish you all the best with completing your gold awards and with your future endeavours. You have all made a major contribution to the CUE Haven project and we are very grateful for your creativity and efforts. Each of you made a contribution and left your mark.
Your track and totem poles and checkers will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come. We hope you will bring your friends and families and come visit us again. And we look forward to having you out as team leaders for future a DoEHA gold residential. Thanks again!!
Lisa’s Wish Charitable Trust (LWCT) is an organisation conceived by the late Lisa Knapman-Smith, a wife and mother who passed away from cancer in 2009. Lisa’s vision was that the Trust would provide support and activities for children whose parents or caregivers have been diagnosed with cancer.
The Trust has regular day events for children and young people with an ill parent and has long hoped to hold longer events. Through our association with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards (DoEHA) programme we met the Lisa’s Wish trustees and arranged to have a weekend long camp to give the participants a chance to get away and do some new things and learn some new skills. The first camp was held this past weekend.
The group arrived on Friday afternoon and included Antonio, Karissa, Nicola and Nikita. Ian Knapman-Smith, a trustee of LWCT, was the camp coordinator
Bridget and Kalym who are Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award team leaders volunteered to work with the LWCT group for the weekend.
We welcomed the group to CUE Haven and gave them an overview of the project.
And then took them on a short tour of the property. When we got back from the tour and had identified the area where they wanted to establish the Lisa’s Wish Grove, the team took some time brainstorming about ideas for what projects they would like to do.
Saturday morning, the team got to work. They had decided that they would create a walking track through the Grove and build an archway to welcome visitors. It was a major challenge to clear the track of weeds and vegetation.
But with lots of hard work, the track slowly emerged.
The entrance to the Grove is at the level of the main road on the property but the walking track slopes down towards the wetlands, so the team decided to put in some steps to make it easier to walk down. They cut the steps into the soil.
And the next task was to frame them up with timber. First the boards are fitted into place.
And then secured with wooden pegs.
It was a challenge securing the planks and pounding in the stakes with a heavy sledge hammer.
And an even bigger challenge nailing the stakes in place, but the team did a great job.
The track turned out very nicely!
The team decided to finish it off with a layer of gravel so that it would be safe for visitors to walk on in all kinds of weather. They went up to collect the gravel in buckets.
And then spread it over the track.
The end result is a fantastic track that will enable visitors to visit and enjoy the Grove safely year round.
The team decided that they would create an arch at the entrance to the walking track to welcome visitors to the Lisa’s Wish Grove. The first task involved bringing down the posts that would form the sides of the arch.
The posts needed to be sunk deep in the ground and cemented in place. Under Kalym’s guidance, each team member took turns using the post hole borer to dig the holes.
Once the holes were deep enough, the posts were set in place and cemented.
While the cement hardened, the team made the top of the arch.
The team also wanted visitors to the Grove to have a place where they could rest and enjoy the setting so they cleared a spot in the Grove where they decided to put a bench.
While part of the team worked on the entry arch, the other team members worked on constructing the bench.
Once the bench was complete, they carried it down to the Grove and installed it.
Once the arch and bench were in place, the team decided to paint them using the Lisa’s Wish Foundation colours and design. The Lisa’s Wish logo includes handprints and the tag line is “In the Hands of Angels.”
The team went to the paint shop and got a supply of paint and the next morning went to work.
Once the basic coat was on they decorated the bench with hand prints and added their initials.
In addition to being a very nice looking bench, it is also quite comfortable!
The team also painted the entry arch with a similar design.
The team finished up late on Sunday morning. They had invited their families and friends over for lunch and to officially open the Lisa’s Wish Grove.
The team cooked a big lunch as the guests arrived.
And it was enjoyed by everyone.
After lunch Ian led everyone up to the new Lisa’s Wish Grove for an unveiling and to try out the walking track and bench.
It’s hard to believe that what looked like this on Friday evening:
Now looks like this:
An excellent contribution by the team!!
We want to thank Andy Woodhouse of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award for co-ordinating the visit and many thanks to Kalym and Bridget for serving as team leaders and for helping out with the work and making a valuable contribution to the Lisa’s Wish Grove.
Also a big thank you to Ian for organising the weekend and for all his hard work, inspiration and support.
And a very special thank you to Antonia, Karissa, Nicola and Nikita. We enjoyed meeting you all and appreciate what you have done. Not only have you created something beautiful in support of the Lisa’s Wish Trust you have made a lasting contribution to CUE Haven. Your track and bench and art will be seen and appreciated by many visitors for years to come. We wish you all the best and much happiness and success in the coming years and we hope you will come back again for future camps.
2015 started off very successfully with a great Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award gold award residential at CUE Haven. The participants included Aakash, Calum, Cindy, Dylan, Hamish, Ji Won, Maddie, Matthew, Rebecca and Thomas. Kalym was the team leader. This was the third time Kalym has been at a CUE Haven residential and his second time as team leader.
The group arrived on Monday morning. Andy Woodhouse, National Director of Training for the DoEHA programme joined us. We got acquainted over morning tea and Mahrukh gave the group a welcome and overview of the CUE Haven project.
Tom and Andy then gave the group an overview of the work planned for the week and a safety briefing.
We then went for a short tour of the property so that the group could see the DoEHA Grove and get a better idea of where they would be working.
The primary task for the week was to build a new walking track which would connect the old walking track with the main race and give visitors access to an entirely new area of the property. After lunch the team went right to work.
The first challenge was to find the best route and layout for the track and then to clear away the vegetation. The idea was to create an interesting walk for visitors while minimising steep slopes.
Once the new track was formed, in areas where the slope was too steep it was necessary to install steps. The process involves measuring and planning the number and distance for the steps, cutting them out and then boxing them up with timber.
The team found a big tomo along the track route and built a small bridge over it to keep future visitors safe.
This new track joins up with the old track at the stream and as a result it was necessary to build a small bridge to link the two tracks. The team dug holes for the support posts and concreted them into the ground. They measured the bridge dimensions, cut the framing timber and installed it.
Once the structure was in place, the top boards were nailed into place and a wire mesh was nailed over the timber so that it won’t be slippery when wet.
The final step to finish off the track was to put down a layer of gravel to make the surface safe year round. It’s not an easy job. The metal was brought up in the ute and unloaded into buckets.
The buckets were then carried down and the gravel tipped out and spread on the track.
In just three days of hard work in hot weather the team managed to create a wonderful new track—155 metres from end to end with 28 steps, two bridges and a safety rail. A fantastic effort!!!
This is how the area looked before the team got started:
And this is how it looks now:
The other project for the week was to work on carving some totem poles to mark the entrances to tracks built by DoEHA participants. The team decided to do three poles and broke into smaller teams and each team came up with their own unique design for the pole and went to work carving.
Once the posts were all carved, the next very challenging job was to take them out into the field and install them.
Installing the posts involved digging deep holes and concreting the posts in place.
It took teamwork to make sure that the posts were straight and oriented in the right direction.
Once the posts were all installed, each one was painted to seal it and to make the carving more visible.
Some team members came back painted as well!
Here are the completed posts with their carving teams.
Calum didn’t think their post was tall enough so he added a bit of height!
In addition to the track and the posts the group also did a lot of maintenance work around the property, trimming overhanging vegetation and weeding.
The team took some well deserved time off to relax…..
…and when not playing “Mafia” and “Articulate”, Matthew entertained the team with his guitar playing for an enjoyable sing-a-long.
We very much enjoyed working with this group. They quickly came together as a close team and got a lot of work done and had a good time together.
We’d like want to thank Nestle NZ. During the week, the team enjoyed Nestle Iced Tea and Nescafe Menu coffees generously provided by Nestle who also provided each team member with a water bottle for use in the field.
We also want to thank Andy Woodhouse for his efforts in organising the residential and for giving up some of his time to be on site with the team. Andy’s ideas and help and support are invaluable.
Our many thanks to Kalym for taking time out of his holiday to lead the team. His leadership and hard work helped make the week very successful. Thanks Kalym!! We look forward to having you lead another team next week.
And most of all a big thank you to the team for their hard work in spite of the heat. It was great meeting you all and we wish you all the best with completing your gold awards and with your future endeavours. You have all made a lasting contribution to the CUE Haven project and very much appreciate your efforts. Your track and totem poles will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come. We hope you will bring your friends and families and come visit us again. And we look forward to having you out as team leaders for future a DoEHA gold residential. Thanks again!!