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Conservation Volunteers—February 13-17, 2012

February 18, 2012

The gully walking track reached another major milestone this week thanks to the hard work of a dedicated team from Conservation Volunteers.   In spite of missing a day because of heavy rain, the team managed to finish the massive set of steps which passes through a tunnel of manuka trees at the end of the track.  The team consisted of Mai, Nanaho, Akiho and Natsuki from Japan, Wansoon from Korea, Jessica from Germany, Amandine from France, Gerwin from Belgium and Kayleigh from Wales, who was joining us for her second visit.  The team was led by John Busson of Conservation Volunteers NZ.

The team arrived on Monday morning and after introductions and an orientation to the CUE Haven project, they went to work.  The first task was to finish off the last stretch of track before the steps.

The next morning, Moloy, a volunteer from Auckland joined us for the day.  Moloy had been out to CUE Haven two weeks ago and had helped build the bridge along the tracks that time and volunteered to come again this week to work on the steps.

The team started the day by spreading metal on the tracks. Gerwin and Kayleigh shovelled the metal into buckets and the rest of the group carried it out to where it was dumped and smoothed out.

The team then tackled the steps.  There were several challenges.  Over a distance of about 50 metres through the tunnel of manuka trees, the ground rises about fifteen metres, so the grade was quite steep.  Not only that, the soil was heavy clay which was difficult to work.  We started from the top and worked down.

Before any cuts were made it was necessary to calculate the number and size of the steps.

The team worked together to help cut out the steps.

And very soon the shape of the steps began to emerge.

Once the steps were all cut out, the team spent time shaping and evening them out.

On Wednesday, Terry, a local volunteer joined the team for the day.

The group went to work on framing up and boxing the steps.

Also on Wednesday, we had a visit from Rachel Griffiths of the Auckland Council WaiCare programme.  In Maori, wai means “water” and Rachel oversees a programme to help landowners assess water quality and to implement steps to improve the quality of streams and ponds.  CUE Haven has several ponds and streams and Rachel came out to do an initial assessment.  She also spent some time with the CVNZ team talking about water quality and conservation issues.


In spite of all their hard work, the team did find some time to relax.  One evening they made sushi:

And managed to finish off a jigsaw puzzle in no time!

On the last day, the team celebrated Amandine’s upcoming birthday with a New Zealand pavlova.

The walking track is an amazing accomplishment which will be enjoyed by CUE Haven visitors for many years to come.

We want to again thank the team for all their hard work in making the track a reality.  We look forward to having you come back to enjoy a leisurely hike some day.

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