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Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Grove—15-19 July 2013

July 21, 2013

CUE Haven looks a little bit different after another great group of gold award participants spent the week to continue to develop the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (DoEHA) Grove.  The Grove is approximately one hectare near the top of the property, where the gold award participants can complete their residential service requirement by working on a community project.   The long term vision for the grove is to plant it out with native trees, establish walking tracks so that visitors can explore the Grove, and to enhance the Grove with artwork conceived and created by the participants.

During the summer and fall, three groups of gold award participants worked on putting in a walking track to provide access to the Grove.  This week’s group improved the track by putting in a culvert to improve drainage, building a boardwalk across as wet spot on the track and starting the first of the artwork projects.

The team arrived on Monday morning and consisted of Daniel, Jono, Louise, Nick, Rachel and team leaders Andre and Ricky.  Christine Nieuwoudt, an Auckland artist, was with the team through the week to work with the team on the artwork. Elizabeth Honey, an architect and DoEHA alumni, joined the team for a day to start a mosaic project in the grove.  Andy Woodhouse, DoEHA Co-Director of Training and Development also joined the team for part of the week.

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One of the requirements of the DoEHA Residential programme is that none of the participants know each other, so we spent some time on Monday morning getting acquainted over morning tea.  Mahrukh also gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and Andy outlined the objectives for the week.

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In order to get the participants thinking about art in a nature setting so that they could develop ideas for the Grove, the first thing the team did was head down the road to the local Kaipara Coast Plant Centre which includes a sculpture park.

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Some of the artwork was interactive and the team took the opportunity to do some team building by working on a building block puzzle.

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The next morning Elizabeth joined the team and she worked with part of the group preparing the ground for a mosaic of the DoEHA logo which will mark the start of the walking track and serve as a welcome to the Grove.

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Now that the foundation has been laid, Elizabeth will determine the materials needed to complete the mosaic and will return to work with future residential groups.  Thanks Elizabeth!

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When we did the initial walking track work this summer, New Zealand was in the middle of a major drought.  As a result, the ground was very dry and we had to make assumptions about how to manage water on the track and what sorts of drainage systems to build.  For the most part, the track has held up very well during the wet winter season but there were a couple of spots where more water than expected overloaded the drainage pipes we had installed.  So the team went to work building a sump and culvert system to better manage the water flow in a wet part of the track.

It was a bit of a hike down to the work site:

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The first task was to determine how and where the water was flowing and to develop a drainage solution.

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And the team started by building an impromptu dam to control the water flow.

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The next job was to dig out the sump and culvert—a messy and muddy job.

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The team then built the culvert box out of timber.

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Our 12 year old nephew, Yazdy, was on school holidays and came out to help for the day.

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It was a challenge cutting the wood in the field, but the team managed:

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 Once the box was complete, it was installed and connected with the drainage pipe.

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And the system immediately went to work draining off the excess water!

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The team then built a small retaining wall to maintain the level of the track and to secure the drainage pipes.

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The culvert works perfectly, but the team was concerned that the area might always be a wet spot and they decided that it would be a good idea to build a boardwalk so people wouldn’t get their feet wet.  They planned out the boardwalk on Tuesday afternoon and got started first thing Wednesday.  The first task was to figure out where to place the footers and to dig the holes and install the posts.

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 Yazdy joined the team again on Wednesday and brought along his 10 year old brother, Xerxes.

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Once the post holes were dug, the next job was to install the footer posts.  We used old fence posts and the team concreted them in place.

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While the cement dried we got the timber and the team helped unload it and stack it in the nursery.

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We let the cement dry in the post holes overnight and the next morning the team determined the height of the boardwalk and Tom cut off the excess post lengths.  We then measured and cut the wood for the framework and nailed it into place.

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Once the framework was in place and solid, we could put down the top planks.  This was a real challenge because the boardwalk is curved and we had to calculate and cut planks of various shapes and sizes.

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The last step was to nail down a wire mesh to provide a non-slip surface for people using the boardwalk on wet days.

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The boardwalk is an amazing achievement and it is an interesting and dramatic addition to the walking track and the Grove.

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The team had also come up with some ideas about artwork for the track and decided to incorporate the boardwalk into the work.  While waiting for the cement to dry for the boardwalk footers, they worked to design and built a koru archway for the bridge.  There was lots of work to do and the team set up in the nursery to build the prototype under Christine’s guidance.  The koru would be constructed out of wire reinforced with cement.

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The team worked late on Wednesday and the next morning had a workable prototype for the arch.

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The next challenge was to recreate the work in the field so the team went back to the Grove to dig post holes for the arches.  They were set in concrete like the boardwalk footers.

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They then formed the arches out of wire and reinforced them with expanding foam and concrete.

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We only had time to finish off one side of the arch, and the other side will be done by a future DoEHA team.

The addition of the koru arch is a great idea and it is the first of many sculptures and art works that will be created by award participants for the Grove.

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Throughout the week, the team also took time to plant some trees throughout the DoEHA Grove.

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The team accomplished an amazing amount of work and made a permanent positive change to the CUE Haven project.  It was a great group to work with and we really enjoyed the week.  It wasn’t all hard work, however.  The team took a few breaks in the field:

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In the evenings they relaxed playing cards and chatting away till late in the night.

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Christine and Louise baked cookies and cakes and the team had a barbecue and shared new and exotic dishes with each other, such as Nutella and bacon sandwiches!

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We also celebrated two birthdays!!

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It was wonderful to see a group of individuals who did not know one another on Monday become good friends and work effectively as a team.

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We’d like to thank Nestle New Zealand for providing delicious Nescafe Café Menu coffees, Nestle hot chocolate, Peach and Lemon Nestea plus drink bottles so the team could have drinks in the field.  Also  Milo and Uncle Toby cereals as well as Maggi Noodles – they were very much appreciated!  Thanks Nestle!!

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We want to thank Daniel Scott and Andy Woodhouse for organising this wonderfully successful residential week and helping out.  And a big thank you to Elizabeth and Christine for their creativity and inspiration.

Yazdy and Xerxes, thank you very much for your help this week and we hope this has inspired you both to do the DoEH Awards when you are older.

And most of all our many, many thanks the hard working team for being so enthusiastic, creative and fun. Andre and Ricky, thanks for taking on the team leadership roles and providing help and guidance to the team.  You have all made a major contribution and should be very proud of your achievements.

We wish you all the very best in the future and hope you will come back to CUE Haven to serve as team leaders on future DoEHA residential, or just to see how the Grove is developing.

THANKS AGAIN!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Daniel permalink
    July 22, 2013 11:11 pm

    Great experience. Great people. An all round great time. Would recommend it to anyone looking to complete their DoE Residential! 😀

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