Student Volunteer Day—3 October 2013
This week and next are school holidays for many students in New Zealand and today two different groups of students interested in helping out on a community project came out for the day.
One group were second year School of Education students from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). AUT offers a wide range of undergraduate and post-graduate programmes and Education students at AUT are required to perform community service on a project of their choice. We were very happy that Julia, Kevin, Leena, Narelle, Nathan and Rebekah chose to come to CUE Haven and volunteer for the day.
The AUT group arrived shortly before nine and we spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea and briefing them about our project.
Shortly after, the community relations manager of the Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust, Vikas, joined us with students Abbas, Ansh, Simran S, Simran C, Vishal and Yash. The Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust is the largest multi-faith community group in Auckland serving the social and cultural needs of senior citizens, youth and children of South Asian origin living here in New Zealand.
Additionally our 12 year old nephew, Yazdy, joined us to help out.
It was a perfect spring day and it is now too late in the year for tree planting so we worked on the walking track in the wetlands. After a safety briefing and an overview of the tasks for the day, we hiked up to the walking track and went to work.
We initially broke into three teams, but over the course of the day people moved from one team to the others so that everyone got a chance to work on different tasks.
In the past few weeks we have had unusually heavy rain and the volume of water flowing through the CUE Haven catchment has taken its toll on some of our walking tracks. One of the tracks circles a pond and overflow from the pond after an 85mm downpour last week overwhelmed the drainage system and flooded a section of track.
We decided to plan for future storms by boardwalking the entire section of the track that had been affected. This would involve repairing the damaged drain and then building boardwalk sections over the wet parts of the track.
The second task involved extending the same walking track through the wetland to provide visitors with three access points to enjoy the wetlands and associated plantings. There have also been a lot of memorial kahikatea trees planted in the wetlands and this will give people a chance to visit their trees more easily throughout the year.
One group fixed the drain and then planked over the area. In the future, no matter how much water flows through the drain, we hope people will still be able to walk the track.
The next group worked on assembling the boardwalk sections that were then positioned along the wet sections of track. In just a few hours the team managed to build and install the frames.
Future teams will install the top boardwalk planks.
The third group worked on blazing the trail of the new track section. It was challenging work because the area was boggy soil covered by heavy grass. The grass had been sprayed to mark the planned track route, but the grass was still very thick and heavy. Nevertheless the team made great progress and cleared over half the distance of the first part of the new track.
In addition to dealing with the mud and vegetation, the team also encountered several worms and skinks.
After finishing up, the team took some time to clean up and then we had a relaxing lunch.
Those who didn’t have to leave after lunch took a tour of the rest of the CUE Haven property and explored the Duke of Edinburgh/Hillary track and the gully track.
We had a fantastic time working with the student volunteers today and were really impressed by their enthusiasm and hard work and how well they worked together and the amount they managed to accomplish in just a few hours.
Many thanks Kevin for coordinating the visit of the AUT volunteers and Vikas for handling the logistics for getting the Bhartiya Samaj youth volunteers organised.
And our heartfelt thanks to all who came out today and made a fantastic contribution. Your efforts today with the walking tracks will be enjoyed by the many generations of visitors who come to CUE Haven to enjoy the native bush and bird life. Thanks you!! We wish you all the very best of luck with your studies and we hope to see you back at CUE Haven again soon.