Gen-i—18 November 2013
Gen-i, an affiliate of Telecom New Zealand, is New Zealand’s leading IT and ICT solutions provider. In February of this year, a group of Gen-i people spent a day at CUE Haven and did some track building work and today another group, including six from last time, came out to continue the work.
Once again, Steve Jessop, championed the visit and made it happen. The team arrived at about nine and included Steve plus Andrew, Bryan, Carl, Christopher, Darren, Eric, Howard, Jason, John, Josh, Paul, Qasim, Quintin and Ray. It was the second visit for Bryan, Christopher, Paul, Quintin, Ray and Steve.
On their last visit, the team built a good part of the track around one of the ponds in the wetlands and put in the foundation posts for a bridge on the track. Subsequent teams of volunteers completed the bridge and that section of track. Our summer project for this year is to connect that track with other main tracks and roads on the property by building a boardwalk through the wetlands.
Today’s objectives were to (1) finish blazing the track by clearing vegetation and putting in steps as necessary and (2) building and installing sections of boardwalk on the cleared track. Also, we had previously installed the foundation posts for a bridge where the finished track will cross the main stream and if time permitted we would do some work on the bridge.
We spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea.
Mahrukh then gave an overview of the CUE Haven project for the benefit of the new people and Tom described the work to be done and gave a safety briefing as well.
We initially broke the group into two teams. One would begin to assemble the frames for the boardwalk. The other team would work on clearing the track and working on steps.
Clearing the track is a challenge. We had previously marked a route with flagged sticks and had sprayed down the grass to mark the track and make it easier to clear. Even so, the team needed spades, rakes, loppers and a weed whacker to get down to ground level in some areas.
In spite of the challenges, the team made excellent progress and by lunch had finished clearing all the way to the end. As it leaves the wetland the track ascends quite steeply and the team planned, cut out and installed some very nice user-friendly steps.
It was a major task but thanks to the team’s efforts the track is now totally cleared and ready for the boardwalk sections to be installed by future volunteer groups.
The other team worked on assembling boardwalk frames. The frames were put together from one and two metre sections of timber and then taken to the site.
We took the assembled frames as far as we could in the ute, but then they had to be carried down to the end of the track. It’s not as easy as they make it look – the boardwalk section frames are quite heavy!
Once the frames are wrestled into position, it is necessary to fit them to the existing track sections and also make sure that they are level. This involved levelling the ground and repositioning the frames as necessary.
The frames are then fixed into place with stakes.
Shortly after noon we broke for lunch.
That was also a good time to assess our progress and plan the work for the rest of the day.
The next task was to nail on the boardwalk planks. The whole Gen-i team worked on this task. This job also presents several challenges to ensure that the boards are properly spaced and that angles formed by the meeting of two frames are properly covered.
Because of the excellent progress the group was making, we decided to go ahead and work on the bridge while the rest of the team would work on continuing the boardwalk.
We had previously installed the footer foundation posts and cut them down to the desired level.
The challenge of the bridge work, aside from having to stand in the stream while working, was to ensure that it would be level and sturdy and not slope too much. Carl and Paul took on the job of levelling everything out and installing the bridge framework.
The results are fantastic and it only remains for a future team to nail down the top planks to finish off the bridge.
We had a great day with the Gen-i team. They were a fun group to work with and in spite of the heat and messy working conditions, they far exceeded our expectations in terms of what we accomplished. They have set a very high standard for future teams!
We want to thank Nestle for providing the Nescafe Menus and Peach Nestea for the volunteers. The iced tea especially was very much appreciated by all on such a hot day.
As part of its programme of ‘catalytic philanthropy,’ the Telecom Foundation provides each employee with a Volunteer Day which they can take off work to help out an organisation of their choice. We want to thank Telecom/Gen-i for their contribution to the community.
And a big thank you to Steve Jessop for his hard work in organising the day. Thank you for your continuing interest in our project and for championing CUE Haven amongst your colleagues.
And we very much want to thank the hard working team. It was a pleasure meeting new and old friends and you should be very proud of everything you accomplished. We really appreciate your efforts and contribution and the boardwalk/track will enable visitors to enjoy the wetlands in comfort for years to come. We look forward to having you back again!