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Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Gold Residential—20-24 January 2014

January 25, 2014

This week a team of Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary gold award participants made a lasting contribution to the CUE Haven landscape and added a new dimension to the residential programme activities.  The team worked on the hut mural, built almost 50 metres of wetland boardwalk and built a chair and a bench for future visitors to the DoEHA Grove to enjoy for years to come.

The team arrived on Monday morning and included Alanna, Chris, David, Hugh, Jack, Josh, Molly and Rosalind.  Kevin  Sutherland was the team leader.


We got acquainted over morning tea and gave the participants an overview of the CUE Haven project and the DoEHA Grove.


We then went for a quick tour of the property to show the group some of the things that previous groups had done and the work that was planned for the week.

Even in summer, parts of the wetland area are swampy and muddy and in winter the entire area is very boggy.  To allow visitors to enjoy the area year round, the plan for this summer is to construct a raised boardwalk.

The first task was to trim back the vegetation along the track leading to the wetlands to make it easier to bring down tools and equipment.






The team then brought down the timber that would be used to build the track frames and plank the track surface.





The frames form the support structure and some frames were assembled where the timber was stored while other frames were assembled on site.





Once they are built they are fitted into position and secured down.



The challenge is to get the frames straight and level on the muddy and uneven ground.




When the frames are in place, the top planks are nailed down.  It took a while for the team to get the hang of nailing in the long nails but under Kevin’s keen guidance, everyone was a pro by the end of the week.





A big challenge of the work was to build the corners in the track because each one is different and the boards have to be individually measured and cut out.  The team did a great job on the corners making an interesting and safe walk way.


Another job was to create steps down from the main road to the board walk and to join up the steps to the walk.



The team put down almost 50 metres of track and reached an area where we will have to build some larger boardwalks over small gullies.  They planned out the work and installed some of the footer posts for the boardwalks.




Although everyone spent some time working on the track, the team broke into 2 groups and while some team members went to work on other tasks, Chris, David, Jack & Rosalind dedicated all their time to the track work and made excellent progress.



The track work is a major accomplishment and a major contribution to the CUE Haven project.  It was hard and messy work but the team worked very well together and added a lot of value to the track planning and execution.



Previous teams had cleaned up the old water tank and converted it into a hut and last week’s team built a wooden roof and created a mural on the inside and outside.  This week’s activities included securing the roof in place with wire and finishing off the mural.

Securing the roof involved drilling holes through the concrete tank and looping wires through and attaching them to the roof structure.



Doug Ford, the artist who worked with last week’s DoEHA team on the interactive mural came out to put on some finishing touches.  Molly helped him paint the interior with a colour selected by this team.


The  hut is now looking great and we’ll share pictures of the mural in the next posting.

Another task for the week involved building a bench for the hut.  The idea was to have a place where people could take a break and enjoy the view while they are out on the walking track.  This team was so ambitious that they came up with a seat for the hut and also created a fantastic big chair for another location on the walking track.

The big chair was completely designed and built by the team and looks like a work of art as the back resembles a piwakawaka (New Zealand fantail).






There was so much nailing required that the team compared their blisters!


And of course the chair had to be regularly tested out to make sure it was comfortable.



Once the legs were attached and the chair was complete, each of the team members who worked on it carved their initials in the front.


The team then went out to the DoEHA Grove to select the best place to put the chair and we loaded it up and took it up to the site.





The chair is an amazing achievement and it will be enjoyed (and appreciated) by visitors to the Grove for many years.

The team also built a seat for the hut so that people could relax in the shade.  They decided that because the hut had been built from the water tank that had been used when CUE Haven was a farm, they would build their seat out of old farm materials.  They wired together old fence posts and nailed a split post on top to create a seat.



And then Alanna, Hugh, Josh, Kevin and Molly tested it out to see if it was sturdy enough to hold their weight. Yes it is!!


And here is the bench installed in the DoEHA hut!


Earlier residential teams had worked on artwork in the Grove including the building of two koru sculptures on the walking track.  We are looking forward to the day when the sculptures are covered by moss and to help that process out, we made up a mixture of moss and yoghurt which will encourage moss growth on the shady side of the korus.





The team worked hard all week but also took time to relax and enjoy.  They explored the property on night walks and also had fun in the tall grass of the unplanted (and ungrazed) pastures).


They played cards and board games


And Alanna taught them how to make flowers from flax leaves.


They also did some gourmet cooking….


And took some well-deserved rest.


Alanna also baked a delicious chocolate cake to celebrate the birthday of Andy Woodhouse, DoEHA Co-Director of Training and Development, who came on Friday for the de-briefing meeting with the team.



A great ending to a fantastic week!

We’d like to thank Nestle for providing water bottles, Iced Peach and Lemon Nestea and Nescafe Menu sachets for the team.  Thanks Nestle! The drinks were very much appreciated on and off the field.



We’d also like to thank our 13 year old nephew, Yazdy, who came to help and worked with the team on the tracks. Thanks Yazdy!

And thank you Daniel Scott for organising this residential.  Daniel is a DoEHA alumni and has co-ordinated the last seven residentials at CUE Haven, but he is now off to new adventures. It has been great having you on board and we wish you the very best in your endeavours ahead. Keep in touch.

A big thank you to Andy Woodhouse  – your enthusiasm for CUE Haven and your ongoing support are much appreciated.

Many thanks to Kevin Sutherland for giving up yet another week of holiday to lead the team and for being an excellent team leader and doing far more than his share of the work.   Kevin – thanks to you, this was another special week. You set the tone that enabled the team to come together and work so well.


And we especially want to thank the gold award participants – a great group of hard working young adults who accomplished so much.  Everyone got along and contributed with great ideas to construct things which will last a long time and will be enjoyed by many people.  It was a real pleasure working with you all and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.  We look forward to having you back to visit us in the future and also to serve as team leaders.





One Comment leave one →
  1. paula chapman permalink
    January 26, 2014 5:59 am

    great work guys and gals!! can’t wait to see all the new improvements!

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