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Westlake Girls High School—4 April 2014

April 6, 2014

CUE Haven looks very different today after a group of students in the Gateway programme at Westlake Girls High School finished up the environmental projects they had been working on.

Back in February, teacher Maree O’Leary brought the students out for a day of exploring.  The girls learned about the CUE Haven project, worked in the nursery, helped with our wetlands boardwalk and took a tour of the property.


Since the visit in February, the girls have been working on designing and developing their projects and today Maree, her colleague Christine Weeks, students Alana, Anna, Brittany, Brooke, Chiffon, Christine, Claudia, Emma, Enya, Georgia, Isabella, Karen, Lucille, Mary Ann, Mitanshu, Rochelle, Sakili, Wairua and parents Dean, Dominique, Jo, John & Wayne came out to present and install the students’ handiwork.

Unfortunately because of work or other commitments, Hope, Kara, Kendall and Olivia could not come out, but all the students teamed up to help out doing the installations regardless of whether they’d worked on the particular project.

Everyone arrived just after nine and we got reacquainted over morning tea.


We then gave an overview of the work to be done and a safety briefing.


The students had worked on the following projects at school —

–A tree identification booklet – Sakili and Kendall

–Tree identification signs – Anna, Emma, Isabella and Wairua

–A bird feeder – Olivia and Kara

–A CUE Haven signpost for the front entrance – Claudia and Rochelle

–A directional signpost for the walking track – Brittany and Brooke

–Benches for the walking track – Alana, Christine, Enya, Georgia, Karen, Lucille, Mary Ann, and Mitanshu

Tree Identification Booklet

To further help visitors learn about native New Zealand trees, Sakili and Kendall created a very nice handbook about native trees on the property.


Unfortunately Kendall couldn’t join us but Sakili presented us the booklet.



The book is laminated and small enough to fit into a jacket pocket so that visitors can take it out to the field with them. It will be a very useful resource for visitors keen to learn more about some of the native trees at CUE Haven.

 Tree Signs

Anna, Emma, Isabella, Wairua decided to make some tree identification signs to help visitors determine what sorts of trees they are seeing.   They made two signs  each for the following trees:

Kahikatea Dacrycarpus dacrydiodes

Kauri  Agathis australis

NikauRhopalostylis sapida

Puriri  Vitex lucens

Taraire Beilschmiedia taraire

Totara Podocarpus totara

Kanuka Kunzea ericoides

Makomako (Wineberry) Aristotelia serrata

Ti kouka (Cabbage tree) Cordyline australis



We installed several of the signs along the walking track.



The signs are a great addition to the walking track and CUE Haven’s educational focus.

The remaining students’ projects (signs and benches) were being installed in different parts of the property and had to be cemented in place.  So the day’s work presented a bit of a logistical challenge. That meant we had to carry tools and equipment into the bush over quite a distance and it also meant that several teams would be working in several different locations simultaneously.

We had previously delivered water and gravel for the cement up to the work sites and also each team was given a tool kit with spades, spirit levels and other tools they would be needing.  Several parents and Maree also brought tools and equipment which proved invaluable throughout the day.


The group broke up into teams to work on the various installations.

Entry Sign

Claudia and Rochelle worked on installing the CUE Haven sign they had built.  They were assisted by Dominique and Wayne.  The sign was placed at the entrance to the property and will be a great help for future visitors.

The first task was to select a spot for the sign, clear the area and dig a deep hole for the post.


Then the upright post was installed and double checked to make sure it was straight and then the post was set in cement.

While the cement was drying, Claudia and Rochelle surprised us all by weeding and tidying up the whole area by the front gate. Thank you so much!!


Once the cement was dry, the cross beam was installed.  It will have to take a lot of weight so a heavy duty bracket was used.


The final step is installing the sign itself.

Claudia and Rochelle had selected a beautiful piece of wood on to which they etched the CUE Haven logo. They had also lacquered the wood to keep it from weathering too much. The sign looks absolutely amazing.  The words on the sign will be darkened so they are more readily visible by the passing vehicles and Claudia and Rochelle will do that over the next few days.



We are thrilled to have this beautiful sign to alert visitors that they are at their destination.  It is a great enhancement to the property—and much better than the balloons we used to have to tie to the front gate!

Bird Feeder

As the restoration of the CUE Haven property has progressed, we have been thrilled to see an increase in bird life.  Olivia and Kara decided to build a bird feeder to attract birds year round and we wanted to install it within view of the cottage so that visitors could enjoy the birds coming to feed.

Unfortunately, Olivia and Kara couldn’t be with us but the rest of the team installed the bird feeder on their behalf.

The first job was to dig the hole for the post.



Then the post was installed, cemented in place and checked to ensure it was straight.



Maree then helped the girls install the feeders.  They are filled with diluted sugar water.  Over time we will dilute the sugar water even more because we only want to attract birds for visitors to enjoy rather than make the bird feeder a significant artificial food source.  We still want the birds to find food naturally in the bush.



Thank you Olivia and Kara for your lovely bird feeder which makes use of recycled materials.  We hope you will be able to come out and see it—and see some tui and silvereyes enjoying it as well!



Directional Sign

Our long term plan is to have a network of walking tracks throughout the property so that visitors can enjoy the bush.  We already have several intersecting paths and Brittany and Brooke decided to make a directional signpost at one of the major intersections to help visitors find their way.

Installing the sign was a challenge because not only did they need to dig a deep hole and cement the post in place, they also had to align each of the directional signs at the correct angles.

Brittney, Brooke and Georgia worked with Jo and John to install the sign post and the team brought all the equipment to the work site.



The first task was to determine where exactly to put the sign and clear the area.


And then to dig the hole. The hole needed to be extra deep to ensure the sign would be secure.


Then the individual signs needed to be attached to the post.  This required some planning because they had to be attached so that they would point in the correct direction when the sign was finally in place.




Once the pointer signs were in the correct position, the post was installed and secured with concrete.


The sign will not only help future visitors, but it is also a beautiful addition to the landscape.




Alana, Chiffon, Christine, Enya, Georgia, Karen, Lucille, Mary Ann, and Mitanshu had designed and constructed four attractive and sturdy benches and these would be installed along the walking tracks.

Sakili, Anna, Emma, Isabella and Wairua  assisted the group with the bench installation and the team worked with Christine, Dean and Maree

Installing the benches was a real challenge.  First, they were widely spaced along the walking track, which meant that the benches themselves, plus the equipment (including 25kg bags of cement) had to be carried into the bush.

Not only that, each bench presented a different set of challenges depending on the location—some were on sloping ground so the ground had to be levelled and others were in areas where the soil was particularly hard to dig into.

But the girls coped very well with these challenges and each bench was perfectly placed where it is sure to get a lot of use—and future hikers on the walking track will be grateful!

One bench was placed next to the directional sign because that section of the track has some beautiful old puriri trees and also some nice views of the Kaipara Harbour.  The bench was positioned so that visitors can enjoy the bush, the views or rest while they make up their mind which way to go!




A second bench was installed near the top of the property along a long set of steps on the track. Because of the slope of the ground, it was first necessary to cut out the soil so the bench would sit on reasonably level ground.


Once the ground was level, the holes for the bench legs were dug.



The bench was then moved into position and the level checked for accuracy.



The last step was cementing the legs into the ground.



The other two benches were installed further along the stream gully walking track.




The benches are a fantastic addition to the walking track and they will be appreciated by visitors for many years to come.





It was a really hot autumn day and the team took a short lunch break and then resumed working for another couple of hours.



During the break they also got acquainted with some of the neighbours!



We’d like to thank Nestle New Zealand for providing Iced Peach Nestea and Nescafe Menu sachets for the team.  Thanks Nestle! The drinks were very much appreciated by all.


By 2 p.m. all the signs and benches had been installed and when the group left, CUE Haven had been enhanced by their wonderful projects.

We want to hugely thank teacher Maree O’Leary for choosing CUE Haven as a place for the Westlake Girls School to do their projects and for getting the students enthusiatic about an environmental conservation project.

Our many thanks to the accompanying adults – Christine, Dean, Dominique, Jo, John and Wayne -We’ve really enjoyed working with you—your assistance today has been invaluable.

And most of all we want to thank the students for their hard work in dreaming up, desiging and creating their projects and coming out to install them. We are very impressed with the quality of your project work and with the excellent installation work.  You have all made a major contribution to CUE Haven and the work you have done will be enjoyed by visitors for many years to come.  THANK YOU!!

We hope you will come back for a relaxing visit and to enjoy your handiwork!








2 Comments leave one →
  1. Maurice Cross permalink
    April 7, 2014 9:02 am

    Lovely to see the girls putting up signs especially the gateway one as we missed the entrance and had to do a 180° turn when we visited recently………….Maurice & Noeline Cross


  1. Installation of First Inspirational Sign —21 September 2014 | CUE Haven

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