Duke Of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Residential – 29 September–3 October 2014
This week nine Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award gold award participants had a fun and productive residential week at CUE Haven. The group arrived on Monday morning and included Ben, Brigid, Charlotte, Kalym, Lauren, Lizanne, Nuobelle, Savi and Tyrell. Kalym had attended a DoEHA residential at CUE Haven earlier in the year and it was great to have him back this time as the team leader.
The team arrived on Monday morning and we got acquainted over morning tea. Mahrukh gave an orientation and overview about the CUE Haven project and Tom and Andy Woodhouse, DoEHA’s National Director of Training, gave an overview of the plan for the week and safety issues.
We then went for a short tour of the property so that the group could see the DoEHA Grove and get a better idea of where they would be working.
After lunch we started out with some maintenance work. Previous teams have built a walking track through the Grove and it requires regular maintenance, especially after wet winter weather. The group spread out along the track and trimmed away vegetation, smoothed out rough spots and improved some areas to make them safer. The work included cutting some new steps and boxing them up.
The DoEHA team that had come out in July had planted a large number of trees in the Grove and this team also spent some time weeding around the trees to make sure they will have plenty of room to grow.
Last year a team started a large mosaic of the DoEHA logo at one of the entrances to the Grove. They had finished the main part of the mosaic and subsequent groups have done additional maintenance work. The current plan is to finish off the mosaic by securing it with a brick frame and doing some additional stone work around the perimeter. The team in July had dug out the foundation for the brick frame and this team lined the frame with concrete to form a base for the bricks which will be laid next year.
The first thing the team did was dig a drainage ditch to empty the water that had accumulated in the foundation ring.
In the meantime another group worked on breaking up marble to create the tiles for the next section of mosaic that will be laid down by the next DoEHA team.
The mosaic is located at the far end of the Grove and far away from a driving road. As a result, it was necessary to bring down all of the concrete and other materials by hand.
Once all the concrete, builders mix, water and tools were on site the concrete was mixed up in batches.
It was then poured into the trench.
Once the first layer was in, some metal reinforcing rods were put in.
And then the final batch of concrete was mixed and poured.
The concrete layer was smoothed out and is now ready for the brick work.
The next task was to construct a path around the mosaic to connect the DoEHA track to the main CUE Haven track. This involved fixing the drainage and smoothing and clearing the track.
There is a small drainage ditch running along the side of the main track and the team was concerned that visitors will have to step over the ditch and it might be dangerous, so they decided to build a small bridge over the ditch.
They took some measurements and then went down to the nursery to design and build the bridge.
The planks were cut to size and nailed together and covered with wire mesh so that the bridge wouldn’t be slippery when wet.
It was then taken up to the site and installed over the ditch. The bridge is a great addition to the track and will make the walk safer for future visitors.
The team also tackled one of the most creative and challenging tasks yet. There are four main entrances to the DoEHA Grove and in order to mark the entrances and welcome visitors, the team decided to put up carved posts at each entrance. This team worked on three posts and the other posts will be done by future DoEHA teams.
The team broke into groups of three and each group designed and carved their own post. The only requirement was that each post include the DoEHA logo.
The groups added birds, plants and insects and carved their names on their posts. Each is a beautiful and unique addition to the Grove.
Once the carving was finished, the teams tackled the challenging job of installing them.
The posts and cement, water and tools were all taken up to the Grove. The most difficult was the post at the entrance by the mosaic because it had to be carried the farthest.
They then had to dig some very large and deep holes.
Then each post was manoeuvred into position and cemented in place.
And each team posed with the post they had carved.
The group decided that the bare poles didn’t stand out enough so gave them each a paint job.
Earlier in the week the team members also helped us install some signs outside of the DoEHA Grove. It was good practice for putting in the posts!
While installing a sign under an old puriri tree some of the group decided that it was just begging to be climbed!
The signs look great and we really appreciate the team helping us out.
The group had already accomplished everything planned for the week but late on Thursday they decided that they wanted to also leave their mark in the form of benches for the walking track. They broke into two groups—The A Team and the Z Team!
The Z team had tested out the bench in the hut at the top of the DoEHA track and decided that it was not too comfortable. They decided to redesign their own bench.
The new bench presented a challenge because they wanted to account for the curved walls of the hut while making the bench as wide as possible.
They came up with a great design that looks and feels just right.
In the meantime, the A Team decided to do a bench for the area by the mosaic. They made a wide chair complete with arms.
Both teams carved their names in their respective benches and both benches will be enjoyed and appreciated by visitors to CUE Haven for many years to come.
And before the group left on Friday they cleaned up the cottage and the nursery/workshop.
Then they headed back to the DoEHA Grove and assisted Kalym, Lauren, Lizanne and Tyrell plant celebration totara and puriri trees to mark their 18th birthdays this month. Happy Birthday and many more!!
We really enjoyed working with this team. They were full of energy and great ideas and came together as a team very quickly and accomplished an amazing amount of work.
We want to thank Kalym for leading the team this week. It was great to have you back and your leadership was one of the things that helped make this such a successful week. We wish you all the best in your future studies and hope to have you back to CUE Haven again.
And a special thank you to Andy Woodhouse. Your support and ideas are invaluable and we really appreciate your involvement.
Also, during the week, the team enjoyed Nestle Iced Tea and Nescafe Menu coffees generously provided by Nestle New Zealand who also provided each team member with a water bottle for use in the field. Thanks Nestle!
And most of all our many thanks to the hard working team. It was great meeting you all and we wish you all the best with completing your gold awards and with your future endeavours. You have all made important contributions to the CUE Haven project that will last for years. We hope you will bring your friends and families and come visit us again. And of course it would be great to have you all back as team leaders for future DoEHA gold residential at CUE Haven.