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Community Open Day—8 November 2014

November 9, 2014

The week of 1-9 November is Conservation Week in New Zealand and the theme for this year is “Discover the World Where You Live.”  Over 150 events have been taking place throughout the country to give people a chance to find out about the conservation activities in their area.

Today with the help of the Department of Conservation, Auckland Council and many volunteers we hosted a community open day and over 100 people stopped by to explore the property, learn about our project and some other conservation activities going on in the area.

It was great to see a lot of familiar faces and also meet lots of wonderful new people.

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Over the past few weeks with the help of lots of volunteers, we’ve been getting the walking tracks and roads in shape after the winter rains.  We put up directional signs to guide visitors and also some pictures taken when the project started so that people could see how the landscape has changed.

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Visitors brought a picnic lunch, socialised and spent time exploring the property.

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The objective for the day was not only to showcase the conservation efforts at CUE Haven but also other local conservation activities. So we turned the nursery into an environmental education centre focussing on the Northland brown kiwi that have been released at Mataia, our neighbours across the road.

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Clea of Kiwi for Kiwis, and Julie, a biodiversity student at Unitec who also assists with the kiwi at Matai,  set up interactive displays and were on hand to talk to visitors about the highly endangered kiwi and efforts, like those at Mataia, to protect them.

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Laptops had been set up so that visitors had an opportunity to see video clips of some of the kiwi at Mataia and their recently born chicks which had been filmed using infra red cameras.

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The kiwi at Mataia are fitted with telemetry devices so that their movements, activities and vital signs can be monitored.  Because Mataia is literally across the road we are in range of the telemetry signals and visitors had a chance to track the kiwi.

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Also as part of the Open Day, a few students from the Unitec department of Performing and Screen Arts were on site with lecturer, Mark Ingram, to film and interview as part of their project to make a short documentary on the CUE Haven project.  They interviewed some of the volunteers and also interviewed Paige and Yan, Unitec graphic design students who developed the beautiful signs which are now installed at CUE Haven.

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It was a great day and we really enjoyed seeing so many old friends and meeting new friends and we have a lot of people to thank for making it such a successful event.

The Open Day, like the CUE Haven project itself,  is again evidence of what a community can achieve when the public and private sectors and individuals all come together to create something beautiful and lasting for current and future generations.

Firstly our many thanks to Sue from the Department of Conservation who launched the idea of a CUE Haven open day and who helped with the publicity. And also many thanks to Craig of Auckland Council for assisting with the laminated ‘before’ photos of the CUE Haven landscape so that visitors could better visualise the progress of the project over the past six years.

We want to thank Nestle NZ for providing the much appreciated Nescafe Menu coffee and Peach and Lemon Nestea for the visitors.

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We also want to thank Mason Contractors Ltd and Northpower Ltd for the very generous contribution of quality metal.  And thank you Pete of Helensville Diggers for getting the roads and walking tracks ready for the Open Day.

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A very big thank you to Clea and Julie for giving up a Saturday to share their vast knowledge of kiwi and New Zealand ecology.

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And a very special thank you to our very dear friends Jane and Mauricio for coming and helping out for the day.  Jane looked after all the visitors making sure that the food and beverage tables were well stocked and answering questions.  Mauricio helped out by guiding visitors, answering questions and taking fantastic pictures to document the day.  We really appreciate your invaluable help.

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And finally, a big big thank you to all the visitors who came out for the day.  It was great seeing you all and we really appreciate your support. We look forward to having you back again!

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