Spark—21 November 2014
Spark Digital, formerly Gen-i, is New Zealand’s leading IT and ICT solutions provider. Spark is an affiliate of Spark NZ, formerly Telecom NZ. Today for the third time, Steve Jessop of Spark Digital arranged for a team of his colleagues from Spark Digital and Spark to come out to CUE Haven for a day.
The team arrived around nine and included Alison, Anna, Andy, Charlotte, Deb, Ian, Jeff, John, Luke, Neil, Pablo, Paul J., Paul O., Phillip, Quintin, Rizwan, Samuel, Steve H., Steve J., and Steven. And also joining us for the day were Luke’s sons Samuel & John
We spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea.
Mahrukh then gave a welcome and a short overview about the CUE Haven project. It was an introduction for new people and an update on our activities for the several people who had been out on previous visits.
Tom then gave a safety briefing and an overview of the work planned for the day.
We are building a new walking track which will give visitors an opportunity to explore a part of the property that has previously been inaccessible. Earlier groups of volunteers had started the track and the plan for today was to further extend the track, build two bridges over some small streams that cross the path and also do make some improvements to the wetlands boardwalk.
The team walked up to the work site by way of the boardwalk in the wetlands that earlier Spark teams had worked on.
The group broke into three teams. One team worked on extending the new track, the second smaller team worked on building bridges for this new track, while another small team stayed on the boardwalk to work on an area that hadn’t previously been boardwalked.
We had previously dropped off the tools and equipment at the start of the track but the first job was to carry the timber, cement and water for the bridges up to the bridge sites.
The first task for the track team was to clear, widen and level the path. The proposed route had been sprayed out but was covered with dead grass and weeds.
That was the easy part!
A good part of the track traverses steep terrain. Where the track goes along the slope it is necessary to bench out the surface so that it is level. This requires figuring out the best route and carving the path out. The team proved to be excellent engineers and earth movers!
When the track traversed a steep section at a right angle, it was necessary to cut steps into the track so that it will be easier and safer to negotiate. Installing steps requires a lot of care to ensure that they aren’t too steep and are spaced correctly to make it easy to walk on them. The work involves cutting out the step and then framing it with a board secured by two posts which are then nailed in place.
The team collaborated to come up with the best solution to the various challenges they faced.
While the track teamed worked their way up, the bridge team were working near the middle of the track where two small streams cross the path. The bridge building involved building the frame around old fence posts which would be cemented into the ground.
First the team had to decide the best position and orientation for the bridge and then dig out the area around the posts.
They dug the post holes with a borer and it was a real challenge digging into the heavy clay.
Once the holes were dug and they were satisfied with test fitting the frame, they cemented the posts in place and attached the frame.
Once they finished the first bridge frame, they continued on to build the second.
And the final task was installing the top boards.
Meanwhile, the boardwalk team was working on fixing up a section of the boardwalk. When we did the boardwalk last summer we had left a section of ground bare as we thought it would stay dry enough to enable people to walk on. However, during the wet winter weather the section proved too muddy and we decided to boardwalk over the section.
First the team built a frame for the new boardwalk section.
And then did a beautiful job of planking over the top. They also installed wire mesh for safe footing on wet days.
Because the steps going down to the lower boardwalk section were open, the team decided to plank them over as well.
The result is a much safer and attractive boardwalk and we are delighted with the huge improvement.
Here is the before view:
The team took a break for lunch shortly after midday.
And a short but much deserved rest before going back to work.
We had a busy but really fun day with this team. They were great to work with and had lots of enthusiasm and energy. They set a new single day record for track building by finishing off 154 metres of track and building two bridges plus the boardwalk sections. Here is a look at what they accomplished.
Other teams later this summer will finish off the approaches to the bridges and complete new track and the small remaining section on the boardwalk.
A fantastic effort and a great accomplishment overall!!
A big thank you to Steve Jessop for championing CUE Haven at Spark. This is the third time Steve has brought a team of his colleagues out for a day and we always have a great time.
And we want to thank everyone in the hard working team. You accomplished a huge amount of work and made a major and lasting contribution to the CUE Haven project. We really appreciate your efforts and enjoyed getting to know you and working with you and look forward to having you all back next year.
And we hope you will also come back with your families for a more leisurely visit and to enjoy the walking tracks you have worked so hard on.