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Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Residential—19-23 January 2015

January 25, 2015

This week we had a great group of Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Gold Award participants complete their residential requirement at CUE Haven.  The group included Anneke, Doug, Ellis, Emily, Harry, Howard, Sarah and Sophie.  Brigid, Kalym and Katrine were the team leaders.


The group arrived mid morning and we got acquainted over morning tea.  Mahrukh gave an introduction and welcome and overview of the CUE Haven project and the history of the DoEHA Grove.  Thomas then gave a safety briefing.


We then all went for a short tour of the property so that the group could see the work that previous DoEHA teams had done and to get an idea of the things they would be doing.


There were two main tasks planned for the week.  The first was to finish off work a walking track that had been started by other volunteer groups and the other was to do some totem poles to mark the entrances to the DoEHA Grove walking tracks.  Some other creative work and several smaller maintenance tasks such as pruning vegetation on the roads and tracks were also planned.

After the tour we had lunch and then went to work on the track.  They group described their activities as trail blazing and terraforming as they had to find the best route for sections of the track and then had to do a lot of digging and shaping to make the track level and safe.  They broke into smaller groups to work on the different tasks.

Ellis and Howard walked the track and cleared away any overhanging vegetation.


Previous teams had shaped the track and cut steps on steep sections.  It was necessary to box in the steps with boards and pegs.  The first task was to measure and cut the timber.


While being supervised by an experienced adult, the participants learned to use hand and drop saws to cut the timber.



Once the wood was cut, it was taken out to the track and installed.

Anneke and Katrine worked on connecting up two sections of track by building some steps and a retaining wall.  It required a lot of planning and digging to make the sections join neatly but the result is excellent.




Bridget worked with Emily, Sarah and Sophie to install the steps along the new track.  The project involved digging out the steps, making sure they were even and level, and lots of nailing to secure the posts in place.






The result of these efforts is a great looking track with safe and attractive steps.



The team that started building this track had built two bridges over small streams that flow across the track.  However, we’ve found that several track sections around the bridges are quite wet, even during the dry summer weather and therefore needed to be boardwalked so that future visitors can enjoy the track without getting their feet wet.

Kalym worked with Doug, Ellis, Harry and Howard to build the boardwalk sections.  The first task involved studying the terrain and figuring out the best route and measuring to determine how much timber would be required.


The participants learned how to use the power tools and cut the wood.



Once the wood was cut, the frameworks for the boardwalk sections were assembled.





The frames were then carried out to the track.


Installing the frames can be a challenge.  Each one needs to be level and even with the previously installed section.  Getting it right involves a lot of digging and checking with the spirit level.


Once the section is in place, the top planks are installed.  The biggest challenge is to cut the triangular sections around the curves where two frames meet at an angle.


The end result is two very nice sections of boardwalk that will be used (and appreciated) by visitors to CUE Haven for years to come.



Here’s the boardwalk team making sure there are no nails out of place!


The final task on the track was to spread some gravel on the surface to make it safe for year round use.  This involved collecting gravel from a pile near the top of the property into buckets.



The buckets were brought down to the track and the team spread and smoothed the gravel over the surface.  The result is a safe year round and very good looking walking track.





In addition to the track work, the other big task that the team tackled was carving totem poles to mark the entrances to the walking tracks they have built.  Previous teams have installed six totem poles at various points around the property and this team did an additional two.

The boys were still in the field finishing off the boardwalk so the girls broke into two teams and started work on the posts.  The first task was to agree on a design for how to carve and decorate the pole.

One of the poles was an old fence post that still had staples in it.


The team decided to retain the post’s farming provenance, keep the staples, and decorate the post with bits of old fencing wire. And Anneke’s farm experience with fence wires came in very handy,





The other post was a full team effort.  All the girls worked on carving sections and once the boys finished the boardwalk they helped out.  The post is unique in that it includes a contribution from every team member and includes their name or initials.










Once the posts were carved, the challenging part was to get them out to the field and install them.  The posts were loaded onto the ute and carried to the nearest convenient spot.



The posts were then carried down to the installation site and very deep holes were dug.  The team took turns digging with the post hole digger.



The hole was then cleared of any loose dirt.


And the post was manoeuvred into position.


Once the post was positioned and straightened, the hole was filled with cement to anchor it.







The team also tackled another very creative task.  A previous team had made a chess board and chess pieces for the DoEHA Grove.  The chessboard is in place on an old water trough behind the hut (old water tank) in the Grove.  This team decided to make checkers to go along with the chessmen.

First a smooth pole was sliced into sections to create the checkers.  The team decided to paint them black and red.


Then Sarah used her artistic skill to painstakingly paint the DoEHA logo on each piece.





And Emily and Kalym took the opportunity to spruce up the chessmen by painting the concrete bases.


Other team members meanwhile reinforced two storage boxes which will be used for storing the checkers and chessmen.  They loaded up the pieces into the boxes for delivery to the site.


Brigid and Katrine set up the checkers and faced off for the first game!


There was no official winner because everyone got involved in giving “helpful” advice.


This team accomplished an amazing amount of very challenging work in record high temperatures.  But they coped very well and had a lot of fun as well as hard work.

They took some time to relax.



Enjoyed the sunsets.


They also did a great job of cleaning up.


Which wasn’t too hard because the brooms were magic!


We’d like to thank Nestle NZ for generously providing Nestle Iced Tea, Nescafe Menu sachets and water bottles for the team during the week.

And as always, a big thank you to Andy Woodhouse, National Training Director of the DoEHA programme for organising and inspiring the residentials and keeping everything moving in the right direction.

We want to thank Brigid, Kalym and Katrin for all their hard work as team leaders.  Your participation helped make this such a successful residential.  We wish you all the best and hope you will come back to lead future teams.  And a special thanks to Kalym for leading two DoEHA teams back to back.  Your enthusiasm and energy from beginning to end helped bring the teams together quickly and got the best out of everyone.




And a special thank you to each of the team members for your hard work in spite of the heat. We really enjoyed meeting you and working with you.  We wish you all the best with completing your gold awards and with your future endeavours.  You have all made a major contribution to the CUE Haven project and we are very grateful for your creativity and efforts.  Each of you made a contribution and left your mark.

Your track and totem poles and checkers will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.  We hope you will bring your friends and families and come visit us again. And we look forward to having you out as team leaders for future a DoEHA gold residential.  Thanks again!!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2015 8:51 am

    Congratulations to you all. What a wonderful project!!!

  2. January 25, 2015 7:22 pm

    Well done in that HEAT you good Eddie Burrow fellows…Glad to see there was a Doug aboard

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