Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Residential—13-17 July 2015
This week saw the fourteenth Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards (DoEHA) gold award residential at CUE Haven. It was a fun, inspiring and productive week. The team arrived on Monday morning and included Aida, Cam, Emma, Issac, James, Joanna, Jono, Jordyn, Tobias and Zak.
Jonathan was the team leader and it was great to have him back. Jono had done his gold award residential at CUE Have two years ago and was also the team leader for the April 2014 residential.
We got acquainted over morning tea and gave the group an overview of the CUE Haven project, the history of the DoEHA Grove and a description of the work planned for the week. It was great to learn that Tobias had been part of the very first tree planting at CUE Haven in 2008 when he came out for the Trees For Survival planting with the St Kentigern School.
We then went on a short tour of the property and showed the group the DoEHA Grove and the areas where they would be working.
The group worked on a variety of projects over the course of the week and brought a lot of creativity and ingenuity to the work. Because July is in the middle of our winter planting season they did a lot of tree planting. Additionally, they landscaped the entry to the Grove around the mosaic, finished an incomplete section of the wetlands boardwalk and built a bench and a picnic table. All of this in less than five days!!!
The team planted pioneer trees like manuka, kanuka, karamu in several areas around the property. And they also did infill planting of canopy trees like rimu, totara, nikau in and around the DoEHA Grove.
It was a lot of hard work but over the course of the week the team managed to plant over 1,200 trees! Great work!
One of the earliest projects undertaken during a gold award residential was a large mosaic of the DoEHA logo at the entrance to the Grove. Several teams have worked to improve and finish off the mosaic and during the last residential in April it was largely completed. The remaining task was to clear up the area around the mosaic and do some nice landscaping with native shrubs.
At the site, it was first necessary to clear up a lot of weeds and vegetation.
The walking track leading down to the mosaic also needed some work. It is steep and uneven in some areas and part of the team cleared and levelled it off.
They also identified the area as an ideal spot for a team bench and boxed in a platform area for the bench.
Meanwhile other team members laid out the landscaping plants and went to work planting.
The last task was to bring up gravel—one bucketful at a time—to finish off the track.
There was still a short section of entrance to the wetlands boardwalk that wasn’t complete and part of the team went to work to finish it off. It was challenging work because they had to join up two completed sections of boardwalk and it required a lot of measuring, digging and cutting.
First they had to dig out channels for the footer boards and measure and cut the boards.
It was then necessary to level the frames and secure them with pegs.
The next step is to nail down the top planks to create the boardwalk.
The team had to build some steps and some of the boardwalk sections were curved. This meant that the top planks had to be cut to shape. We trained and supervised the team members so they could use power tools to help with the cutting.
The final boardwalk step was to nail down wire mesh to prevent the surface from being slippery when wet or muddy.
The team’s efforts are a great improvement in the boardwalk that will be enjoyed by visitors for a long time.
While part of the team worked on the boardwalk, others tackled the project to build a bench to place on the walking track in the Grove. They took time to design how they wanted the bench to look and went to work cutting out timber and assembling the bench.
Slowly the bench took shape.
The team decided that the back rest of the bench should look like the crown of the DoEHA logo and so they cut out designs in the wood.
Once the bench was finished, it was time to take it up to the Grove and install it.
It was a long way from the road to the site and in addition to the bench the team had to bring down the equipment, cement and water that would be used for the installation.
The first step of the installation was to position the bench and figure out where to dig the holes for the legs.
The holes were marked and dug out.
The bench was then put in place and levelled and secured with cement.
The concrete was allowed to set overnight and the next morning the entire team went up to fix up the gravel around the bench.
And then it came time to test it out!
The bench is a great addition to the Grove and will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.
When CUE Haven was a farm, old bathtubs were used as water troughs for the stock. There are still a few tubs around the property and while exploring, the team spotted four of them and brought them down to the nursery/workshop. They decided that two of them bolted together would make interesting picnic tables.
The first task was to clean them up and reinforce them.
They then gave them a good sanding to remove the rust before putting on a couple of coats of enamel paint.
The table top was built out of long boards.
Bolting the two tubs together bottom to bottom was a real challenge – especially for the person bolting from below.
The result is a quirky work of art and a very comfortable table that the team quickly adopted for socialising!
We only had enough timber for one table top, so the other table top and the benches will be built by the next DoEHA team in October and they will also install them in the Grove.
It was a fun and successful week and the team had no problem coping with the digital detox by just relaxing and playing non-digital games.
The team also participated in a Milo taste test – comparing the old and new Milo drinks.
And we belatedly celebrated Zak and Jono’s birthdays.
On the last day, the team cleaned up the cottage and nursery.
And ended the week by planting a celebratory miro tree in the Grove to commemorate new friendships.
We want to thank Nestle NZ for their support and for generously providing water bottles and delicious coffee, hot chocolate and Milo for the team.
Our thanks to Andy Woodhouse, National Training Director DoEHA programme, for organising the residential and for his continuing assistance and support.
A special Thank You to Jonathan for serving once again as team leader. It was great having you back and we hope to see you again soon.
And many many thanks to every one of the hard working team members. We really enjoyed meeting and working with you. You quickly moved from a group to a team and we are very impressed with your creativity and energy.
You have all made a very valuable and lasting contribution to the CUE Haven project. The trees you planted will provide food and shelter to birds and other wildlife, and all the work that you did on the boardwalk, bench and picnic table will be appreciated and enjoyed by visitors over the years to come.
We hope you will come back as team leaders for future DoEHA residentials. Best of luck in completing your gold awards and in all your future endeavours.