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Orewa College–11 November 2015

November 12, 2015

The international exchange program at Orewa College north of Auckland provides international students with an opportunity to experience New Zealand culture and natural heritage.  In addition to regular course work, the international students can participate in a New Zealand Experience class where they do outdoor activities, take trips and learn more about New Zealand.

For the second year in a row, Adrienne Croad, International Students Development Manager, brought a group of students from Chile, Germany and Japan to CUE Haven to explore, learn a little about New Zealand plants and animals and to leave a permanent mark in NZ by helping us build a new walking track.

The group arrived about ten and included Adrienne and students Aika, Alexander, Christiane, Ella, Emma. Jan, Javeiera, Julia, Lea, Pedro, Ronja, Sina and Sofia. Stan Parker, a friend and supporter of Orewa College, also joined the group for the day.

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We spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea and then gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and a safety briefing and short description of the work planned for the day.

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This year’s summer project is to build a walking track to connect the top of the property with the existing walking track network.  We had previously marked out and sprayed the route of the track and today’s task was to clear away the vegetation and level the path.  We started out by taking a short walk on an existing walking track to give the students a chance to see how tracks were built, and how to develop solutions for different types of terrain.

Once we got to the start of the new track, Thomas repeated the safety briefing and gave a demo of how each of the tools (spade, rake, grubber) could be used to form the track.  The team then went to work.

The first challenge was to create an easy entry to the track from the road.

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The group then moved along the track with some people using rakes to clear away the dead grass and others following behind with spades to form and bench the track.

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Stan was a great help, showing the students the best way to use spades to form and shape the track.

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The biggest challenge was chopping through and clearing the dead kikuyu grass but the team coped well and worked away and kept smiling.

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The kikuyu grass put up a good fight but the only casualty was one of the grubbers!

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After a couple of hours work the group took a leisurely walk back to the cottage for a relaxing lunch.

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During the walk, Thomas explained the restoration program and our pest and weed control efforts.  The students also enjoyed visits by some native birds and also saw a big tree weta in one of the weta boxes in the bush.

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We really enjoyed working with the students and were very impressed with what they were able to accomplish in such a short period of time.  This is how the track looked when they started.

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And this is the same view when they were finished.

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The group did a great job and the new track is off to an excellent start—the Orewa College international students have set a high standard for other teams who will be coming over the next few months to continue work on the track.

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We’d like to thank Nestle NZ for providing Nestle Hot Chocolate and Nescafe Menu sachets which the students really enjoyed.

And a big thank you to Stan for helping out.  It was great getting to know you and your help and advice really helped the students and the quality of the track work.  We hope you’ll come back to see us again!

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Thank you very much Adrienne for making all the arrangements for today’s visit and bringing the students out—and working so hard alongside the students!

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And a special thank you to the students for all their hard work today.  We appreciate your efforts and hope you enjoyed the day.  We enjoyed working with you—you all have made a lasting contribution to CUE Haven and New Zealand’s natural heritage. The track you built today will be used and enjoyed by visitors for many years to come as they explore the growing native forest at CUE Haven.

We hope you have a great stay in New Zealand and wish you happiness and success in your future endeavours and we hope that someday you will come back to New Zealand and visit CUE Haven too.

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Thanks again!

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