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Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School—16-20 November 2015

November 20, 2015
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Rudolf Steiner schools operate around the world and the Steiner philosophy seeks to address spirit, soul and body.  In addition to the full range of traditional academic topics, schools which follow the Rudolf Steiner approach follow a curriculum with an equal focus on art, science, nature and morality.

Earlier this year, we were contacted by the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School in Auckland about the possibility of having an experiential learning camp at CUE Haven.  In August teacher Jo Erskine brought out the year 10 class for a visit.  We told the students about the CUE Haven restoration project, took them on a tour and showed them an area where they could display their art work.

On Monday, 16th November the students returned to spend a week at CUE Haven to install their artwork and also assist us with some other projects.

The group arrived mid-morning and included Jo and students Dylan, Eamon, Jasmine, Laurenz, Naomi, Rafael and Xiyue. On Wednesday, school manager, Mark Thornton, arrived and took over for Jo who had commitments in the city.

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We got reacquainted over morning tea and went to work.  For the art project, the students had decided on an open arch to be carved out of kowhai wood.  Rhys Thompson, a friend of the school had secured the wood and prepared it and kindly loaned the students his carving tools.

The first task was to bring the arch sections into the nursery where the carving work could be finished.

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Jo then gave a carving demonstration to the students and the group proceed to carve some kowhai flowers on the sections.

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Once the carving was finished, the arch could be installed.  The group went up to the top of the property where the area had been prepared.  They tidied up the area and dug holes for the arch sections.

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We used a post hole digger to help dig the holes.

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We took the art work up and test fitted the sections. The students experimented with different positions and made a decision on how to install them.

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On Thursday evening, Rhys and teacher Malcom Groves joined the group and the arch sections were cemented in place.

The final step was to apply a finishing wax seal to protect the wood and enhance the grain.

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The art work is a wonderful addition to CUE Haven and provides a lovely welcome to the space.

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During the week the students also assisted with the construction of a new walking track.  The track had previously been marked out and sprayed and the work this week involved clearing away the dead grass and benching and smoothing the track surface.

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We encountered a steep section that required building steps and boxing them in and the students had a chance to practice their woodworking skills.

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The final task the students helped with was installing some informational tree signs.  The work involved digging holes for the sign posts and concreting the posts in place.

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The students also took time out to enjoy the nearby Parakai Hot Pools and Snow Planet. Additionally one afternoon the students went to a local farm to learn how to work with horses.

We want to thank Nestle NZ for providing Milo, Nestle Hot chocolate and Nescafe Menu sachets which were much enjoyed by the students.  We also want to thank Rhys for supplying and preparing the beautiful kowhai timber that the students used for the arch.

Thank you to Jo for organising the visit and being on site to lead the group.  Thanks, too, to Mark for coming out to help.

And thanks also to the students for their efforts with installing the artwork and signs and with the construction of the walking track.  The artwork, signs and the walking track will be enjoyed by visitors to CUE Haven for many years to come. We wish you much success with your studies and future endeavours.

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