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Expect the Unexpected—14 August 2016

August 14, 2016

Just when we thought we were finished with the bulk of our pioneer planting work, nature decided to rearrange our plans.

Last Wednesday, we had one of those 100 year storms. We got over 150 mm of rain in a 24 hour period and there was a lot of flooding and road closures.

Because of the conditions, we hadn’t planned to head up to the farm until next week but Louisa, an ecology student from Unitec who is doing research at CUE Haven on macroinvertebrates in the stream, thought that it would be a good idea to do some specimen gathering on Friday while the stream was still high.  She sent us a message yesterday asking us about “the slip.”

That’s when we started doing some research of our own and we talked to her and she sent some rather alarming pictures.

From the pictures, it looked like the boundary fence with our neighbours, James and Jody, was involved so we let them know and headed up first thing this morning and met up with them to inspect the damage.

We had a look at the area and the pictures Louisa had sent hadn’t done it justice.


That isn’t a meteor impact crater, it’s a picture of the slip taken from the other side of our property.

The grassy area to the top and on the left is the neighbour’s property which is quite steep and there are several tomos (sink holes) on their property.

As far as we can tell the surface layer of clay gave way because of the intensity and volume of water flowing after the rainstorm.  A section of land on a steep slope had let loose and slid all the way down, covering the road and extending into the wetlands on the other side of the road.



The photo below is the view from the neighbour’s boundary.  The loose clay that let go ran over the road and well into an area that had been planted in 2015 and 2009.


And this is how the slip looks from what was previously the road.




The area was planted by a series of volunteer groups between May and July 2015.  Here are some before and after pictures to give you an idea of the extent of the slip.

August 2014 —


Today —


The photo below shows the area right after it was prepped for planting in early 2015—it shows how the road used to go.


Here it is today, the road is shown with a red arrow.


Getting ready to plant in 2015:




This is what it looks like now.  You can see the destroyed fence in the right of the picture.



Planting in the wetlands across the road – a year ago…


Today ….  Besides the trees planted in the wetlands in 2015, a lot of the trees planted in 2009 have also been lost.


Our next steps are to have experts come in to see how stable the remaining land is and what we and our neighbours need to do to safely stabilise it.  James and Jody have already installed a temporary fence further back on their property to keep their cows (and people) from getting too close to the edge.

Now we need to get the road fixed and we’ve already started to change our 2017 planting plans to include areas we thought we’d already planted!

Even though a lot of trees have been lost, we want to again thank the people who worked so hard to plant the trees.  We’re really glad that no one was around when the slip occurred and in the overall scheme of the restoration project this is a minor setback.

We are choosing to focus on the good news which is that winter is coming to an end and the kakabeaks at CUE Haven are starting to blossom.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2016 6:08 pm

    Oh no! This looks to be the place we planted for ISV July 2015. Sad to see this happen but you and Tom are such hardworking people I’m sure it will be back in no time!!

    -Halle Renn

  2. Kevin Mann permalink
    September 11, 2016 11:15 pm

    Just when you could both see the regrowth planting completion in your sights this set back! And we only learned of it today. We have been so overwhelmed with our own little project, so I can not imagine how you felt.But with your usual resolve I am sure you already have a plan.

    Mary Rhona and I send our love.


  3. Simar Preet permalink
    September 5, 2016 3:04 pm

    Sad to see this, please feel free to contact us for any help needed for any planting. Nature is Nature, unpredictable as usual , but CueHaven spirit is admirable as Deborah mentioned earlier.

    Simar preet
    Green S

  4. Brett Davidson permalink
    August 18, 2016 5:21 pm

    Mahrukh and Tom,
    It is so sad to see so much of our hard work go down the drain.
    I feel your pain.
    Be encouraged in the knowing that this is a prime example of exactly why we plant trees in the first place. We need them to stop this sort of thing happening. The only lesson to be learned here is that those trees needed to have been there many years ago. Then they would’ve been strong enough to hold that bank. There’s not much we can do about that, but we will be there to plant it again as soon as you are ready.
    Kind regards,
    Brett from the Air New Zealand Greenteam.

  5. Deborah Moss permalink
    August 15, 2016 1:22 pm

    Devastating photos but your spirit is so admirable! Thinking of you all.

  6. Stephen Lowe permalink
    August 15, 2016 12:23 am

    Hi Guys, so devastating to hear and see your news. It is hard to fight nature especially during the winter. Am sure the experts will come up with a good stabilisation and recovery plan. We are currentlyin Yokohama with Pip, Eddie and Isabel.

    Love to you both
    Pauline & Steve


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