Spark and Friends—25 November 2016
Four years ago, a team from Gen-i, a division of NZ Telecom (now Spark) came out to help us with some walking track work as part of their staff volunteer days. Since then, we have had a team from Spark each year, but the team has grown to include Spark alumni who have moved to other companies and their family members as well.
Today we had a group of people from Spark, Qrious, a Spark Ventures affiliate, several Spark alumni, their family members and two other friends of CUE Haven. It was great seeing familiar faces and welcoming new friends.
The group of nineteen arrived about nine and included Anna, Dawson, Eric, Gabriel, Hari, Johannes, Lucien, Luke, Neil, Nitin, Paul, Peter, Phillip, Phil, Sam, Sharique, Steve, Stevie and Tim.
We had a short morning tea and then Mahrukh gave a quick overview of the CUE Haven project for the benefit of those new to CUE Haven. Thomas then gave a description of the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.
Today we asked the group to work on three tasks. The first was to finish off work on a new walking track that had been established earlier this month, the second was to continue to improve an older track that runs through a hilly section of the property and the last was to fix the steps leading to the boardwalk in the wetlands which had become difficult to use.
We broke the group into teams to tackle the projects.
Luke, his son Sam, and Phil took on the challenge of the boardwalk steps. The steps are used by many people who are planting or visiting memorial trees and our older visitors were having some trouble getting up and down the high steps. We asked the guys to study the situation and come up with a solution that would make it easy for people of all ages to walk up and down.
They decided that the best solution was to remove the old steps entirely and rebuild a new set.
Once they decided on the plan, they cut the timber for the new steps.
It was a challenge working in the cramped space, and getting the steps just right took a lot of checking and measuring.
They built up and planked each of the new steps one at a time.
The result is an amazing improvement!
The team also put wire mesh on the steps to provide for better walking traction.
Not only are the new steps safe and easy to navigate, they also look great. Thanks very much guys.
While the boardwalk steps were being fixed, the rest of the group headed further into the bush to work on the old and new tracks.
This section of old track was built along a slope into the wetlands. As a result, it is prone to erosion. The team improved the benching of the track and installed retaining walls along its length to prevent erosion and to dramatically improve the appearance of the track.
The first task involved a lot of digging.
The retaining walls were long planks that were secured in place with pegs and getting them installed involved a lot of measuring, cutting and hammering.
The old track is looking fantastic thanks to the team’s creativity and hard work.
The last project the team worked on was to finish off a new track that we just started earlier this month. The track traverses a steep area and leads to the wetlands. We designed it with a series of switchbacks so that there would be long gentle slopes instead of sections with steep steps. The track had been cleared but we still needed to finish off the retaining and also ensure that the steps connecting the longer sections of track were easy to use.
The first task was to finish off the steps.
The team then worked on retaining walls and boxing in the steps.
The team broke for a late lunch shortly after one.
Instead of relaxing after lunch, this motivated group insisted on going back to the field to do more work! The boardwalk team finished off their step project and the rest of the team worked on putting gravel on the new track that they had worked on. The gravel will keep the track safe for walking in all seasons.
We filled up buckets of gravel down in the car park.
We drove up as close as we could and the buckets were unloaded and carried to the track sections.
The gravel was dumped on the track and raked and smoothed in.
The new track looks amazing.
Future volunteer groups will connect this new track coming down to the wetlands with a long bridge across to the improved old track on the other side.
We had a fantastic day with the enthusiastic and hard working group. They developed creative solutions to the track issues and we were especially impressed with their dedication to the work – they continued working despite the occasional bursts of rain and also stayed on longer to get more work done. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Many thanks to all the non-Spark volunteers for your continued support and taking the time out and joining us today to help us develop a native nature reserve for the community to enjoy for generations.
A big thank you to Paul for organising the volunteer day and for continuing to champion CUE Haven at Spark. And Nitin, thank you for joining us and bringing along your colleagues from Qrious.
Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for all your effort and hard work today. We know the work was challenging and we really appreciate your dedication and enthusiasm. You have all made a major contribution to CUE Haven. Thanks to your efforts, the tracks you worked on will be enable visitors to explore and enjoy the growing native forest safely and in comfort.
We look forward to having you back for another fun and productive day next year. But we hope before then you will come back with your families this summer for a relaxing visit and to explore the rest of the property.