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Spark and Friends—3 November 2017

November 4, 2017

Spark is New Zealand’s largest digital solutions provider and one of New Zealand’s largest companies.  For the past several years, Spark employees have been coming to CUE Haven for their staff volunteer days and have made major contributions to our walking track network.  Over the years, the team has grown to include Spark alumni who have moved on to other companies.

Today’s team included Anna, Chanpreet, Dawson, Giby, Lucian, Luke, Paul, Peter, Philip and Rohan. It was great seeing old friends again and meeting new ones.

The team arrived at nine and over morning tea, Mahrukh gave a quick overview of the CUE Haven project for the benefit of those new to CUE Haven and an update on the latest news for the veterans.  Thomas then gave a description of the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.

The task for the day was to assist with remediating one of the oldest sections of track, which was showing its age with overgrown vegetation and wear and tear.

One of the challenges was that there is no place close to the track that we can drive, so all the tools and equipment had to be carried in—and back!

We got to the site and the team went to work.  The main tasks involved trimming overgrowing branches and grass that had grown on the track.  There was also a lot of digging to widen and level the track sections.

Widening and levelling the track created some risks of erosion and the team built small retaining walls to secure the edges.  They brought up the timber, measured and cut it and installed the boards.

They worked extra hard to get the corners and joints just right to follow the contours of the track!

There was a small old bridge on the track in the area where the team was working, and the original wire mesh installed to help traction in wet weather was deteriorating.  Peter pulled off the old mesh and reinstalled new mesh—another improvement in the track appearance and safety.

There was also a section further down the track where we have been having some erosion issues and Giby, Luke and Philip rebuilt a section of retaining wall. They were meticulous and even cut out and installed wedges to fill in any gaps in their retaining wall.

It’s hard to believe, but after all this hard work and the amount of work done it was not yet 2.00 p.m.!  The team carried up all the tools we wouldn’t be needed and took a well deserved relaxing late lunch.

The team wanted to continue working after lunch to completely finish off the track sections and the last step was to put a layer of gravel on the track to make the surface safe in all weather.

First, we loaded up buckets of gravel and drove them as close to the track as we could.

It was then a challenge carrying the buckets down to the work site.

The buckets were emptied onto the track and the gravel was raked smooth.

The results of the day of hard work are amazing—the team did remediation work on over 100 meters of track which looks better and is more comfortable to walk on too!

It was a real pleasure working with this enthusiastic and hard working group. They developed creative solutions to the track issues–everyone had great ideas and showed a lot of dedication to improving the track and the results are amazing.  The improvements will enable visitors to explore and enjoy the growing native forest safely and comfortably.

A big thank you to Mary at Spark Foundation and Paul for their help with organising the volunteer day and for continuing to champion CUE Haven at Spark.

And many thanks to the ex-Spark employees for their continued support and taking the time out and joining us today to help us.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who joined us today for their effort and hard work.  We know the work was challenging and we really appreciate your dedication and enthusiasm. 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.

 

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