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Spark and Friends—16 November 2018

November 17, 2018

Spark is New Zealand’s leading digital services provider and one of New Zealand’s largest companies.   Since 2013, 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, Charlotte, Dawson, Joe, Karen, Kayla, Luke, Lynne, Martin, Nolan, Paul, Peter, Phil, Pieter, Pramoth, Prathim, Rochelle, Sindhu, Steve, Tom and Wendy. It was great seeing old friends again and meeting new ones.

We spent some time catching up and getting acquainted over morning tea.  Mahrukh gave a welcome and introduction and updated the group on the latest developments at CUE Haven.

Thomas then gave a description of the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.

Because the planned work involved several different activities, we broke the group into  teams to tackle different tasks.  As projects finished, people moved around to different teams.

Stair and Bridge Rails

There are two stairways and one bridge along the walking track where we decided that putting up hand rails would help visitors.   Each of the three projects was very different and required a lot of planning.  Two small teams went out to the field and had a look at each situation and developed a solution.  They then collected the materials they would need and went to work.

The work areas were in some of the remotest parts of the track and we drove in as close as possible to make it easier to carry in all the gear.

The first project was to build a rail along a sloped ramp section of track.  There is a nice bench which was built by a team of students and we thought a railing along the ramp behind the bench was a good safety precaution.

The team decided to install three support posts to attach the railing.  They figured out the best location for the posts.

And the next challenge was digging the post holes.  They even had to temporarily disassemble part of the back of the bench to gain access to the site.

The team also did some repairs to the retaining wall along the side of the ramp to make it more secure.

It was a long walk bringing in the water and cement to secure the posts.

They temporarily installed the rail to hold things together as the posts were secured with concrete.

The railing is a major improvement in the appearance and safety of that section of track.

Another challenging section of track is a narrow ramp down to the stream.  We felt than a side rail would give visitors more comfort and security.

The team decided to install three support posts and two rails.

They dug the holes and cemented the posts in place.

And then secured the rails.

Once the top rail was installed, they measured to determine the positioning of the second rail.

And the end result is a much safer and attractive track section.

The last railing task involved a bridge over the stream.  It is a small bridge and not high off the ground, but visitors enjoy congregating there to watch the stream and rock pools and we wanted to provide some extra safety.

The challenge with this job was to secure the posts to the sides of the bridge.  This involved drilling holes and bolting the posts in place.

Once the posts were secure, the horizontal rails were nailed in place.

And the result is both attractive and useful!

Once all the rail work was finished, the teams collected all the gear and brought it back up to the road.

Track Clearing and Trimming

We’ve had a good spring for growing and a lot of vegetation has been growing over the tracks and boardwalk.   We asked one of the teams to clear the tracks by trimming away overhanging vegetation.  This makes the tracks easier and safer to walk.

It was slow tedious work, but the team worked cheerfully and cleared a very long section of the boardwalk and walking track and then joined the team to work on the boardwalk improvements.

Wetlands Boardwalk Improvements

The Lisa’s Wish Grove in the wetlands is being developed as a memorial area and is becoming one of the main entrances into the wetlands.  We noticed that the track there was very wet and muddy this winter and decided that a new boardwalk would be a good solution.  There were also some sections connecting with the main boardwalk that were not holding up well that we wanted the team to fix up.

The team had a look at the area and planned their work.  The tasks involved included clearing and levelling the area, building boardwalk frames, installing and leveling them and then putting on the top planks.  It all involved a lot of thinking, digging, measuring, cutting and nailing.

After the planning and measuring, it was time to start digging!

While most of the group was digging, the timber needed was cut in the nursery /workshop.

They then assembled and installed the foundation frames.

Meanwhile, Dawson and Lynne took out some of the uneven boards from the old section and fixed them.

It was a challenge linking up new and old boardwalk sections.

As the foundation frames were completed, the top boards were installed.

The job required a lot of nailing and Rochelle kept everyone well stocked with nails.

Getting the irregular shaped pieces on curved boardwalk sections is always a challenge and the team came up with some great solutions.

The new and improved boardwalk sections are a huge improvement that will contribute to the safety and appearance of the area.

The hard-working team insisted on working all day, so we broke for a relaxing lunch after mid-day.

Some of the people who hadn’t been to CUE Haven before also took a break to explore the property.  They had a quick walk down the track, checking out the weta hotels and other sights along the way.

The whole group went back to work after lunch and enthusiastically worked on till well past 5 pm!!

As always, we really enjoyed hosting the Spark and Friends group and we’d like to thank to Paul for organising the volunteer day and for continuing to champion CUE Haven at Spark for the past several years.

And many thanks to Spark alumni, Anna and Steve, for their continued support and taking the time out and joining us again today.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for their effort and hard work today.  For team members who hadn’t been to CUE Haven before, we really enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you better.  And it was great seeing old friends again.  Thanks for your continuing interest, support and most valued contribution.  We so appreciate your interest, enthusiasm and hard work.  It was great to see the way you 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.

We hope to see all of you back at CUE Haven both for another fun and productive day next year and also for a relaxing visit with your friends and families to explore CUE Haven – your community native forest reserve.

Through collaboration we will all stand with purpose

Thank You!!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 17, 2018 1:58 pm

    Very well done all you “bright SPARKS”

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