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Westpac Sustainability, External Communications and HR—September 2020

October 2, 2020

We started off our spring track maintenance season with a fantastic group from Westpac’s Sustainability, External Relations and HR departments.

Westpac is one of New Zealand’s largest banks and they have a strong commitment to sustainability and community support. Over the years, several teams from Westpac have helped out with planting and track work at CUE Haven.

Today’s team arrived bright and early and included Afiafi, Clementine, Daisy, Jasmine, Kate, Kenny, Lauren, Max and Paul.

Although Westpac teams have volunteered at CUE Haven in the past, everyone on this team was new to the project so after we spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea, Mahrukh then gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and our current activities and plans.

Thomas gave a safety briefing and overview of the work plan for the day.

The plan for the day was to upgrade a section of track near the top of the property.  The original track was built in 2014 and has had some wear and tear and areas for improvement.  Once in the field, we carried all the gear down to the work site and went to work.

We broke into two groups and each team focused on two different track challenges. However, the groups were quite fluid and the teams were flexible with people moving back and forth between teams.

One team tackled the job of putting side walls along a section of track to protect against erosion.  The first task was to figure out the best route for the improved track section.

Once the route through the trees was determined, they dug out the channels for the side boards.

The team could then install side boards.  The boards needed to be cut to size and then nailed in place.

The boards were secured with pegs.

The team worked down both sides of the track, widening the track and installing side boards.

They found some totara seedlings growing on the pathway and “rescued” them by replanting them in the bush.

And then continued with the track work.

They continued down the track where they encountered some big roots and stumps which needed to be cleared.

Then carried on putting side boards on the track section.

While the first team worked on their section of track, the second team did some work to improve access to a bench along the track.   The bench was slightly elevated, so the team had to plan the best way for visitors to access it.

They studied the area and decided that a small step was necessary to access the bench and went to work digging out the area. There was also a tree near the bench that the team wanted to keep in place and they had to work around it.

Once the area was cleared and leveled, they installed the step and boards around the bench area.  The step was a thicker board held in place with pegs.

The level of the step was checked with the spirit level and then the side boards were installed.

The boards had to be cut to fit before they could be nailed into place.

The two teams linked up and finished up the track area around the bench.

The hardworking and enthusiastic team were determined to complete their track upgrade and so we went down to the gravel pile in the car park and filled buckets to spread on the areas of the track they had remediated.

We drove the buckets up as close as we could get to the work site and carried them to the track area.

The gravel was dumped on the track and leveled off.

It was a challenging job, but the improvement in the track is amazing.

Here are pictures of the track before:

And after….

What a fantastic improvement!!!  Future teams will continue with the upgrade further down the track.  Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we have made a great start for continued improvement to the track which is now wider and easier for visitors to navigate.

A big thanks to Jasmine for organizing and coordinating the Westpac visit today.

And a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone for your enthusiasm and hard work. It was great meeting you all and we thoroughly enjoyed working with you.  You all have made a major contribution to CUE Haven and your efforts will be greatly appreciated by visitors as they comfortably walk the tracks to explore the growing native forest.

We hope that you will come back to CUE Haven soon with your family and friends to explore more of your community native forest reserve. And back again next year for another productive volunteer day!

Thank You!! Thank You!!

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