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Old and New Friends—3 October 2020

October 11, 2020

Our volunteer program has been disrupted this year due to the Covid situation and we were very happy when our friend Shelley told us that she and three friends Brett, Karen and Josh A., who had all previously volunteered at CUE Haven, wanted to help out on Saturday afternoon.  And we had the added bonus of Gemma, who designed the CUE Haven viewing platform, for her Masters in Architecture degree project while studying at Unitec, also offering to come out with her friends Alesha, Josh N., Kayla and Martin to help.

The group arrived shortly before noon and we got acquainted over a quick lunch and then Mahrukh gave a short talk about the CUE Haven project for the benefit of the new people and an update on our activities and plans.

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

With work on the viewing platform wrapping up, we have been focused on landscaping the area around the platform to enable visitors to access the area from several routes.  The plan for today was to install some steps along two of the access areas.  We drove up to the site and went to work.

Once on site, Thomas showed the group the work to be done.

The group then split into two teams to tackle the separate projects.

Shelley’s team comprising Brett, Josh and Karen, worked on building a set of steps up to a lookout area.  The digger man had cut out the steps with his machine, but the steps needed to be evened and leveled and boxed in.

The first task was to figure out how many steps we needed and what size they should be.  Fortunately, Brett does this sort of thing for a living and had brought his laser equipment.  As the team smoothed out the steps, he did the calculations.

Once they had calculated the number of the steps and the required spacing, they could dig out the channels for the side boards.

While the channels were dug, Brett measured and cut the wood for the side stringers.

They placed the side boards in position and checked the alignment.

One they were happy with the positioning, the boards were pegged and nailed in place.

The long ends of the pegs were cut off.

The next step was to plan how to install the step risers.

They measured the distance between the side stringers.

And cut the required number of boards to size.

A big challenge was ensuring the boards were straight and correctly positioned in relation to each other.

Once the first board was in place, it was a guide for placing the remaining boards.

Each board was nailed into place.

And measurements were constantly checked.

And under Brett’s expert guidance the team continued up installing the steps.

It didn’t take long to get to the top!

And the top step was put into position.

In just a few hours the transformation is amazing!

Future teams will fill in the steps with soil and gravel and level out the areas at the top and bottom.

Meanwhile, Gemma’s team of Alesha, Josh and Martin went to work on connecting the main walking track with the viewing platform area.  It was a challenging job because the section they were working on is curved, has steps and connects three different areas.

They took some time to study the area and develop an approach.

Once they decided on the layout of the section, they marked it out with pegs and string and went to work digging out channels for the side boards and the steps.

They could then measure and cut the side boards.

And pegged and nailed them into position.

Once the side board was secure, they could dig out the steps and begin installing them.

Because of the three way intersection of paths, the side boards had to be different lengths.  Once the steps were in place, the team could install the shorter side boards, making sure everything was straight and level.

The side boards were nailed into place.

And the remaining steps were installed.

The team made an amazing start on a complex track challenge and their quality work will set a standard for future teams to meet as they finish off the remaining sections.

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who came along today and a special thank you to Shelley and Gemma for organising their teams and to Brett for bringing along tools and know-how that greatly helped our efforts today.

And Gemma, it was really special to have you back to finally see the (nearly) complete amazing platform that you have designed.

Everyone’s hard work and efforts has made a major contribution to the CUE Haven landscape and set a high standard for other teams to follow to complete the task.

We really appreciate you all giving up a beautiful weekend afternoon to come out to help. Thank you so much!! We very much look forward to having you all back soon for a leisurely visit.

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