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Omar’s Family & Friends—7 May 2022

May 8, 2022

Ever since Omar David Garcia Hoyos passed away five years ago, his family and friends have been remembering and celebrating his life with volunteer days at CUE Haven. Omar’s siblings, Vanessa and Hernan organized yet another volunteer group for Saturday.

Friends and family on site today included Aaron, Agon, Aimee, Alba, Andre, Andrew, Anna, Ash, Beauden, Briar, Brittany, Chris, Christopher, Damian, Damien, Dorea, Emilia, Fleur, Frances, Francisco, Hernan, Jeremy, Jody, Josh, Kinn, Leda, Lydia, Neve, Omar, Paige, Sebastian, Shannon, Sonny, Vanessa and toddler Emi.  Also joining us for the day were our regular volunteer Lauren and friends and new volunteers David, Kimberley, Nadir, Nancy and Romina.

The group arrived before 9.30 and we had morning tea. Mahrukh gave a quick welcome and an explanation of the CUE Haven restoration project for the benefit of people who hadn’t been out before. 

Vanessa then gave a short talk and thanked everyone for coming.

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

The plan for the day was to do some autumn maintenance—primarily cutting back vegetation that has grown over the walking tracks and fences over the summer.  Because of the size of the group, we broke into three teams.  One team went with Alba to work on the wetlands boardwalk.  Lauren took a team to tackle the main walking track and Hernan and Thomas’s teams trimmed vegetation along the boundary fence.

Alba’s team walked out to the boardwalk and went to work. 

It was a good area to get the smaller volunteers involved with!

Once they finished the boardwalk, they continued on and joined up with some of the other groups.  The boardwalk looks amazing thanks to their hard work.

Lauren’s group headed out to the walking track.

They learned the value of teamwork.

As the teams moved along the track they got a chance to see some of the features of the CUE Haven bush.

Exploring Otakamaitu, a historic Maori site.

And they could see how much the forest has developed since the restoration began in 2008.

Once they finished up on the track, the hard working team went to work clearing up the plantings around the car park and driveway.

Thanks to their efforts, the walking track and entryway are looking better than ever.

The other two teams took on the challenge of trimming vegetation along the boundary fence.  We like to keep the bush about a metre away from the fence, both to enable us to do maintenance and also to discourage the neighbour’s cows from thinking there is something better than grass to eat over the fence at CUE Haven.  It was challenging work but the team managed to clear the entire northern boundary fence.

We drove up to the top of the property and worked down.

It was hard work, but there were some nice views!

This is the length of the fence line (from top left to bottom right in the photo below) that the two teams managed to clear – absolutely amazing!!

Once the trimming was finished, there was still some time before lunch and we requested the enthusiastic group to help us put down some gravel on a newly improved section of walking track.

We went down to the nursery and gathered up empty buckets and loaded them on the ute.

We then loaded the buckets with gravel and carried them down to the site.  It was a long walk!

The gravel was poured on the track and raked smooth.

The empty buckets were taken back up and refilled for another trip.

It was a challenge carrying the heavy buckets but no one complained.

The group covered an amazing amount of track in a short time.

We gathered up all the gear and headed back to the cottage for a leisurely lunch and several people visited the memorial kahikatea tree planted for Omar.

Hernan is the Fitness Trainer for the Lavie Tennis Academy and joining Hernan for the day were tennis coaches Chris, Josh and Sebastian and several students.  You would think that the hard working group had burned off enough energy in the field, but after lunch they set up an impromptu tennis court and had some practice sessions.

It was an absolutely fantastic day of remembrance and fellowship.  We want to thank the Garcia Hoyos family for organising the day and bringing your amazing friends to CUE Haven.

And a BIG thank you to everyone for coming out to help.  It was great seeing old friends and meeting new ones and we enjoyed the many interesting conversations.  And we really appreciate all your hard work and efforts.  You have all made a major contribution to CUE Haven and we very much look forward to seeing you all again soon for another fun and productive day.


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