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Spark and Friends—8 October 2022

October 9, 2022

Spark is New Zealand’s leading digital services provider and one of New Zealand’s largest companies.   Since 2012, 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, family and friends and it’s always great to see old friends and meet new people.

The group arrived first thing in the morning and included David, Dawson, Grant, Haider, Max, Netra, Nhan, Paul, Peter, Philip, Rochelle, Stefane, Shveta and Tim. 

Because almost everyone had been volunteering at CUE Haven for many years, we spent morning tea catching up.  Thomas then gave a safety briefing and explained the plan for the day.

Because of the size of the group we broke into teams and tackled a variety of projects at different sites throughout the property.  Thomas took each team up to their work site and they went to work.

Project 1 –

Haider, Stephane, Phil, Tim worked on installing a railing on some steep steps on an older section of the walking track.

The first task was to bring down all the gear.

The team spent some time planning and measuring the best way to install the railing and to determine how many posts they would need.  Once they agreed on an approach the next job was digging holes for the posts.

To properly support the posts, the holes needed to be quite deep!

Once the holes were dug the posts were installed and tested for alignment.

The posts were secured and it was time to install the top rail. The team agreed on the correct height and angle.

Once in position, the railing was nailed to the support posts.

The last step was making sure the posts were rammed down and secure.

The result is an amazing improvement that visitors to CUE Haven will appreciate for years to come.



Project 2 –

The original CUE Haven walking track followed the stream and several years ago we had installed a bench at the junction of the Riroriro and Titoki tracks.  The bench had been cemented into the ground and subsequently when the Taraire track was built, it joined the old tracks next to the bench.  Since then we have found that the space is a great spot to have students assemble for waicare and other activities. However, the immovable bench meant we couldn’t be flexible in how we used the space. 

In June, a team from Spark volunteering for the day made a fantastic start on redesigning the area. They removed the bench and improved the access to the Taraire track but there was still more work to be done.

The objective was to open up the space so that we can put movable benches and use the space dynamically.

Today’s team comprising Grant, Netra, Paul and Rochelle, spent some time studying the area and planning the work.

Once they had a plan, they went to work digging out the area.

Once the area had been dug out it was time to bring down the timber and install the retaining boards.

The boards were cut to size and pegged and nailed in place.

Some of the boards had to be cut to size in order to fit.

The last step was to join up the angles.

The team also installed side boards on the other side of the steps.

It was a lot of hard work, but the area has been totally transformed and is ready to be metalled and have some benches.  It will make a great outdoor classroom!

Project 3 –

David and Nahn tackled another interesting challenge.  A while ago we had installed a railing on the steps down to the wetlands boardwalk and now we wanted to extend the railing further to help people coming up/down the steps. The first task was to figure out where to place the railing and how to fix it to the boardwalk and existing rail.

Once they developed a plan, they brought down the timber.

And measured and cut the railing boards to size.

They attached the support posts and then installed the top railing, joining it to the old rail.

We also requested them to look at solutions to a section of the Kahikatea boardwalk that has started to slightly subside on one side. After considering various options, it was decided that the best approach would be to install a short railing along the section to provide visitors extra stability as they walked along that short section of the boardwalk.

The railings look great and visitors will definitely appreciate them.

Project 4 –

One of the annual spring maintenance tasks is trimming back overhanging vegetation from the walking tracks and boardwalks. Dawson and Max went to work with loppers and flax cutters and managed to trim back the overhanging harakeke leaves and other vegetation on the entire boardwalk.

Meanwhile Peter and Shveta helped with trimming overhanging vegetation on the roads and walking track.  Peter had brought his battery operated trimmer and worked along the race and other maintenance roads.

Sweta started at the top of the walking track and worked down using loppers to clear the track.

Thanks to the team’s efforts the wetland boardwalks, tracks and roads are looking neater and more inviting for visitors.

Project 5 –

The final project was replacing a small bridge over a drain on the Taraire track that had started to sag because the supporting boards have rotted away.  We asked a team to pull up the old bridge and replace it.

The top boards were in good shape, so the team decided build a new frame and reinstall the old top boards.  We took the pieces down to the shed and removed the top.

Thomas measured and cut the timber planks to size and the team built a new frame out of treated timber.

Once the frame was complete, the top boards were nailed on.

The new and improved bridge was taken back up to the track.

And reinstalled.

The end result is great!

All the teams accomplished an amazing amount of really challenging work and as usual we had a very productive day.

A big thank you to Paul for organizing the visit today and for continuing to champion CUE Haven at Spark and with his friends and former colleagues.

It was great to see everyone working together to develop creative solutions to today’s challenges–everyone had great ideas and showed a lot of dedication to the work and the results are amazing. 

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for their effort and hard work. It was great seeing old friends again and for team members who hadn’t been to CUE Haven before, we really enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you. We so appreciate your interest and enthusiasm, and your contribution and ongoing support is most valued.

We hope to see all of you back at CUE Haven both for another fun and productive volunteer day and also for a relaxing visit with your friends and families to show them your wonderful handiwork as you explore more of CUE Haven.

Thank You!! Thank You!!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. grantyb73 permalink
    October 10, 2022 3:19 pm

    Was a fantastic day, can’t wait to get back up and continuing the good work 🙂


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