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ANZ Retail Business Southwest–23 February 2023

February 24, 2023

Today we had a great team from ANZ’s Southwest Auckland Retail Business group out to help for the day.  

The team comprising Allan, Devendra, Fazi, Manny, Min, Murad, Sandy, Susan, Tyerell, Usha and Vincy arrived first thing in the morning, and because several of them were new to CUE Haven, over morning tea and introductions, Mahrukh also gave a brief description of the CUE Haven project and activities, and plans for the future.

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

Originally we had planned to have the team help out with some routine track maintenance, however, last week Cyclone Gabrielle did a lot of damage to the CUE Haven bush making the roads and walking tracks impassable with fallen trees and debris.

As a result, we requested the team to help out clearing the track with loppers and hand saws and rakes.  We hadn’t been able to walk the tracks because of downed trees and we didn’t know what to expect and how much we could realistically accomplish.  Our overriding concern was with safety so we could only tackle manageable trees and branches.

The plan was for an advance group to move up the track and clear major blockages and then the rest of the team would follow, trimming and clearing the track as much as possible.

We carried the gear out to the track and went to work.  We had to walk pass Wahi Matauranga where we had a big slip due to the heavy rain.  Unfortunately, some of the signs were partially buried but a couple were visible at the edge of the slip.  We were concerned that when the digger man clears the slip in the coming weeks the signs might be damaged beyond repair and the team kindly went to work digging out the ones that were easily accessible under the clay.

We carried on to the walking track, bringing the loppers and saws and tools in buckets.

Just a few meters into the track we found the first blockage.

The first task was to assess the area for safety to ensure that there was no danger of falling limbs or further movement.  The team then had to determine the best way to tackle the obstacle and whether to use loppers, saws, machete or another approach.

As a track section was cleared, the team moved down the track until the next blockage.

Each challenge was different and required a different solution.

It took a lot of teamwork to cut out some of the bigger trees.

Some branches were too big to cut out by hand so Thomas used the chainsaw to cut them down to manageable size.

Once the sections were cut they could be carried away.

Once the big branches were cleared, the rest of the team could come through with loppers and clear up smaller branches.

The team continued up the track—it was always nice when the blockage was just some small branches that could be moved away easily.

But usually, around the next curve was a bigger blockage.

Sadly, several track sections which used to be sheltered under the canopy cover are now exposed, but it won’t be long before new trees will fill in the gaps.

And another example of a relatively easy challenge . . .

. . . followed by a big one.  The first task was to find the track!!

As the more of the track became passable, the team came through with rakes and loppers and cleared up the track as much as possible.

In just a few short hours a huge section of track has been transformed and is now usable—the team was amazing.

We gathered up all the gear and headed back to the nursery to clean up and a well earned leisurely lunch.

The team worked very hard and helped clear 600 metres of walking track and definitely managed the biggest problem areas.  Other teams will help us clear more of the tracks.  There are some areas where we will need professional arborists to remove some of the 150+ year old big totara and kahikatea trees in the gully that unfortunately have fallen and blocked access to the Ruru and Taraire tracks.

Considering all the damage that the January floods and Cyclone Gabrielle have caused and the thousands of lives, livelihoods and properties that have been affected, and our thoughts are with those people.  We are counting our blessings. Fortunately, no one was hurt at CUE Haven and the cottage, nursery and viewing platform were not damaged. Roads and tracks can be repaired and trees replanted, and the forest at CUE Haven will be flourishing soon.

Many thanks to Tyerell for organising the day and championing CUE Haven within ANZ.  And thank you too, for all your hard work and great leadership in the field.

A huge THANK YOU to the entire team.  We enjoyed meeting you all and getting to know you and look forward to having you back out for a leisurely visit and also returning next year for a more ‘normal’ volunteer day. We have never had a volunteer team tackle such a huge challenge and you exceeded our expectations in a challenging situation. Thank you all!! 

You have all made a major contribution and your efforts are a major first step in restoring and getting the CUE Haven community reserve flourishing again.   

Many thanks for your help!!

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