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Rocket Lab–15 April 2023

April 16, 2023

Rocket Lab builds and launches rockets.  The science and engineering staff are located in Auckland and the company operates a launch pad facility on the Mahia Peninsula on the east coast of the North Island.  A team from Rocket Lab volunteered at CUE Haven last year and we were really happy to host another team today.

The Rocket Lab crew arrived first thing in the morning and included Cyril, Davida, Gabe, Elliot, Hubert, Joshua, Kane, Nicholas, Pietro, Shalvin, Shreyas, Simon and friends Lyle and Melissa.  Also joining us for the day was our dear friend and regular volunteer, Alan.

Most of the team were new to CUE Haven so Mahrukh gave a talk about the history and philosophy of the project.

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

The plan for the day was to upgrade a section of walking track that had been originally built in 2013.  A large portion of the track had a lot of wear and no side boards to clearly show the track route.  Plus, the recent weather events had impacted the track even more. We broke the group into three teams and each team worked on part of the track to be upgraded.

One of the challenges of the work today was that this section of track is in a remote part of the property and far from any point where we can drive up to.  As a result the teams had to do a lot of walking.

The first task was to bring down the gear.  You can see that the track needed work!

The next task was to trim away some of the vegetation growing over the track so it wouldn’t get in the way.

Once the area was cleared up, the teams started working on their track sections.  One group put side boards on a sloping section of track, another worked on a long level section and the third put side walls on a long set of steps that only had boards on one side.  Each team took time to study the challenges and come up with a work plan.

They then went to work, starting out by digging channels for the side boards.

One of the challenges was connecting up existing steps, side boards, benches and other structures already on the track.

They used a string line to ensure that everything was lined up.

As the channels were dug out, the boards could be test fitted.  Several needed to be cut to size.

Another challenge was ensuring the boards were level and the channels often had to be repeatedly adjusted to remove high spots.

The team made so much progress we had to bring up some additional timber.

The new timber was quickly put to use.

The boards were secured in place with nails and pegs.

When one side was finished, they switched over to the other.

One team working on a section with steps felt that the steps were a bit steep.  They did some digging and installed a new step which nicely breaks up the gradient.

Getting it level was no problem!

Once the step was installed they could carry on putting on the side boards.

Installing the long boards took teamwork.

The group managed to finish off a 30 metre section of track and wrapped up the job by putting down a layer of metal to make the track easy to use in all weather.

A team filled buckets with metal and we drove them as close to the work area as possible.

The buckets were then carried down to the track where the gravel was dumped on the track and raked smooth.

The empty buckets were taken back and refilled for another load.

By lunch time the entire section was finished and looking better than ever.

The team accomplished an amazing amount of work and everyone should be very proud of their achievements.

After a fantastically productive morning, the teams gathered up all the gear and we headed back to the cottage for a leisurely lunch.

It was a fun and very productive day and we really enjoyed working with everyone and also enjoyed the interesting conversations.

A big thank you to Davida for organising the day.

And many many thanks to everyone for giving up your free day and working so hard.  We enjoyed meeting you all and working with you and we so appreciate your hard work.

You accomplished a lot and have made a major contribution to CUE Haven. Thanks to your efforts the tracks are looking better than ever.   We look forward to seeing all of you again soon.


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