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Westpac–14 April 2023

April 16, 2023

Westpac is one of New Zealand’s largest banks and they have a strong commitment to sustainability and community support.  Westpac staff have been volunteering at CUE Haven for several years and today professionals from three groups–Credit Risk, Extra Care and Mobile Mortgage Managers spent a day at CUE Haven helping us with some cyclone remediation work and autumn maintenance.  Joining  us were Andy, Andie, Anokha, Emma, Gretchen, Pooja, Sandy and Sonia who also brought along family members Armaan, Sahil and Tania.

We got acquainted over morning tea and because everyone was new to CUE Haven, Mahrukh spent some time talking about the history and philosophy of the project and future plans.

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

Since the heavy rains in January and the cyclone in February, most of our work had been focused on cleaning up the damage.  There are still some issues to deal with but as a result of that focus, some of the regular maintenance work has gotten backed up.  The plan for the day was for two teams to work on weeding the landscaping around the viewing platform and trim vegetation that had grown over the roads.  The third team worked on fixing a section of track that had recently started flooding due to runoff from the neighbour’s farm.

The first team started at the viewing platform.

They worked around the landscaped area and cleared out the weeds which had grown up.

Once they finished the weeding, they moved down the main road, trimming back vegetation that was growing over the Kowhai Track – the main road up.

The team made really good progress and cleared over half the road. Well done!

The second team started all the way at the other end of the property from the entrance gate—cutting back flax and other trees that were growing on onto the driveway.

The hard working team managed to trim back overhanging vegetation along the driveway and entire car park area—great job.

The third team worked on fixing a section of walking track along the fence with the neighbour.

CUE Haven is lower down in the catchment than the neighbour, and gets a lot of runoff from the adjoining farm.  We have built bridges and boardwalks on the walking track over wet areas and historically that has been sufficient.  However, the unusually heavy rains this summer have resulted in a previously dry areas of track becoming over saturated and very muddy. 

We requested the team to have a look at the area and come up with a solution. Although it’s likely that the area would eventually dry out naturally, we felt that to future proof the track against more wet weather, the best thing would be to dig a drainage trench alongside the track to keep water off the track.

The team went to work in muddy challenging conditions, clearing the track and digging in.

Once the trench was finished, the next task was to fill it in with rocks and gravel.  We gathered up some bigger rocks as a foundation layer and also filled bucket of gravel.

The buckets were loaded onto the ute and driven to the nearest spot to the track.

The buckets were carried down to the track and the trench was filled in and the track was covered with gravel.

Once the track has a chance to dry out in a few days, the next team of volunteers will level it and tidy it up.

We know that the team’s solution is working because in just a few hours, water was already collecting in the trench and draining away from the track.

When that task was finished we moved farther up the track to clear the drains on another section of track that gets a lot of runoff from higher ground.

Thanks to the team’s hard work the track sections are getting ready for wet winter weather.

Each of the teams accomplished an amazing amount of work and made a very valuable contribution to CUE Haven and we ended the day with socialising over a relaxing lunch.

Many thanks to Kellie and Gretchen for organising the volunteer team and a BIG Thank You to everyone who came out today!  We very much appreciate your hard work and efforts and all that you accomplished.  We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did and look forward to your continued support and having you out again for another fun and productive volunteer day.

And we also look forward to having you out with your friends and family for a leisurely visit soon to explore more of your community native forest reserve.

Thanks again!

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