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Omar’s Family & Friends–13 May 2023

May 17, 2023

Omar David Garcia Hoyos passed away six years ago, and every year since then 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 wonderful volunteer group on Saturday.

The Garcia family are avid tennis players and Hernan is a professional with the Lavie Tennis Academy in Auckland and the volunteer group once again included staff and students from the Academy. 

Friends and family on site today included Agon, Alba, Alex, Ali, Andre, Andrew C, Andrew H, Anna, Anna, Anthony, Bill, Bonnie, Brittany, Dastan, Ira, Jessica, Jody, Kara, Kate, Mike, Omar, Penny, Rosie, Sam, Sonny, Steven, Troi, Vanessa and six toddlers.

Staff and students from the Lavi Tennis Academy included Director, Sebastian Lavie, Senior coach Chris Bint, Fitness Trainer Hernan Garcia and budding tennis champions Damien, Danian, Dorea, Kai, Liam, Lison, Neve, Teo, Una and William

People started arriving around 9.30 and caught up over morning tea.   

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

The initial plan for the day was to do some autumn maintenance—primarily cutting back vegetation that has grown over the walking tracks, boardwalk and fences over the summer.  However, because a rain storm earlier in the week caused quite a bit of damage to the roads and tracks, they also helped with the track remediation work.

The group broke into five teams–each working at different corners of the property. As a result unfortunately we couldn’t get pictures of everyone working.  But they all worked really hard and we so appreciate everyone’s contribution.

Two teams went to the boardwalk and adjoining walking tracks to do some trimming and clean up work and that was something the smaller volunteers could help out with.

Two teams worked on trimming vegetation along the boundary fence. The work involved walking the fence line and trimming back any overhanging vegetation that might be a temptation to the neighbour’s cows and to inspect the fence as well.  Thomas took the groups to their starting points and they went to work.

One team started at the top of the property and worked down.

The second fence team started in the middle of the property and also worked downhill.

It was challenging work and everyone’s arms got quite a workout and the teams managed to clear the entire northern boundary fence. Well done!!

Another team worked on doing some remediation on the main race which had been badly affected by the recent rain.  The stream and drains were overwhelmed by the volume of water coming down in a short time and caused washouts and gullies on the track. 

The team went to work with spades and rakes and buckets to level off the road as much as possible. 

A lot of the issue was caused by the heavy rain washing the gravel off the main road – Kowhai Track – into the drains and onto the boardwalk. So, a big job was recovering as much gravel as possible and raking it back onto the Kowhai Track.

The recovered gravel was loaded into buckets, poured into the ruts and raked smooth.

In order to try to prevent a recurrence of the issue during the next heavy rain, the team cleared and improved the drains.  They even lifted up the footbridge next to the gate and cleared out the drain underneath—a major task!

It was challenging and hard work but thanks to the team’s efforts, the road is a lot easier to drive now.

There were also a few other bits of storm damage the team helped out with. 

They cleared a tree which had fallen across the wetlands boardwalk.

One of the biggest challenges they tackled was recovering two benches that had been on a bridge on the boardwalk that were washed downstream when water came flooding down.

They carefully walked out to where the benches were stuck.

They carried the benches back to the boardwalk.

The benches were returned to their original positions and a brave volunteer also helped dig out some of the clay and debris blocking the stream from freely flowing under the bridge.

The storm was accompanied by high wind and one of the wires supporting the shade cloth in the nursery pulled loose.  A lot of muscle was needed to get it back into position.

After a morning of hard work, everyone broke for a relaxing lunch and socializing. 

After lunch the group took a leisurely walk to the wetlands to visit Omar’s memorial tree.

It was a great day of remembrance and fellowship.  We want to thank the Garcia Hoyos family for their friendship and continued support of CUE Haven and for organising the day and for again bringing their amazing friends to help out.

And a BIG thank you to everyone for giving up your Saturday morning and coming out to help.  It is always 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. Till then….. stay well and keep dry and warm!!


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