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Rocket Lab—22 January 2022

January 23, 2022

We were delighted when Holly, one of our enthusiastic young community volunteers, told us that she would like to bring some of her work colleagues out to CUE Haven for a volunteer day.  Holly works at Rocket Lab, a space company that builds and launch 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.

The Rocket Lab crew arrived first thing in the morning and included Cameron, Charles, Davida, Duncan, Emma, Estelle, Holly, Jamie, Joshua, Michael, Nicholas, Rebecca, Sam, Scott, Simona and Sophie. And Scott’s young son, Corban, also join us for the day.

After Covid formalities, we had morning tea and because almost everyone was new to CUE Haven, Mahrukh gave a talk about the history and philosophy of CUE Haven. Thomas then gave a safety briefing and described the work planned for the day.

The plan for the day was to continue work on a walking track we are improving and do a few other maintenance tasks.  Because of the size of the group, we broke into four teams.

One team started off cutting back vegetation that had grown over the track and the access road in order to make it easier to access the area where the others would be working.

Once they finished the trimming, we went up to the top of the property and did some clean up work and filled in gravel in some areas of the walking tracks around Te rite o Taranaki, the viewing platform.

The first step was to fill several buckets with gravel.

The buckets were loaded onto the ute and we drove up to the platform site.

Once at the top, we emptied the buckets onto the track sections that needed more gravel.

Thanks to the team’s efforts the track is looking good and ready for summer visitors.  The team then took a quick break and admired the expansive views from Te Rite o Taranaki, before heading back down and helping out with the other teams.

Meanwhile, the other three teams worked on the track by the wetlands.   The track connects the Manuka Track to the Purei Boardwalk and was established several years ago and needed to be upgraded.  There were three sections that needed work and each team tackled a different section.

The first task was to carry the gear to the site.

Each team had slightly different challenges depending on the terrain and condition of the track.  They took some time to figure out a strategy for each section.

The job primarily involved figuring out the best layout, levelling the track, digging out channels for the side board and installing the boards with pegs and nails.

Once the layout of the track was determined, they did a lot of digging!

They could then test fit the side boards and figure out the angles and amount of cutting necessary.

The teams took extra effort to make sure the track was straight and even.

Once the layout was determined, the boards were cut to size and secured in place.

Pounding the stakes into the hard ground was a challenge.

The boards were then nailed in place.

There was the occasional minor disagreement on the best track design strategy.

But they were all resolved amicably!

And the hard working group covered so much territory they ran out of stakes and Sam volunteered to cut some more.

Even though we’d been working all morning, the teams decided that they wanted to put down a layer of gravel on the track sections they’d completed.  A group filled up buckets and loaded them onto the ute.

We then drove as close to the track as possible—thanks to the earlier trimming team we could get a lot closer than before!  The buckets were unloaded, carried to the track and the gravel was dumped on the track and raked smooth.

The empty buckets were taken back and refilled.

The end result is amazing.  The hard working teams did an excellent job and upgraded almost 40 metres of track!  Great job!

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 the interesting conversations.

A big thank you to Holly and Davida for organising the day.  And many thanks to everyone for giving up a Saturday and working so hard on a hot day.  We enjoyed meeting you all and working with you and we really appreciate your hard work.

You all have made a major contribution to CUE Haven and thanks to your efforts the tracks are looking better than ever.   We look forward to seeing all of you again soon for a leisurely visit this summer and back again for another fun and productive volunteer day. 

THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!