Skip to content

Westlake Boys High School–7 June 2023

June 7, 2023

An important focus at CUE Haven is education and we were very happy to once again host this year’s Year 11 geography students from Westlake Boys High School. The students were conducting field work in connection with their study about how human activity affects water quality in the Kaipara Harbour.

The students were broken into two groups—one visited CUE Haven while the other attended a talk about good farming practices and environment monitoring.   The groups then switched so each group did both activities.  The combined class then did a boat cruise on the Kaipara Harbour. 

A total of 100 students attended and were accompanied by teachers Amy, Andrew, Brad and Taryn.

Andrew set the stage by reminding the students of the assignment and the objectives of the visit.

Mahrukh started each session with a welcome and some background information on CUE Haven and a brief history of the restoration project.

The students’ assignment is to learn about how human activity impacts the Kaipara Harbour and specifically, the causes and effects of sedimentation, how it can be mitigated and the social and economic tradeoffs of alternative courses of action. 

Thomas gave a short safety briefing before taking each group for a short walk around CUE Haven. He explained how different activities (e.g., farming, forestry, urban development) impact sedimentation and also discussed remediation and tradeoffs.

The students got to see some specific examples of how the restoration of the property from farm to native forest had affected the stream, wetlands and the land at CUE Haven, the farms downstream and ultimately the Kaipara Harbour.

The students saw some of the oldest and newest plantings and were able to compare them to the neighbours’ paddocks which are still being grazed.

Thomas explained that changing land use alters the way water behaves, mainly by affecting the direction and speed of flow.  He pointed out that removing the forest canopy increases the peak flow of water and how the water flow from the open paddocks on the neighbouring properties had contributed to a big land slip at CUE Haven during the January 2023 rain storm. 

Near the top of the property, the students had a good look at the Kaipara Harbour.  They were able to see how Wai Matauranga, the CUE Haven stream, feeds the Araparera River and in turn the Harbour.  They were also able to see a variety of land uses—farming, forestry, restoration and residential adjoining the CUE Haven to put the different things they had heard and seen into perspective. 

Once back at the cottage, the students had the opportunity to ask any questions about what they had heard and seen during the visit.

We enjoyed hosting the students and sharing information about the restoration of CUE Haven and its positive effects on the water quality of the Kaipara Harbour. We want to thank Andrew for arranging the sessions and a big thank you to all the teachers for their assistance.

Lastly, many thanks to the students for their time and attention and we hope you found the visit helpful.  We wish you all the best with your assignment and further studies and hope you will come back to CUE Haven for a leisurely visit to explore and enjoy more of your community native forest reserve.