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Westlake Boys High School—6 December 2017

December 7, 2017

Westlake Boys High School on Auckland’s North Shore is one of New Zealand’s largest schools for boys.  It has a strong focus on academic success and a culture of achievement.

As part of their end of term activities, the Year 9 and 10 students are given the opportunity to work on community projects, and for the third year in a row, CUE Haven has been one of the venues the students can choose from.  Today, twenty-one students selected CUE Haven for their activity day and spent the day helping us with a variety of tasks.  Also joining us for the day were students Yazdy and Richard who regularly help out and have become part of the CUE Haven team.

The group arrived just after ten and included teachers John Foden, Penny Law and Sean McWilliams and students Arsh, Austin, Bitchan, Bowen, Cam, Cole, Ewen, Fergus, Finn, Greg, Henry, Jackson, JC, Joel, Lachlan, Louis, Matthias, Nick, Tim and Vince.

We got acquainted over morning tea and Mahrukh gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and Thomas told the students about the work planned for the day and gave a safety briefing.

Normally at this time of year, our highest priority is walking track maintenance work – this includes trimming back overhanging vegetation along the track and upgrading and fixing the actual tracks.  This year we had an unusually warm and wet spring and that has meant that the CUE Haven forest is growing really well.  But it also means that weeds are doing equally well.  As a result, today we spent time both working on track remediation and track maintenance.

We broke the group into three groups of seven students plus one teacher.  One group went with Yazdy and worked clearing the wetlands boardwalk, the second joined Richard to clear a track at the top of the property and the third worked with Thomas fixing up a section of the gully walking track.

Track Fix Up

This summer we have been working to widen and improve the CUE Haven track system and we asked the students to work on a section of track where we have also installed a bench.  The plan was to widen the track, install a small retaining wall to prevent erosion and to build a set of steps to make it easier to visitors to access the bench.

Thomas took Sean and the students to the work area and the team spent some time thinking about the best way to approach the challenge.

They figured out where they wanted to put the steps and how to route the track and took some measurements.

They then went to work digging out the track and the area for the steps.

In the meantime, other team members brought down the timber for the job.

After they widened the track, they determined the best location for the retaining boards.

The boards were then cut to size

And secured in place with pegs and nails.

The improved track section was then levelled and smoothed.

The next challenge was to build the steps up to the bench. The job required a lot of planning and measuring.

The risers were test fitted before being securely installed.

The alignment of each step was carefully checked.

The last task was to put side walls on the steps to prevent erosion.

When we were finished the team collected all the gear and headed back to the cottage for lunch

The track section and steps are a great improvement and the group should be very proud of their efforts.

Track Maintenance

Richard’s team with teacher Penny, were driven up to the top and they went to work with loppers, shears and secateurs.

We just built this section of track last summer and it crisscrosses the 2016 planting area.  The track doesn’t get a lot of traffic yet and tall weeds have grown up and fallen onto the track and we requested the team to clear the track to make it safe for visitors.

The warm spring has turned into a hot pre-summer and the team had to cope with near record temperatures.

At least they had nice views and a slight breeze.

Yes, there is a walking track in there!

And despite having just one functional arm, this enthusiastic student worked just as hard as the others.

In spite of the heat and the heavy weeds, the team worked hard and covered an amazing amount of territory and managed to clear the entire track section.

Meanwhile, Yazdy’s team with teacher John, worked in the wetlands.

We can’t spray weeds in the wetlands so anything over growing onto the boardwalk needs to be trimmed away by hand.

The wetlands group had no views, no breeze and a lot higher humidity to contend with.  But in no time the hard working team got the entire boardwalk looking great.

They also nailed down any loose wire mesh.

The team also did some weeding in the orchard and the landscaped areas by the cottage.

All the groups then met back at the cottage for a leisurely lunch to cap off a very productive day.

We’d like to say a special thank you to Richard and Yazdy for once again coming out to help. We really appreciate your help and continued support.

Also our thanks to John for organizing the day and many thanks to John, Penny and Sean for supervising the teams and working just as hard along with the students.

And a BIG THANK YOU all the hard working students.  In spite of the heat and difficult conditions you did a great job and made a very valuable contribution to the CUE Haven project.  We enjoyed meeting and working with you and we hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.

We wish you all the best with your studies and we look forward to having you all back again to explore more of CUE Haven.

THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

 

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Remembering Lisa—19 November 2017

November 20, 2017

Lisa’s Wish Charitable Trust (LWCT) was conceived by the late Lisa Knapman-Smith, a wife and mother who passed away from cancer in 2009.  Since 2015, the trust and the Knapman-Smith family have been holding events at CUE Haven and have created the Lisa’s Wish Grove, which has become one of the most iconic features of the CUE Haven landscape.

Rosemarie Knapman-Smith has created a new sign for the Lisa’s Wish Grove and last month, the family – Ian, Rosemarie, Neil and children Nikita and Cort,  spent the Labour Day weekend at CUE Haven to do some maintenance in the Grove and to install posts for the new sign.

They tackled several big jobs.  The first was identifying where they wanted to put the new sign and installing posts to hang it on.  The work involved a lot of digging and measuring.

It was first necessary to determine how deep to dig the post holes.

Once one hole was dug, the location of the next hole was determined.

The posts were cemented in place and the alignment checked carefully.

The new sign wasn’t yet finished and would be installed at a later date.

But the family labored away with other tasks this weekend.  They did some weeding in the Grove.

Potted up seedlings in the nursery—

They also worked on the walking track in the Lisa’s Wish Grove, improving some of the steps.

And Cort helped Ian build a set of steps up to the bench to make it easier for visitors to reach it.

The new steps are a great addition to the Grove and will make it much easier for visitors to access the bench.

The last big job they took on was repainting the Lisa’s Wish Grove arch—always a messy but fun job.

Everyone worked really hard and it was a very productive weekend. Thanks to their efforts Lisa’s Wish Grove is looking better than ever.

Over the last couple of weeks Rosemarie completed work on the sign at home – carving the letters, sanding it smooth and then staining and polishing it.

And this weekend the beautiful new sign was finally ready and installed.

Rosemarie, Ian, Nikita and Cort returned with family friend Jason and his daughters Kaitlyn and Ashley with the new sign.

The first challenge was getting the huge sign down to the Grove!

We then remeasured everything and figured out the best way to approach attaching the sign to the posts which had previously been installed.

We test fitted the sign to mark exactly where to install the mounting hardware.

The hardware was installed with a lot of drilling and wrench-turning.

And with a lot of helping hands we positioned the sign so we could screw in the mounting bolts.

In no time, the bolts were all tightened down and the last task was to paint the posts.

The completed sign is beautiful and a fantastic addition to the Lisa’s Wish Grove.

A big thank you to Rosmarie for designing and creating the sign and many thanks to all the Knapman-Smith family and friends for their hard work developing and maintaining the Lisa’s Wish Grove.

And our heartfelt thanks to the Lisa’s Wish Trust trustees and the Knapman-Smith family and friends for their support over the years and their very generous contribution to CUE Haven.  It is much appreciated. We have really enjoyed your visits to CUE Haven and we look forward to our continued relationship over the years and having you back often at CUE Haven.

Thanks again!!

Fleet Partners—17 November 2017

November 18, 2017

Since 2014, staff from Fleet Partners’ Auckland office have been regularly helping out at CUE Haven and they were back on site today assisting with the walking track maintenance.

The group arrived shortly after nine and included David, Daniel, Rohan, Ross and Vivian.  Also joining us were Vivian’s daughter Sian and her friend Carissa.

We had a relaxing morning tea and Mahrukh gave the group an update on new developments at CUE Haven since their visit last year.

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

The plan for the day was to work on three separate tasks.  The first involved installing a bench on the walking track, the second was to finish off a section of track that we have been working on this spring and the third was to put side walls on an old set of steps that were starting to have some erosion.

We drove up as close as we could to the work site and unloaded the bench and carried all the materials down and went to work.

We had shortlisted three possible locations for the bench and asked the team to decide which they preferred.  They made unanimous decision and cleared the area and dug the holes for the bench legs.  They positioned the bench to determine the best orientation and where to dig the holes.

Digging the deep holes was a challenge.

The bench was set in rapid mix concrete and the team took extra care to make sure everything was straight and secure.

Additional concrete was added and mixed in the holes to make the bench solid.

The new bench is a great addition to the track and will be enjoyed (and appreciated) by visitors to CUE Haven for years to come.

Once the bench was in place, we moved down the track to the next site.  A short section of track needed a side board and the team quickly dug out the track section and installed the boards.

First they brought down the timber and tools.

The next task was to dig out the area for the side boards.

The work required careful measuring and lots of cutting, hammering and nailing.

Once the boards were cut and fitted in position, they were secured with pegs and nailed into place.

The last task was levelling out the track and backfilling the sections that had been dug out.

We then moved on to the biggest challenge of the day—fixing the steps.

This long set of steps is about five years old and has held up well but showing wear and tear, especially from erosion around the sides.

The best way to fix the steps is to put side boards between the risers to keep soil from falling onto the treads.  The challenge is that because the steps were cut into the bank, and the ground is uneven, each one is slightly different so a lot of planning and measuring is necessary to get the boards positioned correctly and looking right.

Because we had a small team today, everyone was able to get involved with the planning and measuring process.

Once the sides were dug out, detailed measurements could be done.

And we brought down more timber for the new side boards.

The new side boards were cut and checked for alignment.

Once everything looked right, the new boards were nailed into place.

One of the old steps was out of alignment and team had taken it out to correct the positioning.  They leveled out the ground and reinstalled it.

The top of the steps was then connected to the track leading to it.

They then moved down to finish off the lower half of the steps.  Once again, it was necessary to dig out the area, fit and nail in new boards.

The last bit was to rake and smooth out the steps and fill in any low areas that had been created by all the digging.

The result is a fantastic improvement and future teams will finish off the other side of the steps and use this team’s’ excellent work as a template.

At some stages during the step work, things got too crowded for everyone to be on the steps at the same time, but rather than take a break, some of the energetic team members tackled the problem weeds that were growing up in the area.

The hard working team then broke for a late lunch but not before taking a ride to the top of the property to enjoy the views of the Kaipara Harbour and check out the site of the proposed viewing platform.

Our many thanks to Vivien for organising yet another productive volunteer day and for continuing to champion CUE Haven at Fleet Partners and also bringing along her family & friends.

A very special thank you to everyone in the hardworking team.  You added a lot value and we really appreciate your efforts.  You came up with great solutions to today’s challenges and we really enjoyed working with you.  We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.  You have made a major contribution to the CUE Haven walking tracks and your efforts will be greatly appreciated and enjoyed by many for a long time.

We look forward to having you all back.

Thank You!!

Wainui School Year 4 Students—14 November 2017

November 15, 2017

Today a great group of Year 4 students from Wainui School came to CUE Haven for a day of learning and exploring.  Most of the students had been out this time last year. It was good seeing them again and we were keen to show them how much had changed since their last visit.

The group of thirty five students were accompanied by teachers Alison Berghan and Wendy Taylor and parents Bron, Clare, Deborah and Nikki.  They arrived shortly after nine-thirty and we started with a quick morning tea, followed by a short update and the planned activities for the day.

The plan for the day was for the students to do a variety of activities which would help them learn about nature and how they can help protect it.  Because of the size of the group, for the morning sessions we split the group into two.

While one group went on a nature walk to explore the CUE Haven bush, the other group worked potting up seedlings in the nursery and doing a field study session on invertebrates. The students later swapped activities so that all students participated in every activity.

In the afternoon the combined group did an activity and learned about conserving natural resources and living sustainably.

Nature Walk

Thomas took half the group of adults and students for an hour long walk in the bush.  Before starting out, he gave a safety briefing and talked a little bit about what they would see on the walk.  He showed them the neighbour’s paddock to give the students an idea of how CUE Haven looked ten years ago and then showed them the 2008 and 2015 plantings so that they could compare the way the trees had grown up.

The group had a chance to again see the area where a landslip occurred during a torrential rain storm in August 2016 and Thomas showed them the remedial planting we were now doing in the area to stabilize the hill slope.

During the walk, Thomas pointed out some of the different planting areas to show the students how the trees were growing and explained the difference between wetland and non-wetland plantings.  He reminded the students about the importance of riparian planting and how the tree plantings had helped water quality in both the CUE Haven stream and downstream in the Araparera River and the Kaipara Harbour.

We walked along the stream where because of the improved water quality we now have banded kokopu and koura living.

The students explored different parts of the bush as we walked along.  In the bush, the students got to see a weta hotel and learn a little bit about wetas.

One of the things we want the students to learn at CUE Haven is the importance of slowing down and connecting with nature and appreciating the natural world.

At the halfway point on the walk Thomas asked the students to stop, be still, close their eyes and focus on their breath for ten seconds.  He then asked them to do it again but this time to concentrate on what they were hearing, feeling and smelling and to experience nature with their eyes closed.

The students then had to describe what they heard and felt. They heard birds, the sound of water, leaves rustling in the wind.  They smelled the fresh forest scent and felt the breeze.  Students also felt calm and happy.

Thomas encouraged the students to continue to walk leisurely and focus on the different colours on a particular section of the track.

At the end of that track, the students talked about the colours they had seen. At that junction on the track, Thomas also showed them the Kaipara Harbour and the Araparera River so the students could see the connection between the CUE Haven waterways and the harbour and better appreciate how improving water quality at CUE Haven was helping the harbour.

The group then headed down to the big puriri tree that our pest control efforts had saved from possum browsing.   That tree has become a home for kereru and a lot of karaka are growing up under the tree after the kereru have dropped seeds.  The students got a chance to see how everything in nature is interconnected—by saving the tree, we attracted birds who are in turn creating more forest by spreading seeds.

Thomas reminded the students of the challenges that native New Zealand plants and animals faced because of introduced pest plants and animals.  He demonstrated the tracking tunnels we use to monitor pest populations and the students got a chance to interpret some prints that animals had left on the tracking tunnel cards we had collected in the field.

Thomas also showed the students the traps we use to control pests.  Last year when the students had visited a stoat had been freshly caught in one of the DoC 200 traps, but this year there was no such excitement.

We finished up with a walk through the wetlands and then headed back to the nursery.

Potting Seedlings in Nursery

While one group was out walking, the other joined Mahrukh in the nursery where they potted up kohekohe, miro, puriri, rimu and taraire seedlings into bigger pots.

Mahrukh gave a potting demo and safety briefing and the students went to work.  They worked in teams and, assisted by the parents and teachers, very quickly potted up a lot of seedlings.

 

 It didn’t take long to finish potting up a lot of plants and as the students finished potting the seedlings, they placed them in the hardening up area of the nursery.  The trees will stay in the nursery for a year or two until they are ready to be planted as infill trees in the bush.

When the planting was finished, it was time for the students to switch from gardeners to budding scientists.  Each student received a magnifying glass and they were asked to inspect and compare the structures of the leaves to their skin to see similarities and differences.

The students noted the fine veins and hair and that led to a good discussion on how all living things – plants and humans, are all connected and need to be looked after.

Auckland Council provided us with a number of educational posters and we hung one about food waste in the nursery.  The students noticed it and agreed to be careful about food waste at home.

Bug Hunt

The students then moved out to the orchard to do some study of insects and invertebrates.  We had previously placed pitfall traps in the orchard so that the students would have some specimens to study.  Mahrukh explained how to use the traps and the students broke into groups.  Assisted by an adult, they examined the creatures they found in the traps and used magnifying glasses and mirrors so that they could study the creatures from all angles.  Using interpretive charts, they identified as many of the specimens as they could.

They also explored the area to see how many of their own specimens they could find.  By digging in the leaf litter under the trees they found an amazing variety of worms and insects.

The students got very creative in finding places to look for bugs.  In addition to the spiders, slaters and beetles they found in the traps, the students also explored the trees and rocks in the area and found snails, slugs and skinks.

And then there were the macroinvertebrates to be discovered in the old water trough.

After both groups had done the walk and the bug hunt, it was time for lunch.  However the students were keen to listen to some native bird calls first and Mahrukh got the students to identify some of the bird calls they would have heard on their walk in the bush.

Although the native bird population at CUE Haven has increased significantly since we started restoring CUE Haven, we are hopeful that sometime in the future all the native birds will be thriving here.

Sustainable Living

Just after lunch a sudden heavy rain shower drove us into the garage to keep dry and we all huddled up and continued out next activity indoors.

The activity was about how to conserve our planet’s resources. The game generated a lot of interesting discussion.

The students broke into groups of five and each group was assisted by a parent or teacher.  Mahrukh gave the students a description of the activity.

Each group had a bowl full of small stones and an empty bowl.  The students were told that they were to take turns moving the stones from one bowl to the other.

Mahrukh counted time as the students worked on moving the stones beginning with the students using only their little fingers and then the little fork, followed by using the teaspoon and tablespoon.

In almost all cases, the student with the tablespoon emptied the bowl and the last person in the circle had no stones to remove.

Mahrukh then asked the students to imagine that the stones represented the Earth’s natural resources and their little fingers, forks and spoons represented the technical progress that has enabled humans to use resources more rapidly over the ages.

The students who didn’t get a chance to move any stones were asked how they felt. Also the students who did get a chance to do the activity, were asked how they would feel if they were left with nothing. Mahrukh then discussed how excessive use of resources would mean that there could be none left for future generations.

The students then spent some time in their groups discussing different ways to conserve resources with the adults facilitating the discussion.

The students will be discussing this exercise and their ideas further in class next week.

Students also given a small lolly each and asked to hold on to it overnight. If they brought it back to school the next day they would get an additional lolly from their teacher. The aim of this activity (based on the famous Stanford Marshmallow experiment) is to teach the benefits of delaying gratification.

Before they left, each student was given a small manuka tree as a gift. The students will be planting these trees in their school and creating a special grove for their class.  What a lovely legacy!!   A big thank you to Scrub Growers Ltd for generously donating these trees.

 It was a great day of learning and exploring.

We would like to thank the Mazda Foundation for a generous grant which helped us purchase the seedlings for the students to pot up.  And thank you, too, to Daltons NZ for continuing to support CUE Haven and generously donating the potting mix.  And thank you to Nestle NZ for providing the yummy hot chocolate which the students so enjoyed.

Many thanks to teachers Alison and Wendy and all the parents for helping out today and helping to make the day so special.

And most of all, a BIG thank you to the students!  We so enjoyed having you visit us again at CUE Haven and your enthusiasm and interest in nature.  We also really appreciate your hard work in the nursery and we hope you had an enjoyable day.  The trees you potted up will someday be huge forest giants in the CUE Haven forest.

We look forward to you all coming back and participating in more activities and seeing the growing native forest at CUE Haven.

Looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

Wainui School Year 3 Students—13 November 2017

November 15, 2017

Today a great group of Year 3 students from Wainui School came to CUE Haven for a day of learning and exploring.

The group of thirty seven students were accompanied by teachers Pam Millar and Maddy Taylor and parents – Janet, Kirsty, Kylie, Lexie, Morgan, Sandy, Tanya and Vanessa.  They arrived shortly after nine-thirty and we started with a quick morning tea and then a short introduction to the CUE Haven project.

The plan for the day was for the students to do a variety of activities which would help them learn about nature and how they can help protect it.  Because of the size of the group, for the morning sessions we split the group into two.  One group went on a nature walk to explore the CUE Haven bush while the other group worked potting up seedlings in the nursery and doing a field study session on invertebrates. The students later swapped activities so that all students participated in every activity.

In the afternoon the combined group did an activity to learn about conserving natural resources and an exercise for the students to think about how they might help protect the natural environment.

Nature Walk

Thomas took half the group of adults and students for an hour long walk in the bush.  Before starting out, he gave a safety briefing and talked a little bit about what they would see on the walk.

During the walk, Thomas pointed out some of the different planting areas to show the students how the trees were growing and explained the difference between wetland and non-wetland plantings.  He also explained how our plantings had helped water quality in both the CUE Haven stream and downstream in the Araparera River and the Kaipara Harbour.

The group had a chance to see the area where a landslip occurred during a torrential rain storm in 2016.  Thomas explained how the slip had occurred, and the remedial planting we were doing in the area to stabilize the hill slope.

In the bush, the students got to see a weta hotel and learn a little bit about wetas.

We walked along the stream and Thomas showed the students where we had found Banded Kokopu and koura living.

One of the things we want the students to learn at CUE Haven is the importance of slowing down and connecting with nature and appreciating the natural world.

At one point on the walk Thomas asked the students to stop, be still, close their eyes and focus on their breath for ten seconds.  He then asked them to do it again but this time to concentrate on what they were hearing, feeling and smelling and to experience nature with their eyes closed.

The students then had to describe what they heard and felt. They heard birds, the stream flowing and the wind.  They smelled the hangihangi and the fresh forest scent.

Thomas encouraged the students to continue to walk leisurely and observe nature on the rest of the walk.  Soon, the students spotted something unusual in the stream.  At first we thought it was a weta that had fallen into the water.  We fished it out.

And it turned out to be a huhu beetle.

We took a good look at it before returning it to the bush well away from the stream. Thanks to the students observing nature more closely they were able to save the huhu bettle from drowning. Good job!

We then continued on the walk and this time, the students were asked to take note of the different colours, other than brown and green, they observed in the bush.

At the end of the track, the students got a chance to describe the things they had seen.  Thomas also pointed out the Araparera River and Kaipara Harbour so the students could see the connection between the CUE Haven waterways and the harbour and better appreciate how improving water quality at CUE Haven was helping the harbour.

We headed back to the walking track down to a big puriri tree that our pest control work had saved from possum browsing.

The puriri has now become a home for kereru and a lot of karaka are growing up under the tree after the kereru have dropped seeds.  The students got a chance to see how everything in nature is interconnected—by saving the tree, we attracted birds who are in turn creating more forest by spreading seeds.

Thomas explained some of the challenges that native New Zealand plants and animals faced because of introduced pest plants and animals.  He explained the trapping activities at CUE Haven and demonstrated the tracking tunnels we use to monitor pest populations as well as the traps we use to control them.

The students got a chance to interpret some prints that animals had left on the tracking tunnel cards we had collected in the field.

We finished up with a walk through the wetlands and then headed back to the nursery.

Potting seedlings in nursery

While one group was out walking, the other joined Mahrukh in the nursery where they potted up kohekohe, miro, puriri, rimu and taraire seedlings into bigger pots.

Mahrukh gave a potting demo and safety briefing and the students went to work.  They worked in teams and, assisted by the parents and teachers, very quickly potted up a lot of seedlings.

It didn’t take long to finish potting up a lot of plants!

As the students finished potting the seedlings, they placed them in the hardening up area of the nursery.  The trees will stay in the nursery for a year or two until they are ready to be planted as infill trees in the bush.

We would like to thank the Mazda Foundation for a generous grant which helped us purchase the seedlings for the students to pot up.  And thank you, too, to Daltons NZ for continuing to support CUE Haven and generously donating the potting mix.

When the planting was finished, it was time for the students to switch from gardeners to budding scientists.  Each student received a magnifying glass and they were asked to inspect and compare the structures of the leaves to their skin to see similarities and differences.

The students noted the fine veins and hair and that led to a good discussion on how all living things – plants and humans, are all connected and need to be looked after.

Bug Hunt

The students then moved out to the orchard to do some study of insects and invertebrates.  We had previously placed pitfall traps in the orchard so that the students would have some specimens to study.  Mahrukh explained how to use the traps and the students broke into groups.  Assisted by an adult, they examined the creatures they found in the traps and used magnifying glasses and mirrors so that they could study the creatures from all angles.  Using interpretive charts, they identified as many of the specimens as they could.

They also explored the area to see how many of their own specimens they could find.  By digging in the leaf litter under the trees they found an amazing variety of worms and insects.

In addition to the spiders, slaters and beetles they found in the traps, the students also explored the trees and rocks in the area and found snails, slugs and skinks.

After both groups had done the walk and the bug hunt it was time for lunch.  The students enjoyed hot chocolate generously provided by Nestle NZ. Thanks Nestle!

Sustainable Living

After lunch, the entire group did an interesting game about resource depletion to help them better appreciate how to conserve our planet’s resources. The game generated a lot of interesting discussion.

The students broke into groups of five and each group was assisted by a parent or teacher.  Each group had a bowl full of small stones and an empty bowl.  The students were told that they were to take turns moving the stones from one bowl to the other.

Mahrukh counted time as the students worked on moving the stones beginning with the students using only their little fingers and then the little fork, followed by using the teaspoon and tablespoon.

They were told to raise their hands as soon as they emptied the bowl.

In almost all cases, the student with the tablespoon emptied the bowl and the last person had no stones to remove.

Mahrukh then asked the students to imagine that the stones represented the Earth’s natural resources and their little fingers, forks and spoons represented the technical progress that has enabled humans to use resources more rapidly over the ages. The students who didn’t get a chance to move any stones were asked how they felt.

Mahrukh then discussed how excessive use of resources would mean that there could be none left for future generations. The students then spent some time in their groups discussing different ways to conserve resources with the adults facilitating the discussion.

One group even experimented with different ways to extract and replenish the stones to ensure that future generations could still have their fair share.

The last activity was a short exercise on kaitiakitangi (guardianship).  The students were asked to think about all of the things they had seen and done during the day and to think about how CUE Haven and its trees and animals should be protected and guarded.

Each student was asked to visualize a kaitiaki (guardian) and to draw it.

Once the drawings were finished, some of the students presented their pictures and their very thoughtful concepts of kaitiakitanga to the whole group.  The students will follow up on this activity in their classes next week.

Before they left, each student was given a small manuka tree to take home to plant and nurture.  And a big thank you to Scrub Growers Ltd for generously donating these trees.

It was a great day of learning and exploring and we want to thank teachers Pam and Maddy, and all the parents for helping out today and helping to make the day so special.

And a huge thank you to the students!  We really enjoyed meeting you and working with you and hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.  We were very impressed with how enthusiastic, polite and engaged were in all the activities.  Thank you for potting up the seedlings.  We hope you will come back to CUE Haven with your families to explore more of the property and see how the forest is growing.

Looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

 

Remembering Omar—11 November 2017

November 12, 2017

Today thirty two family and friends of Omar David Garcia Hoyos spent a day at CUE Haven to remember and celebrate his life.  They visited the memorial tree they had planted for Omar in the CUE Haven wetlands in May this year and then helped out and did some amazing remediation work on the walking tracks.

Friends and family on site today included Omar’s parents, Omar and Alba, his sister Vanessa, his brother Hernan and friends Adriana, Alex, Allyssa, Anna, Ash, Basia, Brittany, Camilo, Dominique, Georgia, Gina, Jessica, Katherine, Kava, Keagan, Lisa, Melisa, Michael, Morgan, Penny, Rizhan, Rosie, Shannon, Sonia, Sophia, Stephan and Troi.

People came and went based on their other commitments for the day, but everyone spent at least a couple of hours and some stayed all day working on the walking track, fixing up sections that had seen heavy wear and tear.

The first group arrived just after nine.

We started off with morning tea, a brief orientation to CUE Haven, the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.

We drove up to the site and went to work.

The main task was widening some sections of track that had been worn away.  This involved digging out and leveling the track surface.

Some of the side walls of the track needed to be retained, so the team cut planks to size and nailed them in place.

Another challenging task the group tackled was fixing up some steps that were eroding a bit.  This required digging out the sides of the steps and measuring carefully and cutting wood planks to create the sides.

There is also a lot of vegetation growing over the tracks after the wet spring weather and some of the group used loppers and shears to trim the bush and make the track easier for visitors to walk on.

The groups accomplished an amazing amount of work before breaking for lunch.  Some people needed to leave after lunch, but another group arrived after lunch and we continued working.  The last task to finish off the refurbished track was to put down a layer of gravel so that the track is easy to walk on and not slippery in wet weather.

The gravel is down by the cottage and a fresh group of strong volunteers loaded it into buckets to take out to the track.

They loaded the buckets onto the truck and we drove them up to as close to the track we could.  There, the buckets were unloaded and carried down to the track.

Then came the challenging job of carrying the buckets down and dumping the gravel, where it was raked into the track surface.

The empty buckets were carried back down and refilled until the new track sections were completely covered.

When the job was done, the group helped carry back all of the tools and unused timber.

The improvement in the track is amazing!

At the end of the day it was time for a well-deserved rest!

We were honored and humbled to host this wonderful day to remember Omar.  It was so nice seeing Omar’s family and friends again and meeting so many great new people.  We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.

Many thanks to Vanessa, for organising the very successful and productive day.

And a BIG thanks you to everyone who came out today to remember Omar and celebrate his life.  Plus you have all made a major contribution to CUE Haven.  We were very impressed with your enthusiasm, creativity and eagerness to get involved. The track improvements you made today will be appreciated and enjoyed the many visitors over the years as they explore the growing native forest at CUE Haven.  We hope you will all come back to see us again soon.

Omar, Alba, Vanessa and Hernan, we wish you continued strength. Your family and friends are always welcome at CUE Haven and we are grateful that we can provide a place where Omar can be remembered and his life celebrated.

ANZ—10 November 2017

November 12, 2017
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ANZ is one of New Zealand’s largest banks.  They have a strong commitment to community service and since 2013, groups of ANZ professionals have been coming to CUE Haven to plant and help with maintenance work and today a group of 8 people from the corporate banking group spent the day helping us with walking track work.

ANZ’s Corporate Banking team members have been volunteering at CUE Haven since 2013 and it was great to see old friends Bion, Kelly, Logan, Phil, Simon and Wei Lun and welcome Emma and Lucie to CUE Haven.

Over morning tea, Mahrukh gave a quick overview of the CUE Haven project for the benefit of those new to CUE Haven and an update on the latest news for the veterans.  Thomas then gave a description of the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.

The task for the day was to assist with remediating one of the oldest sections of track, which was showing its age with overgrown vegetation and wear and tear as well as some erosion.

We got to the site and the team went to work on track sections that needed to be widened. A lot of digging was required.

They also had to cut away some low hanging vegetation to clear the track.

Long sections of the track in that area have been cut into the side of a slope and to prevent erosion on the downslope side, they installed retaining walls along the track edges.

They cut the boards to size.

And carefully installed them with pegs and lots of nails.

There was a small old bridge on the track that went over a small stream.  Over the years, erosion has changed the route of the stream and the area around the bridge was eroding.  The team took a look at the situation and decided that a new bridge was the best solution!

While part of the team dug out the old bridge, a few people went down to the nursery to collect materials for a new bridge.

We found a big old shipping pallet in the nursery that could be used as the foundation for a bigger, stronger bridge and also measured up and cut the timber that would be used to construct the bridge.

We then carried the pallet and timber up to the site.

Positioning the new bridge took a lot of digging and maneuvering.

Once it was in place, the top boards were nailed on.

And then a layer of wire mesh was also nailed on so that the bridge won’t be slippery in wet weather.

The last step was to join up the retaining wall to the new bridge.

The team then carried out all of the tools and unused timber—and the old bridge–back to the nursery/workshop!

Future volunteer teams this summer will continue on improving the track and the excellent work the ANZ group did will serve as a good guide for future teams.

Before a late lunch, we drove up to the top of the property and the team decided to walk down to the cottage to explore more of the growing native bush.

It was great working with this enthusiastic and hard working group. They developed creative solutions to the track issues–everyone had great ideas and showed a lot of dedication to improving the track and the results are amazing.  The improvements will enable visitors to explore and enjoy the growing native forest safely and comfortably.

A big thank you to Bion for organising the volunteer day and for continuing to champion CUE Haven at ANZ.

And many many thanks to everyone in the hard working team for your efforts and enjoyable company.  We know the work was challenging and we really appreciate your dedication and enthusiasm. We look forward to having you back for another fun and productive day next year. But we hope before then you will come back with your families this summer for a relaxing visit and to explore the rest of the property.

Thanks Again!