Skip to content

Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Residential—16–20 January 2017

January 22, 2017

This week we celebrated a milestone at CUE Haven as we hosted the twentieth DoEHA Gold Award residential.  Since 2013, groups of gold award participants have spent a week working on walking tracks, planting, maintenance and art work.

The group arrived on Monday morning and included Amber, Anthony, Ari, Daniel, Holly, Janessa, Jeremy, Kevin, Lucy and Zoe.  Juancho, who had been a participant in the October, 2016 residential, was the team leader.  We were also happy to find out that older siblings of three of the participants had done their Gold Award residentials at CUE Haven.

1

Andy Woodhouse, DoEHA Director of Training and Development also joined us for several days during the week.

We got acquainted over morning tea.  Mahrukh then gave a welcome and history of the CUE Haven project and Thomas gave a safety briefing and an overview of activities planned for the week.

2

Summer is maintenance season at CUE Haven, so the work plan for the week focused on weeding and track maintenance. However the team also worked on other projects.

Track Clearing

The good news is that the trees we’ve planted are growing well.  But that means that they are also growing over the roads and walking tracks.

3

To improve the safety and ease of use of the roads and tracks, we asked the group to trim back the vegetation overhanging the tracks to give visitors easy access.  Over the course of the week all of the participants worked on different parts of the track.

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

Walking Track Improvements

The walking tracks need regular maintenance, especially after winter when we learn how water flows and ground movement may affect the track surface.  We identified a number of areas where steps on the track were subject to erosion or where ground movement had affected the alignment of the steps and asked the group to fix the issues.

This kind of track maintenance can be challenging because no two situations are the same and each step and section of track has to be studied and evaluated to determine the best solution.

12

Very often, part of the solution involves building a side wall on the step to box it in and prevent soil from falling onto the step or washing away in heavy weather.

This involves first digging out the side of the step.

13

14

Once the digging is finished, accurate measurements can be made and the timber is cut to size.

15

16

The side boards are then fitted into place and secured with nails and pegs.

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

Step Widening

Some of the steps on the older parts of the walking track were made 500mm wide instead of 1000mm which is our current standard.  In order to make all of the track sections uniform, we have been widening existing steps.  To conserve timber, rather than removing the existing step timber, we have chosen to add side pieces to each step.

The job is a little like putting together a puzzle, because each step extension is a little different.  The first job is cleaning up each step and digging out the area to be enlarged.

25

26

27

28

Although 500mm of new timber is being added to each step, in order to maintain proper alignment of the steps, it is necessary to measure each one and cut the new side pieces to shape.  The measurements of each new board were recorded and we then cut the timber.

29

30

We took the new boards back up to the track and installed each one.

31

32

Each new board was pegged and nailed in place and the result is almost a brand new set of steps which will make walking on them easier!

33

34

Weta Box Platform

Just down the track from the DoEHA hut, wishing well and chessboard, we installed a weta hotel on an old fencepost.  The hotel almost always has a group of wetas that visitors can take a look at.

The access to the fence post however can be difficult, especially in bad weather.  Visitors had to walk down a slippery slope and avoid some vegetation.

35

We asked a team to come up with a solution that would protect the wetas and provide a safe access for visitors. After some discussion they decided to move the weta hotel—post and all—to a more central place but still out of the way of the track and build a small platform where visitors could inspect the wetas.

36

This involved digging a new hole for the fence post.

37

We decided to build the platform out of an old shipping pallet which would be planked over.  Part of the team stayed on site to clear the area and dig out a step down from the track to the platform while others went down to prepare the pallet and cut the timber for the top boards.

38

They then carried the materials back to the site.

39

Throughout the process, we kept checking to make sure the resident wetas were happy

40

Once the post was moved to the new location, the step and platform were then installed.

41

42

43

And the top planks were nailed in place.

44

45

The result is a great improvement.  We hope to have some educational signs about wetas installed nearby in the future.

46

Mosaic Landscaping

During the earlier gold award residentials, participants had created a large mosaic of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary award logo at one entrance to the DoEHA Grove.  Subsequent teams have improved the area with benches and landscaping but a lot of weeds had grown up.  Lucy and Zoe took on the task of clearing the weeds.

47

It was an exhausting job!

48

But the results are well worth it.

49

Benches

Because the walk up to the top of the property can be quite steep in places, we have been installing benches along the way for visitors to rest and enjoy the scenery.  We told the group that if we had time we might build a bench this week.

They came up with a nice design for a bench with a back rest and measured out the timber they would need to build the bench.  Andy trained and supervised them as they cut out the wood.

50

They then assembled the bench.

51

52

While Holly and Janessa continued with the assembly, Amber tackled the project to carve the DoEHA logo onto the front of the back rest of the bench.

53

54

And they all carved their names on the back.

55

And then installed the back to complete the bench.

56

The next day was very wet and we couldn’t install the bench or work outside so the team decided to build another bench!   This one was simpler and didn’t involve any carving work.

57

58

On Friday, the entire group helped install the benches in the field.  First we used the girl power to load the benches into the ute.

59

60

We then carried the benches to the sites we’d chosen for them and installed them.

61

62

63

The benches are a great addition to the track and will be enjoyed (and appreciated) by visitors to CUE Haven.

64

65

Chessboard Painting

Earlier teams had built a large chessboard, complete with chess pieces and checkers up behind the DoEHA hut.  The chessboard was made of concrete and the black squares were made by embossing a design in the wet concrete.  Over the years because of the weather, the pattern was getting worn away and we decided to paint he squares so that they would show up better.

Amber took on the task, working on her own so she could concentrate on getting it just right.

66

And the result is amazing!

67

68

Rainy Day Tasks

Even in winter, it has been very rare for residentials to be interrupted by bad weather but on Thursday there was a huge storm that badly affected the southern part of the country and dropped a lot of rain on us.

It was too wet to spend much time in the field so we did a lot of small jobs in the house and nursery.

We park the ute next to the nursery and there is a shade cloth over the area.  Over the years because of wind, the shade cloth as rubbed on the supporting post.  The team fixed up the holes as best as they could using Ari’s very creative sewing and installed some shielding over the rough spots on the posts to prevent further wear.

69

70

71

72

When CUE Haven was a farm, the nursery was the milking shed and the area outside what is now the store room was a water trough.  The ceiling is very low in that area and people over six feet tall often bop their heads.  Because we can’t lift the roof any further, we decided to cushion the area.

The creative team spent some time deciding the best approach and then cut a notch out in a foam swimming pool noodle so that it could be hooked to the overhang.

73

74

75

Once it was attached, they tested to see how well it did the job!

76

Another task involved fixing two of the DOC 200 traps we use for pest control.  One had a broken base board and another lost a top.  We cut new boards out of plywood and installed them and the traps are now good as new.

77

78

79

We really appreciate the creativity and enthusiasm the participants brought to these miscellaneous and unplanned tasks and appreciate their patience in dealing with the weather.

It was an amazingly productive week and we really enjoyed working with this group.   In addition to their hard work they also spent a lot of time getting to know each other, exploring the property and relaxing.  Jeremy amazed everyone by quickly solving our locked cross puzzle which has been challenging numerous people for a long time.

80

And Ari spent some spare time designing a prototype for a sun dial that we might build in full size and install in the field someday.

81

We’d like to thank Andy Woodhouse for taking time out of his busy schedule to assist with the residential and make it a fun and productive week.  Andy, we really appreciate your hard work and help this week and your continued support of our efforts at CUE Haven.

And many thanks to Juancho for serving as team leader and making a major contribution to the success of the residential week.

82

And of course, a huge THANK YOU to all the hard-working participants.  We really enjoyed meeting you and working with you.  We were very impressed with your enthusiasm, motivation and hard work and we hope you enjoyed the week as much as we did.  You have all made a major contribution and your efforts will be appreciated by the many visitors and volunteers at CUE Haven over the years.

83

We wish you the best of luck with completing your gold awards and all the best in all your future endeavours and we hope you will come back to see us again with your family and friends and to serve as team leaders.

Many Thanks again!!

the-duke-of-edinburghs-hillary-award-logo

Lisa’s Wish Charitable Trust Camp—13-15 January 2017

January 17, 2017

Lisa’s Wish Charitable Trust (LWCT) is an organisation conceived by the late Lisa Knapman-Smith, a wife and mother who passed away from cancer in 2009.  Lisa’s vision was that the Trust would provide support and activities for children whose parents or caregivers have been diagnosed with cancer.

Since January 2015, we have been hosting weekend summer camps for LWCT participants who have created the Lisa’s Wish Grove at CUE Haven.  The Grove is near the entrance to the property and virtually all visitors to CUE Haven use the walking track through the Grove that the participants have built and improved.

This weekend we hosted the third camp for LWCT young adults and some of their friends.  The group arrived on Friday afternoon and included Caitlyn, Jayden, Matthew, Nikita, and Tahnee.  The camp leaders were Juliet Ireland  and LWCT trustee Ian Knapman-Smith.

1

We got acquainted over a snack and gave the group a welcome and an overview of the CUE Haven project and a safety briefing.

They then unpacked and we went for a walk to the Lisa’s Wish Grove where we discussed the plan for the weekend.

2

The first and biggest job was to make some improvements to the Lisa’s Wish Grove walking track, the second was to prune back vegetation that had grown over the boardwalk.

A large portion of the Lisa’s Wish Grove is in the wetlands and the walking track has been built on both firm ground and one section is a bridge over a wet section.  As visitors use the track, we find ways to improve it and the two things we wanted to accomplish this weekend were (1) fixing the steps at the entrance to the Grove to make them easier to use and (2) extending the boardwalk bridge to link up to the existing wetlands boardwalk and to eliminate an inconvenient step.

The team spent some time on Friday looking over the track and coming up with solutions to the different challenges.

3

4

They went to work early Saturday morning and quickly made a lot of progress.  The group broke into two teams, one tackled the entry steps and the other worked on the boardwalk section.

Fixing the entry steps involved two main tasks—boxing in the sides and making the steps less high.  This involved a lot of digging:

5

6

7

And then careful measuring:

8

Using the measurements, boards were cut to box in the sides of the new steps.

9

10

The boards were secured with pegs and nailed into place.

11

12

The result is a set of entry steps that are easier to use and better looking!

13

14

The team found another set of steps that they wanted to improve.  One of the issues was that because of the slope of the ground and the water runoff, there was a potential for erosion.  To fix the problem, they dug out a section of the bank and built a retaining wall to hold it in place.

15

16

The team used a post hole digger to make the holes for the retaining wall posts.

18

19

And then cemented the posts in the holes and attached the planks to create a retaining wall.

20

Connecting the Lisa’s Wish boardwalk to the main wetlands boardwalk was a challenging job.  First the team had to determine how to build the connecting section.

21

It was necessary to cut the supporting boards to size to install them and the team had to carefully check their measurements and levels.

22

They dug out channels where the supporting beams would be installed.

23

The supporting frames were then nailed into place.

24

25

26

27

The team decided to take a break from track work and they spent some time trimming vegetation on the main boardwalk.

28

29

30

31

They then went back to finishing off the boardwalk sections and installing the top planks.

32

33

The final task was installing the wire mesh on all the new sections of the boardwalk to make them safer for walking on when wet.

34

35

We really enjoyed working with the team and really appreciated their enthusiasm and dedication.  You can see what they accomplished with these before and after pictures.

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

It is fantastic to have the Lisa’s Wish boardwalk joined up with the main wetlands boardwalk.

44

Congratulations! An absolutely amazing accomplishment considering the short time the team was at CUE Haven.

The Lisa’s Wish boardwalk is a great addition to CUE Haven and a wonderful legacy to the memory of the late Lisa Knapman-Smith.

We want to thank LWCT trustee Rosemarie Knapman-Smith for all her efforts with organising the camp and her on-going support.

Our heartfelt thanks to Ian and Juliet for all their hard work and leadership which helped make this camp so successful.

45

46

And a BIG thank you to the participants.  We enjoyed meeting and working with you all and thank you so much for all of your hard work on a very hot weekend!  You have made a significant contribution to Lisa’s Wish Grove and to the CUE Haven project. The track and bridge you built will last for many, many years and will enable visitors an opportunity to explore the wetlands and Lisa’s Wish Grove comfortably and safely.

We wish you all the very best with your studies and do look forward to having you all back again to visit us.

Lisa's Wish Charitable Trust logo

 

 

Seasons Greetings

December 31, 2016

Seasons Greetings!

lacebark-march-2016

Lacebark (Hoheria populnea) tree in flower at CUE Haven – March 2016

The tree was just 30 cm tall when planted as part of the restoration planting in June 2011.

 

To our most amazing volunteers & supporters –

2016 was a great year at CUE Haven thanks to all of you.

We wish you and your dear ones

a healthy, happy, peaceful and prosperous 2017.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

We very much look forward to seeing you again at CUE Haven.

Warm regards and best wishes,

Thomas & Mahrukh

A New Addition At CUE Haven

December 23, 2016

One of our aspirations for CUE Haven has always been to make it a place that the community felt a sense of ownership and pride in. And one of the most rewarding aspects of the project is seeing people become connected to each other and the property.

As a result of a whole series of wonderful community connections, we now have a fantastic addition to the CUE Haven landscape.

A few years ago our friends, Renate and Sol introduced us to Piet, who is a horticulturist and loves growing rare and endangered plants.  Pete introduced us to the kakabeak, a native NZ plant that is endangered, and he gifted us a few small kakabeak plants to grow at CUE Haven. After a few challenges and setbacks we now have three beautiful kakabeak bushes which flower profusely in late winter/early spring.

1

Last year, our friend Shanthie asked if she could bring her friend, Deborah Moss, who is an artist and a writer, for a visit to CUE Haven while we were away overseas.  Shanthie and Deborah spent some time exploring the place.  The kakabeaks were blooming and Deborah was inspired by them and created a beautiful big sculpture titled – She Will Always Bloom – Ode to the Kakabeak.

Deborah’s beautiful sculpture was selected for display at the Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens – Under the Kaipara Skies 2016 Exhibition which featured unique works of talented NZ and international artists.

When the sculpture exhibition ended in October 2016, Deborah got in touch with us to say that she wanted to gift her beautiful work of art to CUE Haven. Wow!!

We are totally overwhelmed by Deborah’s generosity and are thrilled to have a beautiful art work of a very talented NZ artist on permanent display at CUE Haven.

2

TITLE: SHE WILL ALWAYS BLOOM – ODE TO THE KAKABEAK

 Materials: Perspex, exterior paint, UV exterior protective glaze, marine cable wire, powder-coated, zinc-dipped galvanised steel. Hand-painted and glazed both sides.

H x W x D: 3100 x 1500 x 100mm.

Deborah Moss, Artist & Writer comments —

The phrase “endangered species” is often associated with animals. I wanted to feature New Zealand’s most endangered native plant as a reminder of how other natural specimens are also threatened.

The compass symmetry of my piece references global conservation efforts and our interconnectedness – a reminder that when a species is threatened or lost anywhere, it is significant to the entire world.

By celebrating the beauty of the Kakabeak in this magnificent setting, which is in close proximity to the only remaining wild species of the plant found on Moturemu Island in the Kaipara Harbour, I hope to provoke discussions about endangered plants and threatened habitats and our capacity to take steps to achieve a positive outcome for our generation and future generations – so they can “always bloom.”

~~~~

Last month we finally had an opportunity to meet the very lovely Deborah Moss when she came out to CUE Haven with her husband, Aaron, to help us select a suitable site for the sculpture which we have now named the “Kakabeak Platform.”

When we did site prep for the planting and put in access roads, we had the digger man create several platforms that we used to stage the plants before they were planted.  They have been gravelled over and there was never any plan to plant them. We always intended to turn them into rest/picnic areas for visitors with benches and artwork. The largest of these platforms is also the closest to the property entrance. We selected this site as it would be easy for visitors to get to without having to take a long walk.

A few days later, Aaron came out with Paul, an industrial designer, to install the Ode to the Kakabeak sculpture in its new home on the Kakabeak Platform at CUE Haven.

3

The sculpture is 3.1 metres high and the easy part was digging the hole!  The hard part was positioning the sculpture at the correct angle and ensuring it was straight.

4

5

6

The sculpture is a fantastic addition to the CUE Haven landscape.  Our plan is to plant kakabeaks around the platform and to install benches for visitors to enjoy the area.  May the kakabeaks always continue to bloom at CUE Haven!

Here is a virtual tour of the Kakabeak Platform—but it won’t look this way for long as we continue to plant it out and develop it further.

7

8

9

10

Our heartfelt thanks to Deborah for her most amazing gift.  It is really wonderful knowing that people feel a special connection to CUE Haven and want to contribute their time and talent to create something beautiful and share it with the wider community.

Thank you very much Deborah.  We know your amazing work of art “SHE WILL ALWAYS BLOOM – ODE TO THE KAKABEAK” will help raise awareness of our beautiful endangered plant.

11

Deborah admiring the kakabeak flowering at CUE Haven.

The phrase “endangered species” is often associated with animals. I wanted to feature New Zealand’s most endangered native plant as a reminder of how other natural specimens are also threatened.

The compass symmetry of my piece references global conservation efforts and our interconnectedness – a reminder that when a species is threatened or lost anywhere, it is significant to the entire world.

By celebrating the beauty of the Kakabeak in this magnificent setting, which is in close proximity to the only remaining wild species of the plant found on Moturemu Island in the Kaipara Harbour, I hope to provoke discussions about endangered plants and threatened habitats and our capacity to take steps to achieve a positive outcome for our generation and future generations – so they can “always bloom”.

Deborah Moss, Artist & Writer

You can learn more about Deborah and her work here.

12

13

CUE Haven is Buzzing!

December 15, 2016

Ever since we started the restoration project, we have planned to have bee hives on the property. both to help the pollination of the trees and also to provide a safe habitat for bees.

Earlier this year, Richard Stevens, an ecology student at Unitec in Auckland did a 90 hour practicum at CUE Haven.  Richard has also studied apiculture (beekeeping) and we asked him to help us establish a small apiary on site in amongst the over 160,000 trees our volunteers have planted over the past eight years.

Richard’s brother Mark is also a bee keeper and they both came out in early October to get the bee keeping project started.

1

There is a wild bee hive in a big old puriri tree on the property. Richard and Mark’s first bee task was to install an apparatus on the wild hive to protect the bees from varroa mite. The wild bees might have become a source of the parasite for any introduced bees, so it made sense to take the precaution.

2

The challenge was to ensure the wild bees walk through the disinfectant as they enter or leave the hive. To do the installation they had to find the pathway the bees use and then ensure the bees would be forced to pass through the device and get disinfected.

3

4

5

And it worked fine!

6

The disinfectant sheet remained on the tree for the recommended eight weeks and Richard feels confident that any possible varroa mites on the wild bees will have been eradicated by now.

Then it was time to bring the new honey bee hives and get them established at CUE Haven.

Bees can fly up to almost 4 kms looking for nectar, but the further they fly the shorter their lifespan due to wind damage and predation.

Richard had located an optimal site to place the new hives to ensure the success of the bee colony and he and Mark installed some wooden platforms so the hives wouldn’t have to sit on the ground.

The site is protected from the wind, but receives plenty of sunshine and good air circulation and drainage and is reasonably close to a water source.  Also the site is away from the walking tracks so the bees are unlikely to be disturbed by visitors. Honey bees are basically harmless insects when not actively defending their hive from an intruder.

In early December, our young beekeepers came out very early in the morning to move the hives and the Carniolan bees to their new home.

They loaded the two new hives into the ute.

8

9

And we drove up to as close to the platform site as we could.  They then carried the hives out and set them up.

10

13

14

To get the bees set up and so they have a food source until they get acclimated, Richard poured sugar water onto hay in the top of the hives.

17

18

Richard had put metal strips over the hive entrances to keep the bees from escaping during transportation to the site. The last step was removing these coverings so that the bees could start to explore their new environment.

19

21

Beekeeping chores change throughout the year. When the bees are actively foraging for nectar and pollen, the hives need to be inspected several times, especially at the start in spring to ensure they are ready for their busy season and at the end of the season in autumn when the bees are put to bed for the winter.

Richard will continue to maintain the hives and conduct inspections to determine the health and productivity of the colony, and also whether the colony needs additional food stores, more nectar storage space, increased ventilation, medication, swarm control measures, a new queen and more.

Our many thanks to Richard and Mark for setting up the CUE Haven apiary. We look forward to sharing some CUE Haven honey with our volunteers and supporters when the hives become productive next year!

22

Bee Trivia – Did You Know This?

A drone is a male honey bee, produced by a queen laying an unfertilized egg, usually in a larger cell. Drones do not forage or build honey comb. They merely mate with virgin queens and die shortly after mating. They do not have stingers. Their eyes are so large they touch in the middle of their head. They have one extra antennae section than workers and it’s used to locate the virgin queen in flight. Most colonies have between 200-2,000 drones.

Honey bees are vegetarians and obtain their protein from pollen and their carbohydrates from flower nectar.

Workers nurture their egg-laying queen, keep the hive cleaner than our own homes, protect the colony from raiders, and fly thousands of miles to gather food.

Bees communicate by emitting chemical substances called pheromones and by performing dances in specific patterns.

When the worker bee returns to the hive, she hands the pollen and nectar she has collected to a younger worker to deposit in hexagonal wax cells. The bees add enzymes to the nectar, then fan this concoction with their wings to evaporate the water, and gradually it turns to thick, sweet honey.

During winter, the bees used their stored food to generate heat and keep their hives at about 92 degrees Fahrenheit

Westlake Boys High School—2 December 2016

December 3, 2016

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 students were given to opportunity to work on community projects and nineteen of them selected CUE Haven for their activity day.  For the second year in a row, Social Sciences teacher Amy Bennet brought out a group of year 9 and 10 students to contribute to the restoration project.

The group arrived just before ten with teachers Amy, Jihan El-Labany and Rachel Peak, and students Angelo, Daniel, Dylan, Hasan, Issac, Jack, Joe, Jono, Joshua, Kaleb, Luan, Lucas, Matt, Reuben, Sam L., Sam v O., Seth, Tony and Wayne.

1

We got acquainted over morning tea and we were really happy that three of the students who had come out with the Westlake Boys group in Year 9 last year, volunteered to come out again in Year 10.

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.

2

3

The plan for the day was to do some walking track work at the top of the property.  Last year, the Westlake students helped with the initial trail blazing of the track by clearing vegetation and cutting steps.   When we build new tracks we wait a year to see how they weather over the wet winter season.  That way we can identify any potential drainage or erosion problems.

The track held up quite well over the winter but there are number of steps and sections that need to be boxed up and retained and that’s what we asked the Westlake Boys students to help with today.

Because the work area was at the top of the property we drove the students up in two groups.  Once we were all on site, Thomas took the group on a short walk along some finished sections of track to show the group the kinds of tasks they would be doing.

We then went to work.  The group broke into three teams working with a teacher in each group.  One team started boxing steps at the top of a long set of steps, the second team started at the bottom and worked up.

4

The third team worked on benching and retaining a long, straight section of track.

5

The work required a lot of planning and teamwork.  Each step and section of track is different because of the terrain, so each section presented different challenges.  It was great to see the students working together to come up with the best solutions.

6

7

Because we don’t know how long the side boards need to be until each section is measured, we brought up the boards in long lengths.

8

For step boxing, it is first necessary to dig out the sides of the step where the side boards will go.

9

10

Then careful measuring is required to determine the dimensions of the boards.

11

The board is then cut to size.

12

13

The board is then nailed into place and secured with pegs.

14

For the flat sections of track, the process is similar, but longer boards are used.  First, the track needs to be formed to make room for the side boards.

15

16

The side boards are then secured in place with pegs.

17

The students were very enthusiastic and everyone took turns doing different tasks and using different tools to get the track sorted.

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

They were such a hard working group that we had to go down to get more timber!

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

In just a couple of hours, the hard working students and teachers had accomplished an amazing amount of work and made major improvements in the track.

Before

58

After

59

60

Future teams over the summer will continue where the Westlake Boys students left off and continue to work on finishing the track.

The group took a leisurely walk back to the cottage for lunch and along the way Thomas pointed out some additional features of the property and described some of the issues associated with the restoration project such as pest and weed control.

61

After lunch the students boarded the bus to bus to return to school. It was a fantastic day and the students made a great contribution.

Our many thanks to Amy, Jihan and Rachel for joining the students and working hard and helping and supervising in the field.

And a special thank you to Amy for her continued support of our efforts at CUE Haven and her assistance with organising the trip today.

62

A big thank you to Year 10 students Jono, Reuben and Matt who returned this year to help again after having volunteered at CUE Haven in their Year 9 too!

63

We also want to thank the students who volunteered at other environmental projects last year. It is great to see so many young people take an interest in protecting and enhancing our natural environment.

64

A huge THANK YOU to all of the students for coming out today. If this was your first experience with an environmental project – we hope you had a good time and you will continue to be guardians of our precious natural resources.

65

We really enjoyed working with you all and really appreciate your amazing contribution to CUE Haven.

It was great to see you all participating fully and working as a team and coming up with good ideas for making the track better.

We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we enjoyed meeting you and working with you all.  You have made a much valued and lasting contribution to CUE Haven and New Zealand’s natural heritage. The track you built today will be used and enjoyed by visitors for many years to come as they explore the growing native forest at CUE Haven.

We wish you all the best with your studies and future endeavours and we look forward to having you all back again to walk the completed track!

THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

60- Westlake Boys High School logo

Spark and Friends—25 November 2016

November 26, 2016

Four years ago, a team from Gen-i, a division of NZ Telecom (now Spark) came out to help us with some walking track work as part of their staff volunteer days.  Since then, we have had a team from Spark each year, but the team has grown to include Spark alumni who have moved to other companies and their family members as well.

Today we had a group of people from Spark, Qrious, a Spark Ventures affiliate, several Spark alumni, their family members and two other friends of CUE Haven. It was great seeing familiar faces and welcoming new friends.

The group of nineteen arrived about nine and included Anna, Dawson, Eric, Gabriel, Hari, Johannes, Lucien, Luke, Neil, Nitin, Paul, Peter, Phillip, Phil, Sam, Sharique, Steve, Stevie and Tim.

1

We had a short morning tea and then Mahrukh gave a quick overview of the CUE Haven project for the benefit of those new to CUE Haven.  Thomas then gave a description of the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.

2

Today we asked the group to work on three tasks.  The first was to finish off work on a new walking track that had been established earlier this month, the second was to continue to improve an older track that runs through a hilly section of the property and the last was to fix the steps leading to the boardwalk in the wetlands which had become difficult to use.

We broke the group into teams to tackle the projects.

Luke, his son Sam, and Phil took on the challenge of the boardwalk steps. The steps are used by many people who are planting or visiting memorial trees and our older visitors were having some trouble getting up and down the high steps. We asked the guys to study the situation and come up with a solution that would make it easy for people of all ages to walk up and down.

They decided that the best solution was to remove the old steps entirely and rebuild a new set.

3

4

Once they decided on the plan, they cut the timber for the new steps.

5

It was a challenge working in the cramped space, and getting the steps just right took a lot of checking and measuring.

6

7

8

9

They built up and planked each of the new steps one at a time.

10

11

The result is an amazing improvement!

12

The team also put wire mesh on the steps to provide for better walking traction.

Not only are the new steps safe and easy to navigate, they also look great.  Thanks very much guys.

13

While the boardwalk steps were being fixed, the rest of the group headed further into the bush to work on the old and new tracks.

This section of old track was built along a slope into the wetlands.  As a result, it is prone to erosion.  The team improved the benching of the track and installed retaining walls along its length to prevent erosion and to dramatically improve the appearance of the track.

The first task involved a lot of digging.

14

15

16

17

The retaining walls were long planks that were secured in place with pegs and getting them installed involved a lot of measuring, cutting and hammering.

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

The old track is looking fantastic thanks to the team’s creativity and hard work.

33

The last project the team worked on was to finish off a new track that we just started earlier this month. The track traverses a steep area and leads to the wetlands. We designed it with a series of switchbacks so that there would be long gentle slopes instead of sections with steep steps.  The track had been cleared but we still needed to finish off the retaining and also ensure that the steps connecting the longer sections of track were easy to use.

The first task was to finish off the steps.

34

35

36

The team then worked on retaining walls and boxing in the steps.

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

The team broke for a late lunch shortly after one.

53

Instead of relaxing after lunch, this motivated group insisted on going back to the field to do more work!  The boardwalk team finished off their step project and the rest of the team worked on putting gravel on the new track that they had worked on.  The gravel will keep the track safe for walking in all seasons.

We filled up buckets of gravel down in the car park.

54

55

We drove up as close as we could and the buckets were unloaded and carried to the track sections.

56

57

The gravel was dumped on the track and raked and smoothed in.

58

59

60

The new track looks amazing.

61

62

63

Future volunteer groups will connect this new track coming down to the wetlands with a long bridge across to the improved old track on the other side.

64

We had a fantastic day with the enthusiastic and hard working group. They developed creative solutions to the track issues and we were especially impressed with their dedication to the work – they continued working despite the occasional bursts of rain and also stayed on longer to get more work done.  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

Many thanks to all the non-Spark volunteers for your continued support and taking the time out and joining us today to help us develop a native nature reserve for the community to enjoy for generations.

A big thank you to Paul for organising the volunteer day and for continuing to champion CUE Haven at Spark.  And Nitin, thank you for joining us and bringing along your colleagues from Qrious.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for all your effort and hard work today. We know the work was challenging and we really appreciate your dedication and enthusiasm. You have all made a major contribution to CUE Haven. Thanks to your efforts, the tracks you worked on will be enable visitors to explore and enjoy the growing native forest safely and in comfort.

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.

65

Spark_Foundation-two-colour-horizontal-cmyk-01