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Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Residential—16-20 April 2018

April 21, 2018

This week a group of enthusiastic and talented young people completed their residential requirement for the DoEHA gold award at CUE Haven.  They accomplished an amazing amount of challenging work and had a fun time as well.

The group arrived on Monday morning and included Christine, Grace J., Grace S., Hannah, Katrina, Madeleine, Nathan, Richard and Sophie.   Donovan, who had previously done his residential at CUE Haven was back as the student team leader for the week.

Also joining us for the week were Rangipai Hill-Dobson, the DoEHA CUE Haven residential leader and Andy Woodhouse, DoEHA National Training and Development Director who was on site helping out for part of the week.

We started off with morning tea and introductions.  Mahrukh gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and Thomas gave a description of the work planned for the week, outlined expectations and gave a safety briefing.

The plan for the week was to do a variety of maintenance tasks.  Due to the size of the group, we split into two teams and each team worked on a different task.  During the course of the week, the membership of the teams changed so that everyone had a chance to work with all of the group members.

Fence Work

The team had to tackle one of the most unusual projects ever done by a DoEHA group.  A large section of fence near the top of the property had been damaged and several areas needed to be repaired and a large segment needed to be totally replaced.  They went to work with a post hole digger, posts, wire, hammers and battens.

The first task was to take up all the gear, including the new fence posts and a very heavy coil of fence wire.

Andy and Pai trained the group in the safe operation of the post hole digger and they prepared holes for new and replacement posts.

The posts were then fixed in place.

Once the posts were secure, the next job was to string the wire.  The wires were tightened with fence strainers and then nailed to the posts.

The last step was to install battens to secure the wires and make the fence stock proof.  The job required a lot of nailing and teamwork.

The result is a very secure and professional looking fence!

Walking Track Improvements

Some of the walking tracks at CUE Haven are over five years old and have seen a lot of wear and tear.  We asked the team to work on fixing up three sections and each presented a different set of challenges.  Over the course of the week all participants had the opportunity to work on the different track sections.

The first track section to fix was a long section of steps that were steep and narrow leading to the DoEHA mosiac.  They were also irregular in terms and width and height.  The team studied the situation and decided to remove some of the old steps and level the grade and reposition the steps.

They also decided that side retaining walls should be installed to prevent erosion and they dug out channels for the boards.

They measured how long the side boards needed to be.

And cut the boards to size.

They then installed the new step risers and secured them with pegs and nails. And also installed the side retaining boards.

The team decided that because the track curved, the retaining board should curve gently as well.

They double checked to make sure everything was level and even.

And then nailed everything into place.

The results of their hard work are amazing.  This is how the steps looked before they started:

And this is the amazing transformation.

The next track remediation task was to connect up two finished sections of track by installing side retaining walls.  This job required a lot of measuring to determine where to put the boards and how long they needed to be.

The team went to work, clearing and levelling the track and digging the channels for the side boards.

The boards were secured with pegs.

And the last step was to fill in the channels and level the track to ensure good drainage.

The final track remediation was the most challenging.  It was one of the first tracks that we built in 2011, and there were steep, narrow steps going up from a bridge over the stream.  The task was to make the steps wider and easier to use.

The team studied the area and came up with some ideas and developed a more detailed plan.

The plan was to dig back the side of most of the stairs to make room to widen them and to improve the retaining wall and build a gentler step approach to the area.

What made the challenge even more interesting is that they essentially had to completely redo the entire track section.   This involved clearing the track and digging out all the old steps.

That was the fun part!  They then went to work installing new steps and retaining walls, cutting out all the timber in the field and working together to make sure everything was level and even.

The end result is one of the most amazing makeovers!  This is how the steps looked before the group got started.

And this is how they look now.

Thanks to the entire team’s efforts, the walking tracks are much more attractive, safer and easier to use.

The last track work activity the group handled was to put a layer of gravel on the new track sections.  The gravel protects the track and makes it safe to walk on in all weather conditions.  The job involved heading up to the gravel pile and loading up buckets.

We loaded the buckets into the ute and drove to the nearest spot and then carried the buckets down to the track.

It was a long walk carrying heavy buckets filled with gravel!

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

And the result is that all the new track sections look great and ready for visitors!

Other Track Maintenance Work

We have continued to have warm, wet weather and that means that everything is growing well at CUE Haven.  A regular maintenance task is to trim back vegetation growing over the walking and driving tracks.  Various teams took turns heading out to different parts of the property trimming back overhanging branches.

Painting and Landscaping

The group also helped out with some smaller maintenance tasks.

The front gate fence needed a paint touch up—

There were some small plantings in front of the gate and we’ve decided we want to turn that area into parking area so the team relocated the plantings closer to the house.   They dug up the plants–

And took them up the drive.

And replanted them with the other landscaping.

There has been some erosion and wear and tear around the front landscaping and the team decided to replace the old timber border and upgrade the area.  They installed new boards, painted them and spread mulch to improve the appearance of the entrance area.

It was an fantastically productive week despite the unpredictable weather.  We thoroughly enjoyed working with the team and we really appreciate the creativity and enthusiasm they brought to every task.

In addition to their hard work, they also spent a lot of time getting to know each other, exploring the property and relaxing and sharing lots of laughs.

We’d like to thank Andy 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 help this week and your continued support of our efforts at CUE Haven.

Our many thanks to Rangipai for taking time off work to help out.  Pai, your skills, knowledge and guidance helped make the residential so successful.  We are glad to have you on the CUE Haven team and look forward to seeing you again soon.

And thanks to Donovan for serving as team leader and doing a great job of keeping things moving and contributing to the success of the residential week.

And of course, a huge THANK YOU to all the hard-working participants.  We really enjoyed meeting you and working with you.  It was great to see a group of young adults who didn’t know each other on Monday, so quickly come together to work as a team and also become good friends.

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.

We wish you all the best in your studies and look forward to having you back at CUE Haven again.

Thanks again!

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CUE Haven Open Days—17 & 18 March 2018

March 19, 2018

This year is the 150th anniversary of the founding of Glorit, the settlement where CUE Haven is located.  To commemorate the occasion, our neighbours at Mataia held an open weekend where visitors could explore the Glorit homestead and gardens and learn about the early settlers.  We decided to also hold open days at CUE Haven so visitors would have a chance to explore more of the Kaipara area.

We’ve spent the past few weeks trying to get the property looking its best for the open weekend and that’s been a challenge because the warm, wet summer has meant that the weeds have been growing as happily as the trees!  But with the help of lots of volunteers, we were ready on time.

We invited people to come any time on either Saturday or Sunday to say hi, explore the property and to bring a picnic if they wanted.

Over the two days we had good weather and a nice steady stream of visitors.

Most guests wanted to walk around the property, so we gave them maps of the walking track network and some safety information and encouraged them to explore.

Visitors also had a chance to see the history of the CUE Haven project by looking at photo books showcasing the restoration work and photos of the volunteers who have contributed to the project.  Many people had a chance to see pictures of themselves at work!

And everyone had a chance to sample (and buy) some of our first harvest of CUE Haven honey from the bee hives on the property.

It was great to see guests spending time meeting each other and relaxing together.

We had a really nice weekend spending time with old friends, our volunteers and meeting new people.

We’d like to thank Nestle NZ for providing Nescafe coffee and Nescafe menu sachets for our visitors to enjoy.

A big thank you to Yazdy and Xerxes, who came out on Friday and Saturday to help us get set up and welcome guests.

And we’d especially like to thank everyone who made the trip out to CUE Haven to say hi.  It was great seeing everyone and thank you for your interest and continued support.  We look forward to seeing you all again soon!

 

ANZ North and West Business Banking—14 March 2018

March 15, 2018
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We finished off most of our summer track maintenance work with a fantastic group of professionals from ANZ’s North and West Auckland Business Banking organisation.

The group arrived just after eight and included Alex, Becky, Catherine, Dennis, Joe, Kim, Naveen, Patrick, Pulkit, Ray, Rick, Sam, Tony, Vincent, ZhenZhen.  Half the group had been out to CUE Haven last year and it was great to see old friends and meet new ones.

Also joining us for the day was our dear friend Alan who has been helping out regularly this summer.

We spent some time chatting over morning tea and then Mahrukh gave an update on new developments at CUE Haven and our current plans.

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

Today’s project was to finish off the upgrade of a section of track that had seen some wear and tear and erosion.  The plan was to realign steps and install side retaining boards to prevent further erosion.  Once that was finished, a layer of gravel would be laid down on all the track sections we have been working on this summer to ensure that they are safe to walk in all weather.

Thomas and Alan took the ANZ team up to the track and we went to work.  We spread out along the track to tackle different sections.  The first phase of the work involved a lot of digging to correct any drainage and leveling issues and to make room for side retaining boards.

The next challenge was to figure out the length of the retaining boards and cut them to size.

Sawing the boards was a demanding job and the group shared the effort.

As the boards were cut to size, they were installed by nailing and pegging them into place.

In no time the group had finished off fixing the track sections and the improvement is amazing.

All summer long we have been doing track maintenance work and a lot of the track sections were exposed clay which can be very slippery and messy when wet.  To make the track safe for all weather use, we put down a layer of gravel to provide traction.  The team helped out with the challenging task of carrying the gravel down to the track in buckets.

We loaded up the buckets down near the entrance to the property.

Loaded the buckets on the ute and then drove up to the closest place near the new track sections and carried the buckets down.

At the end of the track, the buckets were dumped out and the gravel was raked smooth.

The end result is an amazing improvement and the improved tracks will be greatly appreciated by visitors exploring the growing native forest at CUE Haven.

We then picked up all the tools and equipment and headed back to the nursery and the team helped organize all the spare wood, clean up the gear and put it away.

It was then time for a relaxing late lunch and socialising.

A BIG thank you to our good friend Alan for taking the time to come out and work with the team.  Alan your skills and ability have greatly added to the quality of the tracks and we look forward to having you back to lead another team.

And a HUGE thank you too to the very hardworking ANZ team.  We very much enjoyed working with you.  We truly appreciate your hard work and everything you accomplished.  You have made a huge contribution to the CUE Haven walking tracks and your work will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.

We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did and we look forward to having you back with your family and friends for a more leisurely visit.

A very special thank you to Kirstie, ANZ Auckland -Business Development and Initiatives Manager, and Linda – Regional Assistant for North and West Auckland, for all their help with organizing and coordinating the ANZ teams coming to CUE Haven. Thanks to their efforts we have had five teams of ANZ professionals out this month to help us get the tracks ready for the upcoming Open Days. Yeah!

And finally, our thanks to ANZ for their wonderful support for the CUE Haven project.  ANZ professionals have been helping out for the past five years with various tasks contributing greatly to the development of CUE Haven.  We very much value our relationship and look forward to hosting more ANZ teams in the future.

THANK YOU!!

ANZ North and West Business Banking—13 March 2018

March 14, 2018
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CUE Haven is looking better than ever thanks to the efforts of another energetic team of ANZ professionals.  The group spent the day doing walking track maintenance.  The team arrived at 8 and included Allan, Andrew, Daniel, Dasmeet, Elaine, Fion, Fiona, Grace, Guixia, Hamish, Kiran, Lynn, Peter, Rong, Sweata, Tegan and Thuy.

Several of the group have been out to CUE Haven before and it was great seeing old friends and meeting new people.

We got acquainted over morning tea and then Mahrukh gave an update on recent activities and plans and Thomas gave a description of the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.

The plan for the day was to do some track remediation work and we broke the group of 17 into three teams.

CUE Haven is hosting Open days this coming weekend to mark the 150th anniversary of the permanent European Settlement at Glorit.  So there was a real urgency to get the walking tracks spruced up

Two teams each went to different ends of the walking track and worked to trim away weeds and vegetation that had grown up along the track, while the third group worked on some improvements to one of the older walking tracks.

One team started trimming at the very top of the property.

This team worked on a section of track that some of the ANZ staff had built last year!

Because the track is new (and so well built!) most of the work just involved trimming weeds that were growing over the track from the sides.

The second team started trimming at the wetlands boardwalk and worked their way up.

This team encountered a variety of vegetation from flaxes and trees growing out over the track to grassy weeds.

The two teams didn’t quite join up but they both cleared a huge section of track and they’ve made it much nicer for visitors to explore and enjoy the property this weekend.

The third team worked on improving an older section of walking track.

Some sections of the track were cut into sloping ground and over time, the side walls have started to erode onto the track.  The solution was to install side retaining walls to hold the soil in place and to protect the track.  This involved lots of digging to make room for the new boards.

The team also identified some steps that were not properly aligned and dug them out and repositioned them to make the track look better and to make it easier for visitors to navigate.

Once the channels for the retaining boards were dug out, the team measured and cut the boards.

The boards were then nailed into place.

In just a few hours the team managed to fix up a long section of track—a fantastic effort!

Future teams of volunteers will lay down a layer of gravel on the track surface to make it safe to walk on in all seasons.

We very much enjoyed working with the ANZ team.  They were enthusiastic and professional, and with teamwork and creativity, accomplished a lot in just a few hours.

Many thanks to all of you for your hard work and efforts. You have made a major contribution to the CUE Haven project and your efforts will be appreciated by visitors as they walk the tracks to explore the growing native forest.

We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did and we look forward to having you back for a more leisurely visit with your family and friends.

THANK YOU!!!

ANZ North Shore – MMM & BB—7 March 2018

March 8, 2018
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Today another hard working team from ANZ joined us to continue to improve the walking tracks at CUE Haven.  This group was made up of managers from the North Shore’s Mobile Banking and Business Banking departments.

The group included Cheryl, Irene, Jalam, Jim, Justeel, Kevin, Lydia, Maryanne, Patrick, Rachel and Vicki.  Eight of the team of eleven had been out to CUE Haven last year to assist with the track and it was great seeing old friends and welcoming new people.

Also helping us again for the day was our dear friend, Alan.

It had rained overnight and the forecast was for possibly heavy rain all day.  But the sun was shining by the time everyone arrived and the rain didn’t start until long after they had left for the day.

We spent some time catching up over morning tea and then Mahrukh gave an update on CUE Haven activities and future plans.  Thomas then gave a safety briefing and outlined the work planned for the day.

We broke the group into two teams.  One group worked with Alan on a section of track near the top of the property.  The other team went with Thomas to finish off the approaches to the new wetlands bridge.

We drove Alan’s team up to the top and they went to work.  The track was very narrow and showing a lot of wear.  There were also some water drainage problems.  The task for today was to continue to widen the track and improve drainage.

The track widening required a lot of digging.

The team had to be concerned about drainage and how water from the nearby wetland might affect the track.  They installed drainage ditches and pipes to keep the track surface dry.

They also installed side retaining boards to protect the track. The task required measuring and cutting the long boards to the correct size.

After a couple of hours of hard work, the track section was finished!

Meanwhile, Thomas and his team went to the wetlands to work on the bridge approaches.

The bridge is in an area where we have been planting a lot of memorial trees and we have been wanting to turn the area into a place where people can come and relax in a quiet and attractive space.  Plus, a lot of the visitors to the area will be older and we want a smooth, straight path in order for them to feel safe and comfortable.

The work involved finishing up several small tasks and the group broke into teams of two to tackle them.  First they brought down all the gear to the work area.

One team worked on extending out the existing retaining walls to a flat section of the track.  This involved digging out channels for the retaining boards, cutting the boards to size and nailing them in place.

Another team worked to install side retaining boards down one side of the approach to the bridge.

This task also involved digging out channels for the boards and cutting the boards to size.

Once the boards were installed, soil was filled in to further secure the boards and to level the track surface.

The third team did a number of smaller tasks to improve the appearance and safety of the track.  This work required lots of creativity to come up with ways to straighten existing retaining boards and joints.

And it was always a good moment when the solution worked out!

Thanks to the group’s efforts, the bridge area is now very attractive and easy to access.

Both Alan’s & Thomas’s teams worked together on the last project for the day which was to put down a layer of gravel on the new track surfaces to make them easy and safe to walk on in all weather.  The challenge was that there is no way to get the gravel down to the remote track sections except by hand in buckets!

We loaded up empty buckets with gravel and drove them to the closest spot or unloading.

We then carried the buckets down to the track.

The gravel was dumped on the track and raked in for a nice, smooth surface.

In just a few hours, today’s group made a huge amount of progress and greatly improved the safety and quality of the tracks.  It was great to see the collegiality and teamwork.  They accomplished a lot of work and tackled some big track work challenges and came up with great solutions by working together.   Have a look at all they accomplished.

The team gathered up all the gear and we headed back to the nursery where we unloaded everything and got cleaned up.

We ended the very productive day with relaxing lunch.

Our many thanks to Alan for his hard work and continued help and support.  Alan – we really appreciate you taking the time to help out—your expertise and advice have added a lot of value.

And a big thank you to everyone who came out today!  It was great having you back again this year to help and very much appreciate your hard work and amazing contribution to CUE Haven.. We really enjoyed working with you all and we hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.

We look forward to having you out again for a leisurely visit with your friends and family, and we hope to also see you again for another fun and productive volunteer day.

THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

Vanessa & Friends – 3 March 2018

March 4, 2018
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Today our good friends Vanessa and Alba brought out some of their friends to help us with some summer maintenance work.  Vanessa and Alba were joined by friends Annelise, Jessica, Julie and Melissa.

The group arrived early in the afternoon and we spent some time catching up and getting acquainted.

Thomas gave a safety briefing before we headed out. The plan for the day was to trim back vegetation on the boardwalk.

The team then went to work with loppers, shears and secateurs to clear vegetation that had grown over the boardwalk.

Despite the hot, humid weather, the team worked hard and cleared a huge section of boardwalk making it a lot easier to visitors to walk along.

We want to thank Vanessa and Alba for their continuing support for CUE Haven.  It was great seeing old friends and meeting new people and we thank you all for your efforts. We really appreciate your help and look forward to seeing you all again for a leisurely visit.

THANK YOU!!

ANZ North Shore and West Business Banking—28 February 2018

March 1, 2018
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ANZ continued their fantastic support as a group of North Shore and West Business Banking executives came out to help with track maintenance and weed control.

The group arrived before 8:30 and included Alison, Allan, Amanda, Anita, Ella, Frances, Fredrick, Joseph, Keith, Kirsten, Kylie, Sandy, Shrenik and Sophia.  Seven of the group of fourteen had been out to CUE Haven last year and it was great to see old friends and meet new ones.

Also joining us was our friend Alan who came along to help out.

We got acquainted over morning tea and Mahrukh gave a talk about the CUE Haven project and our plans for the future.  Thomas then described the plan for the day and gave a safety briefing.

The work for the day included continuing remediation work on a section of track near the top of the property, working on the approaches to the new wetlands bridge and also some weed control at the entrance to the property, around the cottage and along the tracks.

Because of the size of the group and the variety of tasks we wanted to tackle, we broke into three teams.

Alan took a group up to the top of the property to widen and improve an old section of track which had seen a lot of wear and tear and also had some drainage issues.  They dug out and levelled the track and installed new drainage ditches and drain pipes.

The biggest job was the widening work and that required a lot of digging.

The team studied the layout of the track and how water had been draining in the area and installed new drain pipes to better manage the flow.

And they came up with an ingenious way to keep leaves and debris from blocking the drain pipes.

In just a few hours this hard working the team make a huge improvement to widen the track, level it and improve the drainage.  Future teams will continue with the track remediation work and frame the widened tracks with the side retaining boards.

Meanwhile, Thomas and his team continued the work on the wetlands bridge – improving the steps approaching each end of the bridge and putting in side walls to prevent erosion.

The bridge is in an area where we have been planting a lot of memorial trees and we have been wanting to turn the area into a place where people can come and relax in a quiet and attractive space.  Plus, a lot of the visitors to the area will be older and need a smooth, straight path in order for them to feel safe and comfortable.

The team started out by studying the work that had been done so far to see how to continue the approach.

They then went to work, digging out the track sides to make room for the side boards.

They decided to relocate some steps to make the approach easier and measured and cut the new side boards.

And did a lot of checking to make sure that everything was straight and level.

And also did a lot of hammering and nailing to get everything securely in place.

The result of the team’s efforts is a great improvement in the appearance and ease of use of the track.  Future teams will finish off the last of the retaining walls and cover the track with a layer of metal to make it safe for walking in all weather.

The third group worked on trimming vegetation that had grown out over the driveway, weeded around the cottage and trimmed along one of the walking tracks.

Thanks to this team’s efforts the entry to CUE Haven is spruced up and looking great for the upcoming Open days.

Each of the teams accomplished an amazing amount and after a few hours of hard work, we all headed back to the cottage for a relaxing lunch.

Our many thanks to our friend Alan for coming out today to help out.  Alan, we really appreciate your support and expertise and look forward to having you back to lead future teams.

And a huge thank you to the hard working ANZ team.  The tag line on some of the t shirts today was all about lending a helping hand.

Having someone to help can make anything easier and we are truly grateful for your efforts and achievements.  You all accomplished a lot and have made a significant contribution to the CUE Haven landscape.  The track improvements have made the walking track network easier and more comfortable to walk and the place is looking good.  Thanks for your help and continued support!

We very much look forward to having you back with your family and friends for a more leisurely visit.

THANK YOU!!