Skip to content

A 21st birthday celebration at CUE Haven—30 July 2017

July 31, 2017
tags:

We finished up our 2017 planting season on a high note with an extra special planting day.

Back in May we were contacted by Mildred, who is celebrating her 21st birthday in early August.  Rather than have a party at a pub, Mildred wanted to do something extra special and meaningful.  Mildred heard about CUE Haven from her sister, Melanie, who had been out to CUE Haven to plant trees with the Air NZ Greenteam, and contacted us for a day of tree planting for herself and her friends.

The very enthusiastic group arrived at around ten and included Mildred and friends Ady, David, Dianca, Hanna, Jason, Jessica, Juliet, Lizanne, Louis, Neeharika, Noubelle, Praveen, Rhea and Shevonee.  Also joining us for the celebrations later in the day were Mildred’s family Angela, Christine, Melanie and Matthew.

It was a cold but sunny day and we started out with morning tea outdoors.  Mahrukh gave a welcome and an introduction to the CUE Haven project and Thomas gave a description of the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.

The plan for the day was to do three distinct planting activities.  First, to plant some kauri trees in a section of mature bush where our existing kauris are located, then to do some infill planting of kahikatea, kowhai, matai, pigeonwood, puriri and taraire in the area initially planted in 2013 and finally to plant a birthday celebration tree for Mildred.   Each of the plantings was in a different part of the property so we moved around a bit.

We don’t plant many kauri because of our concerns over kauri dieback disease and when we do, we try to plant them in an area that gets almost no traffic so that the trees won’t be disturbed.  We also take extra precautions to protect the trees and we had everyone clean and spray their boots and shoes with Trigene, a disinfectant, before entering the planting area.

The group broke into teams and planted the kauris.  The area will someday become a beautiful kauri grove.

The planting required a lot of teamwork!

Once all the kauri were planted, we went down to the 2013 planting area and went to work planting the infill trees.  It was a bit of a challenge because the pioneer trees have grown up nicely and finding light wells to plant the trees in took some exploring.

Despite the challenges, the team coped well and planted all the trees we had for them and by the end of the planting, they were right at home in the bush!

Mildred then planted the last tree—a blue totara to commemorate her 21st birthday.  We found a nice spot close to the cottage but still overlooking the Harbour.

The team then walked back down and cleaned up before lunch.

Mildred’s family had brought along a nice celebration lunch which everyone thoroughly enjoyed after all the hard work planting the trees.

We then went for a leisurely walk so that everyone could see more of the CUE Haven property (and work up an appetite for birthday cake!)

We then celebrated Mildred’s upcoming birthday with a cake and singing.

It was a great end to a fantastic day.

We’d like to thank Mildred for coming up with the idea of a planting party.  And a big thank you to Mildred’s family, Angela, Melanie, Matt and Christine who helped out with arrangements and organized the lunch and cake and party decorations.

And we especially want to thank Mildred and her hard working friends who did a great job of planting.

Mildred, we wish you a very happy birthday and much happiness and success in all your future endeavours.

We were very impressed with you and your friends and really enjoyed working with you and getting to know you all.  It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet such an interesting, diverse, talented group of people and we know you will all continue to have a positive impact on the world. The trees you planted will live for hundreds of years and you all have made a major contribution not only to CUE Haven but to the planet.  We hope you will keep coming back to see how your trees are growing and to enjoy the CUE Haven forest.

Thank you and Happy Birthday Mildred!!

Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Residential—17-21 July 2017

July 22, 2017

This week, CUE Haven hosted the twenty-second Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (DoEHA) gold award residential.

The July residential can be a challenge because of unpredictable winter weather, but as usual we had a great time and got a lot done.

The group arrived on Monday morning and included Alex, Alice, Christine, David, Dylan B., Dylan L-W., Holly, Maggie, Michael and Philippa.  Julia, who had done her residential at CUE Haven previously was the team leader.

The group had met at the nearest grocery store to do their food shopping for the week and the first task was to unload and put everything away.  Included in the food stores for the week was some home baking.

We then spent some time getting acquainted over morning tea.  Mahrukh gave the group an overview of the CUE Haven project and an orientation to the cottage.

Thomas then gave a safety briefing and outlined expectations and plans for the week.

We then went for a short tour of the property to give the participants a better feel for the project and the work they would be doing.

The plan for the week was very ambitious, and the group accomplished more than we expected.  They did some tree planting, a variety of maintenance tasks and built and installed several benches along the walking track.

Walking Track Maintenance

There are over 4 kms of walking track at CUE Haven and they need constant maintenance. The first task the group tackled was to trim back some overhanging vegetation.

The group also got a chance to be creative—and get very muddy—fixing some engineering issues on various track sections.

There is a set of steps that had been prone to erosion and one team worked to dig out the problem section and install small retaining boards along the sides to prevent further erosion.

The first task is to dig out the existing steps to make room for the side boards.

Each step is different, so the side boards need to be individually measured and cut.

The side boards are then nailed into place.

And the result is a much safer and better looking set of steps!

In the meantime, another team worked to fix a drainage problem higher up on the track.  In the past few weeks we’ve had very heavy rains and water has found new ways to work its way onto the track.  They investigated the problem and came up with a solution.

They dug out a section of track next to a drainage channel which was not functioning properly.

They found where the water was coming from and installed a drain pipe to channel the water away from the track.

They then restored the sections of track that had been dug up and also fixed an out of line retaining board.

The two teams then came together to work on the biggest—and messiest–challenge of all.  The heavy rain had made a small stream overflow and the runoff was coming across a low spot of the track.  We asked the group to study the problem and come up with a solution.  They traced the problem back to a spring and decided to dig out a channel to divert the flow under the bridge and into the main stream.  It was a lot of work but it totally solved the problem.

They traced the stream back several metres and kept widening and clearing it to ensure that it could handle the flow of water.

We found an old nonfunctioning drain pipe and dug it up, cleaned it and reinstalled it to make sure any overflow will go under the bridge and down to the main stream.

It was a great moment when the new drain pipe started carrying away all the extra water!

Tree Planting

Winter is planting season at CUE Haven and we asked the group to do a variety of planting tasks during the week.  Now that the bulk of the pioneer planting has been completed, most of our work involves filling in areas that need more vegetation and one team did small amounts of planting in various areas of the property.

On Wednesday, everyone joined in as we tackled a major planting project in the wetland adjacent to the DoEHA Grove.

It was wet and messy planting but the group coped very well and kept smiling and planted all the trees we had!

Bench Building

We requested the group to design and build some benches for the walking track so that visitors can relax and enjoy the bush.  Andy Woodhouse, National Training Director for the DoEHA was on site to help out and we gave the students an overview of the types of benches we were looking for, but we encouraged them to be creative.  Andy also gave a safety briefing and trained the group in the use of various tools.

They broke up into smaller teams and planned their benches.

Thomas and Andy supervised as they used the power tools.

Once the designs were finished and the timber cut, the benches came together very quickly.

Due to time constraints, four of the benches were kept simple, but the team got creative with the other three.

A few days earlier, we had pruned the fruit trees in the orchard and some of the bright orange apricot wood was laying around and Alex, Alice and Julia decided to use it as part of their bench.

Holly and Phillippa painted their bench in the CUE Haven colours with their new team name.

And Christine and Maggie did some beautiful original carving on their bench.

Once all the benches were finished, it was time to install them in the field.  A small team had previously gone out to scout for good places for the seven benches and they marked each site with a flag.

The benches were loaded into the ute and taken out to the bush.  We also took a post hole digger, water and concrete to install them.

Each bench was then carried down to where it would be installed.

At each location, holes were dug for the legs, and the bench was cemented in place.

Everything was checked to make sure the bench was even and level before they were cemented in place.

The benches are a fantastic addition to the CUE Haven landscape and will be much appreciated by visitors as they explore the growing native forest.

Other Tasks

There are always a lot of little jobs to do around CUE Haven and we asked the energetic team to help out with a few of them.

We put wire mesh on the boardwalks and bridges to keep them from being too slippery when they are wet and the group helped out finishing off some sections that needed work.

Earlier this year, we had done some landscaping down by the front gate and we asked the team to spread some mulch, generously donated by Treescape, around the new plants to help suppress weeds.  They filled buckets with mulch and carried them down to the gate.

They then spread it among the plants and the result is an amazing improvement.

The entrance to one of the walking tracks had gotten very muddy and the team filled up buckets with small gravel and spread it along the track to make it safer to walk on in wet weather.

After the pruning in the orchard and after a summer and fall of track work, there was a lot of scrap wood and branches that we needed to gather up.  The team used wheelbarrows to fill the ute and we trucked the waste wood away.

And they also took the opportunity to do a general clean up in the nursery and got it looking better than ever.

The team accomplished an amazing amount of work during their stay at CUE Haven.

But it wasn’t all hard work.  The team spent time getting to know each other and relaxing with card games and dancing to songs from the 1970s & 1980s and baking amazing muffins and cakes.

Michael had an advance celebration for his upcoming 18th birthday and also planted a celebration tree to mark the special occasion.

Also, a bit of a long story.  When Julia had been a participant in an earlier residential, that team had adopted a cicada who they named Pete.  Unfortunately, Pete met an untimely demise and Julia, Alice & Alex decided to make a belated memorial plaque for him which they installed near one of their benches.

We also found out that Dylan had previously been to CUE Haven as part of a Trees for Survival planting when he was in primary school.   Dylan went up to see the area he and his class had planted in June 2011. The trees the students planted were about 30 cm big and look at how the forest has grown in 6 years!

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

And many thanks to Julia for serving as team leader—you did a great job and your excellent leadership was one of the reasons this was such a productive and fun week.

And of course, a huge THANK YOU to all the very enthusiastic and hard-working participants.  We enjoyed meeting you and working with you and really appreciate your amazing contribution to CUE Haven.  And we know that visitors to CUE Haven will really appreciate the growing forest and walking tracks that are easier and drier to walk on and the benches to rest along the way.

CUE Haven now officially belongs to the community and we hope you will continue to be a part of the CUE Haven team over the years – lots of opportunities for you all to showcase your talents as artists and visionaries.  And it would be great to have you back as future DoEHA residential team leaders too.

We wish you much success in all your future endeavours and look forward to keeping in touch.

Thanks again!!

 

Takapuna Grammar School – 19 July, 2017

July 20, 2017

Today we had additional help with our planting from a small but very energetic team from Takapuna Grammar School (TGS) on Auckland’s North Shore.

During the April school break, Jungha (Jelly) a student from TGS had come to CUE Haven to do the residential component for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (DoEHA) gold award and made an amazing contribution to the project.

The very enthusiastic Jelly decided to come back to CUE Haven and help with planting trees with some of her classmates from TGS during the July school break.  So today we had Jelly and her classmates Alice and Iona and Assistant Principal, Student Services at TGS – Mary Pottinger, join us for a day of planting.

We got acquainted over morning tea and Mahrukh gave an overview of the CUE Haven project. After a safety briefing and a description of the work planned for the day, Thomas took the team up to the planting site.

The plan for the day was to plant in several areas around the property that needed some additional work.  This week we have other students on site doing their DoEHA residential and today was a planting day for the combined teams.

After a quick planting demo the team soon got to work planting manuka, karamu, flax and cabbage trees.

After a few hours of hard work, the team came down for a leisurely lunch and socialised with the others in the DoEHA team.  Two of the DoEHA students are also from TGS.

And everyone joined in the early celebration of Michael’s upcoming 18th birthday.

Our many thanks to the hard working Alice, Iona, Jelly and Mary for giving up a day of their school break and coming to help us today. And a special thanks to Mary for driving the students out and setting the pace for the students in the field.

And a very big thank you to Jelly for taking the initiative to set up the volunteer day for her classmates.  Jelly – it was great having you back at CUE Haven and we really appreciate your enthusiasm and continuing support.

The trees you have planted will add to the growing native forest – what a fantastic contribution you’ve made to our environment and community!

We look forward to having you back with your family and friends to explore the growing native forest you are helping to create for the community.

Thanks again!!

 

Auckland Council Healthy Waters Team—14 July 2017

July 15, 2017

Over the years, Auckland Council has been one of the biggest supporters of the restoration and educational activities at CUE Haven and today a fantastic team of urban and rural water quality professionals joined us for a wet but very productive and fun planting day on one of the coldest days of this season.

The group arrived at nine and included Elin, Jennifer, Kayla, Libby, Nicci, Rhianna, Susan and Vivien from Healthy Waters.  Also joining the group was Hazel from the Sustainable Schools Waicare group.  As you would expect from water care professionals, they were well equipped for the wet weather!

Over morning tea, Mahrukh updated the team on the current developments at CUE Haven and Thomas gave a description of the work planned for the day and a field safety briefing.

The plan for the day was plant in several areas around the property that needed some additional work.   We drove up to as close as we could to the planting site after a ute safety briefing.

One of the challenges of today’s planting was that the work involved small amounts of planting in remote areas.  So the first thing we needed to do was carry the plants out to the locations.

The team then went to work.

One of the areas we worked on was an isolated area that had become overgrown by kikuyu grass.  We had previously sprayed the area and it was ready for planting, but the team still had to contend with the dead grass and thick roots.

And it wasn’t long before we could declare victory over the kikuyu.

We then moved on to fill in other areas.  The weather had been threatening all morning and we had to cope with on and off showers, but fortunately the group was well prepared.

The team got to see lots of different parts of the property as they filled in an area and moved on to the next.

The group were so efficient, we had to bring up more plants and we did some additional wetland planting along the stream.

We then asked the team to undertake a very special project.  The kakabeak is an endangered native plant that has big, beautiful red flowers that resemble the beak of the kaka and we have a couple of kakabeak trees growing at CUE Haven.

Last year, artist Deborah Moss gifted CUE Haven her beautiful art work showcasing the kakabeak.  We installed the sculpture in an open area not too far from the entrance to the property.  The area will be used for group picnics and as an outdoor classroom and it has been our hope to plant the area with more kakabeak plants.

Over the past year, we have nurtured over forty kakabeak seedlings in the nursery and requested the team to plant them today.  The plants will require additional care because they are very susceptible to snail browsing, but the area will someday be ringed with beautiful kakabeak flowers in late winter.

When we finished all the planting, the team helped bring up all the empty trays and pots.

We then took a drive up to explore more of the property – and that’s when the heavy rain set in.

But in spite of the rain, we took a leisurely walk back to the cottage.

After the walk, we had a relaxing and well deserved lunch to end a very productive day.

We want to thank Auckland Council for their most valued support to CUE Haven over the years.  Today was another example of some of the great things we are accomplishing together.

Many thanks to Jenn for organising the volunteer day.

And a BIG thank you to the very hard working team.  We enjoyed working with you and really appreciated your energy and enthusiasm in challenging conditions.  Thank you for selecting CUE Haven as your volunteer site and we look forward to having you back for another great day.  The trees you have planted will add to the growing native forest – what a fantastic contribution you’ve made to our environment and community!

Thank You!! Thank You!!

Air New Zealand Digital Strategy Team—3 July 2017

July 4, 2017

Today another great group of technology professionals from Air New Zealand made a big contribution to CUE Haven by doing an amazing amount of planting on a cold, wet day.

The group arrived early and included Daniel, Eileen, Fiona, Kieran, Mike N., Mike Z., Paul, Rosanne, Satnam, Tony, Yvette and Yvonne.  Yvette is a CUE Haven veteran, having also been out with an earlier Air New Zealand team last month.

We got acquainted over morning tea and then Mahrukh gave a short history of the CUE Haven project and Thomas gave a description of the work planned and a safety briefing.

The weather forecast had been for light showers but it was pouring when the group arrived.  Fortunately it cleared up a bit after morning tea and we went to work.

The plan for the day was to do some restoration planting in the wetlands.  We planted flax, cabbage trees, cyperes and carex as well as some long-lived kahikatea.  It was challenging planting.  Over the years, the invasive Mercer grass has taken over in some parts of the wetland and one way to control it from spreading is to plant hardy flaxes and cyperes that will shade it out.  In order to do the planting, it is necessary to dig down through the thick grass.

Because it was the wetlands, you also had to be careful of getting wet from below!

And there were also the periodic rain showers that got everyone wet from above:

But the group was very enthusiastic and hard-working and we even had to bring out two more loads of plants to keep them busy!

When we were finished, we carried all the gear back and  got cleaned up.

The fantastic team even helped clean up the spades.

After a relaxing lunch we went for a short tour and walk so that the team could see more of the property.

It was a wonderful day and a big thank you to Yvette for organising yet another fantastically successful Air New Zealand trip to CUE Haven.

And our many thanks to everyone in the hard working team.  It was great meeting you all and working with you and we truly appreciate the contribution you have made to CUE Haven and the planet.  You were all so enthusiastic and accomplished a lot in some challenging planting conditions and uncooperative weather.

The CUE Haven wetlands play an important role in the overall health of the regenerating bush and also of the Araparera River and Kaipara Harbour.  Your planting efforts have helped improve the quality of the wetlands which are becoming a home to many native plants, birds and animals.  The area you planted will also be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.

We hope you will come back and assist again next year, but more importantly we would love to have you out for a leisurely visit with your family and friends to explore and enjoy your CUE Haven community reserve.

Thank You! Thank You!

Nestlé New Zealand—30 June 2017

July 1, 2017

Nestlé NZ has been a major supporter of CUE Haven over the years, providing our volunteers with Nescafe coffees and other refreshments.  Nestle staff have also contributed their time and efforts and volunteered at CUE Haven, and today they made another important contribution with a great planting day.

The group arrived early and included Angel, Bryan, Chaelvin, David, Daina, Emma, Heath, Jason, Jennifer, Jyotsna, Kate, Matthew, Michelle, Nadia and Renate. 

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

The plan for the day was to plant long- lived canopy trees in the area that Nestlé staff originally planted in 2015.  The pioneer trees they planted then have grown up enough to provide protection for the taraire, totara, lancewood, matai and titoki we planted today.

This is how the area looked in 2015 and here are some of the Nestle team planting it:

And this is today’s team working in the same general area:

It was challenging planting because the area is sloping and there were also a lot of dead weeds to contend with.  But the group coped very well and quickly worked through all of the trees we had to plant in that area.

Here is Matthew planting in 2015:

And here he is amongst the trees planted then:

After planning in the 2015 area, the team moved into the wetlands to continue planting an area we are restoring.  Over the years, the invasive Mercer grass has taken over in some parts of the wetland and one way to control it from spreading is to plant hardy flaxes and cyperes that will shade it out.  We also planted some long-lived kahikateas in the more open areas.

The planting there was challenging because of the thick grass but once again the team worked hard and cheerfully got an amazing amount of planting done.

Planting in the muddy wetlands was a messy job!!

Jyotsna was unable to assist with planting today, but she contributed just as much as she assisted Mahrukh get lunch organized for the group. Thanks!

After a relaxing lunch we went for a short walk to explore more of the property.

It was a lovely way to end a great day.

We are very grateful for all the support Nestle NZ has provided to CUE Haven over the years.  The Nestle refreshments are very much appreciated and enjoyed by all our volunteers and visitors and we look forward to our ongoing partnership.

Our many thanks to Matthew and Jyotsna for organising another successful Nestle visit.  It was great having you back at CUE Haven and we very much appreciate your continued support.

And extra special thanks to the hard working team.  We really enjoyed meeting you all and working with you and really appreciate your enthusiasm and hard work and help.  We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did and that you will come back to visit.  You have made a lasting contribution to CUE Haven, and the planet.  The canopy trees you planted will create a sustainable habitat for a variety of plant and animal life and the growing forest will be enjoyed by the community for many generations. What a great legacy!!

Thanks again!

Air New Zealand Digital Strategy Team—19 June 2017

June 20, 2017

This week is National Volunteer Week in New Zealand and as part of the week’s celebration of volunteering, a team from Air New Zealand’s Digital Strategy group came out to CUE Haven for a day of planting.

The group arrived around ten and included Amit, Bronwyn, Craig, Gareth, Gillian, Jim, Jolyon, Michael, Nick, Paul, Philip, Rajesh, Sheryl, Shruti, Tim, Tom, Tony, Wayne and Yvette.

We got acquainted over morning tea and then Mahrukh gave a brief history of the CUE Haven project and Thomas gave a description of the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.

We then took the short walk up to the planting area and went to work.  The plan for the day was to do infill planting of big trees in the area first planted in 2014.  There is a section that slopes into a wetland and we decided to plant the area with kahikatea in the wetter areas and kowhai on the slightly higher ground.

It was challenging planting because the trees need to be planted amongst the pioneer trees that are growing up.  The group broke into teams of two and ventured into the bush!

The weather forecast was for rain, but fortunately it stayed dry the entire time and the conditions were perfect for planting.

Everyone was spread out in the bush and it was a real challenge finding them all so we could take pictures!

The group was very hard working and enthusiastic and we even had to bring up more plants.  In addition to the kahikatea and kowhai, they also planted some lancewood, taraire, matai and miro trees.

In just a few hours, the group planted an amazing number of trees and set a new record for the number of infill trees planted per man hour by a volunteer group!!

When they finished planting they even helped gather up the empty pots and crates for recycling.

It was then time for a relaxing lunch and later we went for a walk to explore more of the property.

It was a very successful and productive day and we are thrilled with all that the Air NZ Digital Strategy team accomplished.

We want to thank Yvette for organizing the day and also a huge thank you to everyone in the group.  It was a pleasure meeting all of you and working with you. We really appreciate your enthusiasm and hard work and help.  The canopy trees you planted will create a sustainable habitat for a variety of plant and animal life and the growing forest will be enjoyed by the community for many generations. What a great legacy!!

We hope you will come back for a more leisurely visit with your families and friends to explore more of the property and to see how your trees are growing.

Many Thanks Again!!