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Fleet Partners–5 December 2018

December 6, 2018

Fleet Partners NZ is a leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company based in Auckland.  Since 2014, corporate staff from the Auckland office have been doing their volunteer day at CUE Haven.

Today a small but dedicated group joined us for a fun and productive day.  The group arrived first thing in the morning and included Chris, Daniel, James, Paul, Ryan, Trevor and Vivienne.

Over morning tea, Mahrukh gave a welcome and orientation to CUE Haven for the benefit of the people who hadn’t been out before. She explained the history of the project and our plans for the future.

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

The plan for the day was to continue work on a boardwalk we have been building in the wetlands.  The job today was to work at both ends of the new section, finishing up the last bits, and  do some other track improvement tasks.

We broke the group into two teams to work simultaneously on each section.

One of the teams worked to finish off a curved track section that included some steps.  Getting the steps even and straight was a challenge and they spent some time studying the area to determine the best solution.

They came up with a plan to align the frames.

Once everything was level and straight, the top boards were installed.

They even cut small wedges to fill in all the little gaps to make a truly professional looking job!

In the meantime, the other team worked to finish off another corner.  This involved putting in a supporting frame and nailing planks on top.

They carefully measured the area to determine how long the supporting frame needed to be.

They then cut the board to size and installed it.

Once the frame was in place, the top boards were nailed in place to finish off the boardwalk!

The final boardwalk task was to put down a layer of wire mesh to make the boardwalk safe to use in all weather.

The new boardwalk section is a great addition to the CUE Haven walking track network and all of the teams who were involved in building it should be very proud.

While part of the group finished off the boardwalk mesh, the rest of the group went into the bush to work on a variety of track maintenance challenges.

An earlier group of volunteers built a railing on one side of a bridge crossing the CUE Haven stream.

We asked the Fleet Partners team to finish off the bridge by installing a similar railing on the other side.

We measured the timber that would be needed.  The first challenge the team faced was that we would need to drill holes in the posts and bridge for the bolts that hold the posts in place.  We carefully measured everything and drilled the holes in the posts down in the nursery.

We then took the timber up to the site and prepared the locations for the posts.

Once the positions were determined, the bolt holes in the bridge were drilled.

Prize for bravest volunteer goes to Chris who agreed to climb under the bridge to tighten the bolts.

Once the posts were secure, the side railings were installed.  And this is the final result.

The other track job we asked the group to work on was to install a post on a railing on another section of track.  The long end of the railing was at risk of warping and needed some support.

The team cut and drilled the support post in the nursery.

And then took it up to the track and installed it.

The tight space made it a challenge to get the bolt holes lined up so that the bolts could be tightened.

But the end result is a secure and good looking railing!

The team then decided that the wedge-shaped ends of the posts might be a hazard for future visitors and took turns cutting them down with a hand saw.

Mission accomplished!

We then packed up all the gear and drove up to the top of the property so that the new volunteers could see more of the property and the entire group could see the site for the future viewing platform.  And then headed back to the cottage for a leisurely lunch.

As always, we really enjoyed working with the Fleet Partners team.  It was great seeing old friends and meeting new ones as well and we’d like to thank Vivienne for organizing the volunteer day.

A HUGE thank you to everyone for their effort and hard work today.  You have all made a great contribution to CUE Haven and it was wonderful to see the way you developed creative solutions to the track issues–everyone had good ideas and showed a lot of dedication and the results are amazing–the track improvements will enable visitors to explore and enjoy the growing native forest safely and comfortably.

We hope to see all of you back at CUE Haven both for another fun and productive day and also for a relaxing visit with your friends and families to explore CUE Haven – your community native forest reserve.

THANK YOU!!

 

 

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T & G Global—30 November 2018

December 1, 2018

T&G Global is New Zealand’s largest and oldest fresh produce grower, distributor, marketer and exporter.  A significant amount of their community outreach work relates to healthy eating and diet, but they also provide their employees with a service day for community work.  Today ten people from the marketing group joined us for some spring maintenance work.

The group included Belinda, Ben, Brenda, Caleb, Cecilia, Janay, Jo, Louise, Michelle and Sandi.

Also joining us for the day was our friend Alan.

Over morning tea, Mahrukh gave a welcome and orientation to CUE Haven. She explained the history of the project and our plans for the future.

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

The plan for the day was to continue work on a boardwalk we have been building in the wetlands.  The job today was to work at both ends of the new section, joining up the new parts to the existing boardwalk sections.

We broke the group into two teams to work simultaneously on each section.  A few people helped out doing some potting up in the nursery and some weeding.

Alan worked with one of the teams and they tackled finishing off the last section of the walk.  It was a challenge because it involved building a sharp curve to join the sections.

The team took the time to study the situation and devise a solution.

After a lot of measuring, the first task was to cut and assemble the framework.

Once the framework was in place, it was time for the challenging task of measuring and cutting the top boards.

Once the boards were cut, they were nailed into place.

The team should be very proud of the end result! Here are the before and after pictures —

In the meantime, the second team worked with Thomas to improve a section of the boardwalk that had settled and shifted out of alignment.  It was challenging work because they had to evaluate the situation and come up with a lasting solution.

Once they came up with a preliminary strategy, the next task was to dismantle the section of the walk that had moved out of position.

They could then correct the underlying issue and reconstruct the boardwalk.

The result is a much safer and easier—and futureproof—boardwalk section.  The team should be proud of their efforts which required a lot of mental and physical challenges!

While the boardwalk teams worked away, a couple of staff assisted with some nursery work and repotted some seedlings into bigger pots.

And they also assisted with some much needed weeding around the cottage and really spruced up the place.

The enthusiastic teams insisted on working past the originally planned lunch time in order to finish off their work.  After a relaxing lunch and we took a tour of the property driving up to the top of the property and then having a leisurely walk back via the walking track.

We really enjoyed working with this team—they were enthusiastic and fun and we’d like to thank Ben for suggesting CUE Haven as a charity to support and for Michelle for organizing the volunteer day.  We hope you are the first of many T&G teams visiting us.

Our many thanks to Alan for coming along and helping out.  Your assistance and advice were most helpful.

A HUGE thank you to everyone for their effort and hard work today.  We really enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you better.  You have all made a great contribution to CUE Haven. It was wonderful to see the way you developed creative solutions to the track issues–everyone had good ideas and showed a lot of dedication and the results are amazing.  The repotted seedling will grow better, the weeding has spruced up the area and the track improvements will enable visitors to explore and enjoy the growing native forest safely and comfortably.

THANK YOU!!

We hope to see all of you back at CUE Haven both for another fun and productive day and also for a relaxing visit with your friends and families to explore CUE Haven – your community native forest reserve.

ANZ—23 November 2018

November 24, 2018
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ANZ, one of New Zealand’s largest banks, also have a strong commitment to community service.  Since 2013, groups of ANZ professionals have been coming to CUE Haven to plant and help with maintenance work, and today a group of 7 executives from the Auckland CBD – Commercial and Agri Business group spent the day helping us with walking track work.

It was great to see old friends Fiona, Logan and Phil and welcome new volunteers Hamish, Jono, Sean and Sophie.

Over morning tea, Mahrukh gave a quick overview of the CUE Haven project for the benefit of those new to CUE Haven and an update on the latest news for the veterans.

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

The task for the day was to carry on building a board walk in the wetlands.  A previous group of volunteers had made a good start on the boardwalk but there was still a long section to complete and link up to the existing boardwalk.

The team spent time up front studying the alternative approaches to the job.  There were some steps in the original track and they had to decide whether to incorporate the steps into the new boardwalk or dig out enough dirt to make the walk level.

The team decided that digging to create a level boardwalk was the best solution and went to work.

It didn’t take long for the diggers to totally transform the area.

While the digging group worked away, the rest of the team worked on building the framing boxes that form the foundation of the boardwalk.

The job required a lot of planning measuring, digging and nailing.

And the work required regular checking to make sure everything was square and level.

Once the frames were in place and the line of the boardwalk had been determined, we could figure out how many top boards we’d need.  Fiona helped Thomas cut the boards to size.

We then brought the timber down to the site and went to work finishing off the boardwalk.

The ANZ team did a great job on the boardwalk and they should be very proud of the results!

Future volunteer teams will finish off the boardwalk and the excellent work the ANZ group did will serve as a good guide.

We then packed up all the gear and went back to the cottage for a relaxing lunch.  After lunch, we took the team for a tour of the property and a leisurely walk down the walking track.

It was a very productive day.  The team developed creative solutions and worked hard and the results are amazing.  The improvements will enable visitors to explore and enjoy the wetlands safely and comfortably.

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

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

Thanks again!!

Orewa College—21 November 2018

November 21, 2018

As part of their end of year activities, Year ten students at Orewa College north of Auckland were able to select from a variety of outdoor projects and 11 students chose to come to CUE Haven to help us with some of our spring maintenance work.

At 9:30 science teacher Michele Caldicott arrived with students Catalina, Ethan, Freya, Genevieve, Jackson, Jared, Laura, Matthew, Michela, Sara and Tahlia.

We got acquainted over morning tea and Mahrukh told the group about the history and development of the CUE Haven Community Native Forest Reserve.

The plan for the day was to do a variety of tasks that would give the students a good overview of native New Zealand plants and animals and challenges associated with bush restoration.

The first task was to trim away some vegetation that was growing over the driveway and main road.  Thomas explained the work to be done and gave a safety briefing.

We broke the group into two teams.  One team went with Thomas to clear the main road.

We encountered a variety of weather conditions from heavy rain to bright sun!

We moved up the road towards the top of the property.

In the meantime, Michelle took another team to trim away some of the flaxes that were growing over the driveway.

The team did a great job and visitors won’t have to navigate around flax leaves for a while!

Both teams joined up about halfway up the main road and we stored the gear there to continue on a walk around the property.

On the walk, Thomas explained the history of the restoration work and showed the students the different planting areas.  He explained some of the challenges of weed and pest control and also pointed out the Kaipara Harbour, the neighbouring farms and the Araparera River so that the students could see the impact of different land uses on the landscape and appreciate how water quality in the Harbour is affected by land use. The group also had a chance to see some of the work that other students had done.

And got to meet a weta in one of the weta hotels.

The walk finished up in the wetlands where they had a chance to see different wetland plants and features.

After the walk, we assembled in the nursery to pot up some seedlings.  Mahrukh explained the nursery operation and why we were potting up seedlings.

Thomas gave a demonstration of how to transplant the seedlings.

And the students went to work and got their hands dirty.

Many thanks to Daltons for generously donating the potting mix that the students used today.

Thomas tested the student’s knowledge of New Zealand plants, animals and geography and there were prizes for those answering most questions correctly.

And Mahrukh led an exercise to see how many native trees the students could identify.

We then finished off with a relaxing lunch before the students headed back to school at 2 pm.

We’d like to thank Michelle for organising the day and bringing out the students and helping today. We hope to have you back with more students next year.

And, a BIG THANK YOU to the hard working students. We enjoyed meeting you and working with you and we hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.  The trees you transplanted today will mature in the nursery over the summer and will be planted in the field next winter.  They will become some of the forest giants of the CUE Haven forest, living for hundreds of years.

We wish you all the best with your studies and future plans and look forward to having you visit CUE Haven again soon.  Thanks!

Air New Zealand Greenteam Enviro Hunt—18 November 2018

November 20, 2018

The Air New Zealand Greenteam is a group of Air New Zealand employees who volunteer their own time every month to give back to their communities through preserving and protecting our environment by assisting environmental projects all over the country.  For the past four years, the amazing Greenteam and some of their family members have helped out at CUE Haven by planting trees.

The Greenteam members and their families were back out to CUE Haven today not to work, but for a fun and relaxing spring BBQ picnic and an “enviro hunt” to give the Green Team members a chance to enjoy the bush and socialize without having to work.

In addition to a picnic and walk in the bush, the enviro hunt is an opportunity to learn fun facts about New Zealand plant and animal life and geography.  The participants form teams (with creative names) and as they walk through the bush, they have to answer questions placed on boards all along the walking track.

Shelley Crawford, Air NZ Community Engagement executive and Greenteam coordinator who organised the event, arrived first thing in the morning with partner Josh and along with Mahrukh and Thomas of CUE Haven got everything organized.

They marked the route with red and blue ribbons to guide the teams.

The question signs were also installed at various points along the route.

There were also several test challenges set up along the way.  At one stop, the teams had to look around for items starting with a particular letter. And at another stop, Thomas talked about introduced animal pests and trapping and demonstrated how some of the traps work.

At another stop they had to remain quiet and listen for sounds in the bush.

And the feather challenge involved finding unique feathers that Shelley and Josh hid around one of the picnic platforms.

The Greenteam members and their families and friends arrived around ten—a total of 81 guests!  The group had light refreshments and Mahrukh welcomed everyone and gave a short talk about CUE Haven for the benefit of new members.

Shelley then described the programme for the day and the activities and prizes.

Thomas then gave a safety briefing.

The weather forecast had been for cloudy skies and showers but it turned out to be sunny spring day so we made sure everyone had hats and sunblock.

There were thirteen teams and they were sent out at three minute intervals along two different routes. The teams moved along their assigned routes, exploring the bush, answering questions and doing the tasks

Greenteam members – Jan, Leanne, Sarah, Tui and her daughter Daisy helped out for the day at some of the activity stops and at the water and cookie stop at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Grove hut.

One group took time for a quick chess game!

As the teams returned one by one, the little ones were kept entertained with activities.  The Story Time Fairy Saini did a great job.

The colouring in competition also kept the children busy.

While the teams were out exploring, Anoo, Shelley, Shaun and Mahrukh got the BBQ lunch organized.  When all the teams reported back we had the yummy lunch.

While lunch was served, the volunteer judges tallied up the teams’ scores.

It was a real challenge judging the colouring-in competition.

Shelley then awarded the prizes.  The winning team for the mystery quote was Team Gibson taking less than a minute to complete the quote from Jane Goodall– “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

The overall winning team was Team Highway led by Shen Harrison.  They completed the course in just over an hour and had the most correct answers and won a $100 prezzy card!

Other prizes were awarded for the colouring competition and there were also a variety of spot prizes for answering trivia questions about the environment.

It was a fun day of exploring, exercise and learning and the Greenteam members got a chance to enjoy the growing native forest at CUE Haven.

Our many thanks to Shelley for all of her hard work organising yet another very successful family day out.  Shelley, we really appreciate your continued support of CUE Haven.

And a huge thank you to volunteers Anoo,  Daisy, Jan, Josh, Leanne, Sarah, Shaun and Tui; and of course the beautiful Story Time fairy Saini.

And a big thank you to all the wonderful Air New Zealand Greenteam members and their families who joined us today. We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.   It was wonderful seeing old friends and welcoming new people and we look forward to seeing all of you again soon.

Spark and Friends—16 November 2018

November 17, 2018

Spark is New Zealand’s leading digital services provider and one of New Zealand’s largest companies.   Since 2013, Spark employees have been coming to CUE Haven for their staff volunteer days and have made major contributions to our walking track network.  Over the years, the team has grown to include Spark alumni who have moved on to other companies.

Today’s team included Anna, Charlotte, Dawson, Joe, Karen, Kayla, Luke, Lynne, Martin, Nolan, Paul, Peter, Phil, Pieter, Pramoth, Prathim, Rochelle, Sindhu, Steve, Tom and Wendy. It was great seeing old friends again and meeting new ones.

We spent some time catching up and getting acquainted over morning tea.  Mahrukh gave a welcome and introduction and updated the group on the latest developments at CUE Haven.

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

Because the planned work involved several different activities, we broke the group into  teams to tackle different tasks.  As projects finished, people moved around to different teams.

Stair and Bridge Rails

There are two stairways and one bridge along the walking track where we decided that putting up hand rails would help visitors.   Each of the three projects was very different and required a lot of planning.  Two small teams went out to the field and had a look at each situation and developed a solution.  They then collected the materials they would need and went to work.

The work areas were in some of the remotest parts of the track and we drove in as close as possible to make it easier to carry in all the gear.

The first project was to build a rail along a sloped ramp section of track.  There is a nice bench which was built by a team of students and we thought a railing along the ramp behind the bench was a good safety precaution.

The team decided to install three support posts to attach the railing.  They figured out the best location for the posts.

And the next challenge was digging the post holes.  They even had to temporarily disassemble part of the back of the bench to gain access to the site.

The team also did some repairs to the retaining wall along the side of the ramp to make it more secure.

It was a long walk bringing in the water and cement to secure the posts.

They temporarily installed the rail to hold things together as the posts were secured with concrete.

The railing is a major improvement in the appearance and safety of that section of track.

Another challenging section of track is a narrow ramp down to the stream.  We felt than a side rail would give visitors more comfort and security.

The team decided to install three support posts and two rails.

They dug the holes and cemented the posts in place.

And then secured the rails.

Once the top rail was installed, they measured to determine the positioning of the second rail.

And the end result is a much safer and attractive track section.

The last railing task involved a bridge over the stream.  It is a small bridge and not high off the ground, but visitors enjoy congregating there to watch the stream and rock pools and we wanted to provide some extra safety.

The challenge with this job was to secure the posts to the sides of the bridge.  This involved drilling holes and bolting the posts in place.

Once the posts were secure, the horizontal rails were nailed in place.

And the result is both attractive and useful!

Once all the rail work was finished, the teams collected all the gear and brought it back up to the road.

Track Clearing and Trimming

We’ve had a good spring for growing and a lot of vegetation has been growing over the tracks and boardwalk.   We asked one of the teams to clear the tracks by trimming away overhanging vegetation.  This makes the tracks easier and safer to walk.

It was slow tedious work, but the team worked cheerfully and cleared a very long section of the boardwalk and walking track and then joined the team to work on the boardwalk improvements.

Wetlands Boardwalk Improvements

The Lisa’s Wish Grove in the wetlands is being developed as a memorial area and is becoming one of the main entrances into the wetlands.  We noticed that the track there was very wet and muddy this winter and decided that a new boardwalk would be a good solution.  There were also some sections connecting with the main boardwalk that were not holding up well that we wanted the team to fix up.

The team had a look at the area and planned their work.  The tasks involved included clearing and levelling the area, building boardwalk frames, installing and leveling them and then putting on the top planks.  It all involved a lot of thinking, digging, measuring, cutting and nailing.

After the planning and measuring, it was time to start digging!

While most of the group was digging, the timber needed was cut in the nursery /workshop.

They then assembled and installed the foundation frames.

Meanwhile, Dawson and Lynne took out some of the uneven boards from the old section and fixed them.

It was a challenge linking up new and old boardwalk sections.

As the foundation frames were completed, the top boards were installed.

The job required a lot of nailing and Rochelle kept everyone well stocked with nails.

Getting the irregular shaped pieces on curved boardwalk sections is always a challenge and the team came up with some great solutions.

The new and improved boardwalk sections are a huge improvement that will contribute to the safety and appearance of the area.

The hard-working team insisted on working all day, so we broke for a relaxing lunch after mid-day.

Some of the people who hadn’t been to CUE Haven before also took a break to explore the property.  They had a quick walk down the track, checking out the weta hotels and other sights along the way.

The whole group went back to work after lunch and enthusiastically worked on till well past 5 pm!!

As always, we really enjoyed hosting the Spark and Friends group and we’d like to thank to Paul for organising the volunteer day and for continuing to champion CUE Haven at Spark for the past several years.

And many thanks to Spark alumni, Anna and Steve, for their continued support and taking the time out and joining us again today.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone for their effort and hard work today.  For team members who hadn’t been to CUE Haven before, we really enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you better.  And it was great seeing old friends again.  Thanks for your continuing interest, support and most valued contribution.  We so appreciate your interest, enthusiasm and hard work.  It was great to see the way you developed creative solutions to the track issues–everyone had great ideas and showed a lot of dedication to improving the track and the results are amazing.  The improvements will enable visitors to explore and enjoy the growing native forest safely and comfortably.

We hope to see all of you back at CUE Haven both for another fun and productive day next year and also for a relaxing visit with your friends and families to explore CUE Haven – your community native forest reserve.

Through collaboration we will all stand with purpose

Thank You!!

SKYouth—15 November 2018

November 16, 2018

SKYouth Trust, is an organization based in South Kaipara, Auckland, working to assist youth on their journey to discover themselves, others and the environment in caring, safe ways.

We were delighted when the trustees contacted us about using CUE Haven as a venue for SKYouth activities.  In October, several of the SKYouth leadership visited CUE Haven and we discussed ways we might work together.  One possibility is to have SKYouth members take on artwork or building projects.

Today trustee Jeanette Cummings, senior leader Jacinta, student leaders Dante and Divine from Kaipara College, and students Bayden, Jasmine, Jax, Noah and Toby from Helensville Primary and Parakai School visited CUE Haven for a tour and a picnic dinner to get them started thinking about possible projects.

The group arrived at about five and we got acquainted over snacks.  Mahrukh also gave a quick talk about CUE Haven.

Jeanette briefly told the group the plan for the evening.

We then drove the group to the top of the property and on the way, we visited each of the platform areas that we want to turn into picnic areas.  One of the projects the group might undertake is to develop one or more of the platforms.

The group found a relaxing spot to have their dinner picnic.

They then walked back down the main walking track to get a better idea of what some of the other groups have done as far as projects and artwork.

Jeanette, thanks for organising the visit. We really enjoyed meeting the SKYouth group and look forward to working together.