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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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The board is then cut to size.

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

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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.

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The side boards are then secured in place with pegs.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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The result is an amazing improvement!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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The team broke for a late lunch shortly after one.

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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.

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

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

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The new track looks amazing.

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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.

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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.

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Wainui School—22 November 2016

November 23, 2016

Today we had another great group of Year 3 and 4 students from Wainui School out to CUE Haven for a day of learning, exploring and fun.

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Also joining us for the day was our friend and ecologist, Fiona, who volunteered to assist us with the activities today.

The Wainui School group of forty students, ten parents and three teachers arrived at ten and we started with a quick morning tea and then a short introduction to the CUE Haven project and a safety briefing.

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There were three different activities for the students today. The first was to pot up seedlings in the nursery, the second was a field study session on invertebrates and the last was a nature walk to learn more about native New Zealand plants and animals and our restoration work.

Because of the size of the group and the limited time available, we broke into two groups and each group got a chance to do each of the activities.

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Mahrukh led the potting session in the nursery.  Jane Straka, one of the parents who came today is a horticulturalist and she conducted the session – training the students how to correctly pot the seedlings.

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The students quickly went to work and in no time managed to transplant all of the totara, tararie and miro seedlings.  The repotting is very important because the trees need larger pots and more soil in order to grow large enough to be planted out in the field.

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

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At the end of the session, Mahrukh took some time to show the students some of the other canopy tree seedlings in the nursery such as kahikatea, kowhai, lancewood, matai, nikau, rewarewa and pukatea.  She also gave them a quick lesson on the calls of different native NZ birds.

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The students did a great job potting up the seedlings and made a wonderful contribution to the CUE Haven restoration project.  Once the trees are planted in the field, they will grow up to forest giants and live for hundreds of years.  Thank you!

The session on invertebrates was conducted by one of the parents, Shanthie Walker, who is an environmental educator.  The session started with Shanthie talking to the students about invertebrates in general and then moved on to the different types of insects, their role in the food chain and in ensuring the health of the environment.

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Shanthie then led the students through a series of activities where they learned about the characteristics of insects and how to identify them based on their unique aspects such as whether they flew or walked, how many wings they have, etc.  She gave the students picture cards to give them a chance to see different varieties of insects.  Each student was asked to find another student with a similar insect in terms of arrangement of wings, legs, antennae, etc.

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The objective of the exercise was to get the students thinking about the many different varieties of insects and to prepare them for their identification work.

Shanthie had set up work stations and experiments for the students in the orchard.  Each station had a tray and spoons and brushes and field identification guides.  The students each had magnifying lenses and they explored the leaf litter to find and identify as many insects as they could.

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Shanthie then led the students in an exercise to understand the role of insects in the food chain. She gave each student a picture or figure of an insect, plant or bird and had them match up each item with what creature ate what.

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The third activity was the bush walk, led by Thomas. Before we left, he gave another short safety briefing and also talked a little bit about what the students would see on the walk.

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During the walk, Thomas pointed out some of the different planting areas to show the students how the trees were growing and explained the difference between wetland and non-wetland plantings.

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The students got a good look at some wetas sleeping in one of the many weta houses at CUE Haven which were made and installed by the Westlake Girls High School students last year.

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The students also visited a grove of manuka where lots of stick insects live.

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

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Thomas also talked about how our pest control efforts had revitalized the puriri tree and that it was attracting lots of kereru who liked to eat the berries of the puriri.  Kereru also like karaka seeds and had dropped some under the puriri tree and now there were karaka trees growing under the puriri tree.  It was a chance for the students to see how many different things in nature are interconnected.

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And they also got to see a wild bee hive in a puriri tree where Thomas explained some of the steps we are taking to protect the bees from varroa mites.

After the walk we had a quick lunch before the students left for their visit to our local marae.  Before they left, they thanked us and gave us a generous gift.

We had another great day with the Wainui School students and we’d like to thank Nestle NZ for their ongoing support and generously providing the delicious Nestle hot chocolate milk for the students, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Our thanks also to Daltons Landscape Supplies for their continued support of CUE Haven and for donating the potting mix used today.

Daltons logoOur many thanks to the parents and teachers who came out and helped ensure that everything went smoothly. And special thanks to Deputy Principal Wendy Taylor for making all the arrangements for the school visits.  We enjoyed meeting you all and getting to know you and look forward to seeing you all again soon.

A huge thank you to Shanthie and Jane for conducting the activities for the students. And many thanks to Fiona for giving up a day to help out.  We really appreciate valuable assistance you have all provided and look forward to having you back.

And finally a very BIG THANK YOU to all the students. We were very impressed by how polite, motivated and enthusiastic you were.  We appreciated all of your questions and hope you had a good time and learned a lot.

Thank you for all your help with potting up the seedlings. The trees you potted up today will be planted at CUE Haven once they become bigger and they will create the forest of long lived canopy trees that will be enjoyed for many generations.  What a wonderful contribution you have all made to our planet and our community!

We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE!!

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Wainui School—16 November 2016

November 17, 2016

Wainui School in rural north Auckland is one of the oldest schools in the North Island. The school was established in 1879 and the original school building is part of a museum exhibit in Auckland.

Today we had a great group of forty Year 3 and 4 students and 13 parents and teachers out for a day of learning and exploring.

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The group arrived shortly after ten and we started with a quick morning tea and then a short introduction to the CUE Haven project and a safety briefing.

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The plan for the day was for the students to do three activities.  The first was potting up seedlings in the nursery, the second was a field study session on invertebrates and the last was a nature walk to learn more about native New Zealand plants and animals and our restoration work.

Because of the size of the group and the limited time available, we broke into two groups for the first two activities.

The first group joined Mahrukh in the nursery where they potted up kauri, miro, taraire and totara seedlings into bigger pots. Susan Waugh, one of the parents who came today is a horticulturalist and she conducted the session – training the students how to correctly pot the seedlings.

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The students worked in teams and very quickly potted up a lot of seedlings into bigger pots.

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

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At the end of the session, Mahrukh took some time to show the students how to identify some of the other trees in the nursery such as kahikatea, kowhai, lancewood, matai, nikau, rewarewa and pukatea.

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In just an hour the two groups managed to re-pot over one hundred and twenty trees!  Yay!

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The session on invertebrates was conducted by one of the parents, Shanthie Walker, who is an environmental educator.

Shanthie had arrived earlier and set up work stations and experiments for the students.

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The presentation began with an overview about invertebrates and insects and their role in the food chain and in ensuring the health of the environment.

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Shanthie then led the students through a series of activities where they learned about the characteristics of insects and how to identify them based on their unique aspects such as whether they flew or walked, how many wings they have, etc.  She gave the students picture cards to give them a chance to see different varieties of insects.

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And then they went into the orchard to gather their own specimens to study and identify using magnifying glasses and field guides.

By digging in the leaf litter under the trees they found an amazing variety of worms and insects.

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At the end of both sessions, the groups switched so that all of the students had a chance to do the bug hunt and pot up seedlings.

When all of the students had done each activity, Thomas took the entire group on a short walk in the bush.

Before we left on the walk, Thomas gave another short safety briefing and also talked a little bit about what they would see on the walk.

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During the walk, Thomas pointed out some of the different planting areas to show the students how the trees were growing and explained the difference between wetland and non-wetland plantings.

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The students had a chance to see the area where the landslip occurred during a heavy rain storm this past August, and Thomas explained why tree planting is important to help stabilize the soil.

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

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The students also learned how to tell the difference between manuka and kanuka trees.

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We finished up with a walk through the wetlands where the students got a chance to see the results of our trapping efforts in action—a big stoat had been caught in one of the DOC 200 traps along the boardwalk.

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After the walk we had a quick lunch before the students left for their next visit.

We had a great day with the Wainui students and we’d like to thank Nestle NZ for their ongoing support and generously providing the delicious Nestle hot chocolate milk for the students, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

A big thank you to Daltons Landscape Supplies for their continued support of CUE Haven and for donating the potting mix used today.

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Many thanks to the parents and teachers who came out and helped ensure that everything went smoothly.  We enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you and look forward to seeing you again soon.

A special thank you to Shanthie and Susan for your help with the activity sessions.

And finally a very BIG THANK You to all the students and for your generous gift, too.

We really appreciate your efforts in the nursery.  The trees you potted up today will be planted at CUE Haven once they become bigger and they will create the forest of long lived canopy trees that will be enjoyed for generations.  What a wonderful contribution you have all made to our planet and our community!!

We were very impressed by how polite, motivated and enthusiastic you were.  We appreciated all of your questions and hope you had a good time and learned a lot. We also hope you will come back for other fun and learning activities and also return with your families and friends to explore more of CUE Haven.

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ANZ and Fleet Partners—11 November 2016

November 12, 2016

ANZ and Fleet Partners are two Auckland companies who regularly send teams to CUE Haven to help out. Today was the day both of them could make a spring visit so we had a great combined team. It was good seeing old friends and meeting new people.

Team ANZ included Andrew, Bion, Chris, Fiona, Jay, Kelly, Laura. Luke, Max, Phil, Sam, Tom and Wei Lun.

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And joining us from Fleet Partners were Daniel, David, Joseph, Saligi, Sian and Vivienne.

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Also joining us were our friends, Roger and Tim who volunteer extensively in the community.

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The groups arrived at around nine and we got acquainted over morning tea.  Mahrukh gave a short overview of the CUE Haven project for those people who hadn’t been out before and Thomas gave a safety briefing and an overview of the work to be done.

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The plan for the day was to do spring maintenance work on one of the walking tracks and begin work on a new track.

Because we had a large group, we split into three teams.  The first team worked on installing retaining walls along the first section of the track.

The track traverses a downward slope and the soil tends to erode onto the track while the track surface can also erode downhill. To correct this problem, the team built small retaining walls along the edges of the track.

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The sections were secured with pegs pounded into the ground.

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The second team worked on an area of the track which runs alongside a portion of the wetlands.  Many people have planted memorial trees in the wetlands and we have put a bench along the track so that visitors have a place to relax, reflect and enjoy the surroundings.  We asked the team to improve the area by levelling the track, making a step up to the bench and boxing in the track sections to prevent erosion.

The first task was to clear up the area in front of the bench.

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They then planned how they wanted to construct the step and the section of track that curves in front of the bench.

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They formed the step and cut the timber to frame and cover it.

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They then built a small retaining wall to make the corner.

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Once the frame was in place, the team could fill it in with soil to make the track level.

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As a final step, the team decided to cover the surface with gravel to finish it off and make it safe in all weather.  They went down to the metal pile and filled buckets with gravel.

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Which then had to be carried to the site!

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

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Future volunteer teams will join up the other track sections and next winter we will do some additional planting and landscaping in the area to finish it off.

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The third team tackled a different project altogether. On the other side of the wetlands across from the bench area is an alternative access into the memorial planting area.  In order to give visitors additional options for exploring the area we decided to build a new track to connect the wetland area to another track farther up on the property.

The area down to the wetlands is quite steep and we asked the team to construct the track with lots of switchbacks with gentle slopes rather than a straight in track which would be steep and require a lot of steps.  The team did a fantastic job of mapping out an optimal route and then using spades, rakes and grubbers, carved out the new track.

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In spite of the switchbacks, there were some areas that required steps and the team installed them along the track where necessary.

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The new track is off to a great start and later teams will finish it off by adding additional steps and retaining walls.

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After several hours of hard work, we broke for a relaxing lunch.

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We had a fantastic day.  The weather was perfect and the group accomplished a lot more than we expected.  They came up with innovative solutions to some challenging walking track issues and the tracks look better and are safer than ever. And we also have a new track!!

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Our many thanks to Roger and Tim for giving up a day to help out.  Your experience and assistance were invaluable and greatly contributed to the successful day.

A big thank you to Vivienne and Bion of Fleet Partners and ANZ respectively for their ongoing support and help with organising the day.

And a huge thank you to everyone for working so hard today. We know the work was new and challenging and we really appreciate your dedication and enthusiasm.

You have all made an important and lasting contribution to the 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 hope you will come back with your families for a more relaxing visit and to explore the rest of the property.

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Thanks again!!

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Orewa College—8 November 2016

November 8, 2016

Orewa College, located on the Hibiscus Coast north of Auckland, has a significant international exchange program.  The school seeks to enrich international students’ experience in New Zealand by giving them wide exposure to New Zealand culture and natural heritage.  Since 2014, Adrienne Croad, International Students Development Manager at Orewa College, has brought groups of international students to CUE haven to explore, learn a little about New Zealand plants and animals and to leave a permanent mark in NZ by helping us with our restoration work.

Today we had a group of students from Italy, Germany and Japan.  The group arrived shortly after nine and included Adrienne and students Chiara, Claudia, Fine, Lukas, Marius, Ryuji and Sophia.  Stan Parker, a friend and supporter of Orewa College and CUE Haven, also joined the group for the day.

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

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The first task the group tackled was to finish up some landscaping work.  The biggest challenge was digging out the old agaves before planting the native flaxes.  The students had the area looking totally different in no time.

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We then moved up near the cottage where the group did some weeding and planting in an area that that been taken over by weeds.

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There are three areas on the property that were used to stage the plants when we planted the surrounding areas. These platforms have not been planted as we plan to develop them as picnic areas for visitors.

Although we had sprayed out the weeds on one of the platforms, there were lots of tall dead weeds and grass and the energetic group attacked the weeds with grubbers, loppers and spades and got it ready for further development.

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The final task the team took on was to fix up some of the steps on the new walking track.  We built the track last summer and after the first winter, the ground shifts and settles and sometimes the steps can become uneven.  We used a spirit level to test the steps and adjusted each one so that they are now all even and ready for boxing in.

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We then took a leisurely walk back down to the cottage for a quick lunch before the students headed back to school.

It was a cold and windy spring day and the delicious Hot Chocolate and Nescafe menu coffees generously provided by Nestle NZ were much appreciated by all. Thanks Nestle!

A big thank you to Stan for his help today.  It was great having you back and we enjoy working with you and look forward to having you out again soon.

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And many thanks to Adrienne for making all the arrangements for today’s visit and bringing the students out and working with the students. We really appreciate your continued support of the CUE Haven project.

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And a special thank you to the students for all your hard work today.  We appreciate your efforts and hope you enjoyed the day.  We enjoyed working with you—you all have made a lasting contribution to CUE Haven and New Zealand’s natural heritage.

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We hope you have a great stay in New Zealand and wish you happiness and success in your future endeavours and we hope that someday you will come back to New Zealand and visit CUE Haven too.

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Lisa’s Wish Charitable Trust—6 November 2016

November 7, 2016

Lisa’s Wish Trust is an organisation conceived by the late Lisa Knapman-Smith, a wife and mother who passed away from cancer in 2009 at the age of 29.  Lisa’s vision was that the Trust would provide support and activities for young children whose parents or caregivers have been afflicted by cancer.

Since 2015, Lisa’s Wish Trust (LWT) has held weekend camps for children in the summer and a spring community day at CUE Haven and today we had a great group out for the spring community day.

The team from LWT included Are, Avery, Cecilia, Cort, Ian, Isaac, Jeremiah, Khinmilia, Liz, Michael, Nikita, Rosemarie, Seb, and Tahnee.  Also joining us this morning were our friends and volunteers Adrian, Ajay, Fiona and Jing.  It was great seeing old friends and meeting some nice new people.

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The group arrived at nine and we got acquainted over morning tea.

Mahrukh gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and Thomas gave a description of the work planned for the day and a safety briefing.

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Because of the nature of the work planned for the day, we broke the teams into three groups. Over the course of the morning, as teams finished up their tasks they moved to other areas to help out.

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One grouped worked on landscaping around the front gate. After winter and a wet spring, lots of weeds had grown up and the area was very messy.

The first task was to clear away the weeds.

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Once the weeds were cleared, the team planted some miniature flax bushes to fill in the area.

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As a result of the team’s hard work, the area now looks much better and it a nice welcome for visitors to CUE Haven.

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Another group worked in the orchard and around the cottage.  This is another area that had a lot of weeds after winter and they first spent time clearing up the area and getting rid of weeds.

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Once the area was clear, the group planted some hardy native ground cover plants which will spread and fill in the area.

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At one point Fiona found a skink and it made friends with Avery.

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The group worked their way around behind the house to the other side, continuing to weed and plant.

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It was a large and challenging area to work in but thanks to the team’s efforts it looks very much better.

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The third group worked clearing weeds in the Lisa’s Wish Grove.  The first challenge was to clear weeds from the walking track leading into the Grove.

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They also trimmed back vegetation that had grown onto the walking track.

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Because the Lisa’s Wish Grove in is the wetlands, we often have to deal with morning glory, which is a climbing vine that can smother plants.  The only way to deal with it is to pull it out by hand. Members from the other group came over to help out and everyone did a great job of clearing the Grove.

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We ended the day at noon with a relaxing lunch and some chocolate cake.

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After lunch, Ian helped a young family that had lost a beloved husband and father to cancer plant a kahikatea as a memorial tree in the Lisa’s Wish Grove.

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The group then went for a short walk around the wetlands before heading home for a much needed and well deserved nap.

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It was a wonderful day and in just a few hours the group accomplished a lot.

Our many thanks to Rosemarie Knapman-Smith, trustee of the Lisa’s Wish Charitable Trust, for all her help with organising the day.

And a BIG thank you to all the members of the Lisa’s Wish Trust team and also Adrian, Ajay, Fiona and Jing for giving up a Sunday and coming out to help us with the weeding and landscape planting.  We really appreciate your hard work and all your efforts. And thanks to you, CUE Haven is looking refreshed.

It was great having you all out and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Thanks again!

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