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Project Background

In late 2003, we purchased a 59 acre farm in Araparera, an hour north of Auckland city on the Kaipara Coast Highway (State Highway 16). What we liked about the site was that it overlooked the Kaipara Harbour and about a quarter of the property had established native forest and wetlands. Plus the contours and several streams gave the property an interesting character.

Our original plan was to establish a retreat where people from different walks of life could come together to relax and rejuvenate their minds by sharing ideas and ideologies, and learning from each other in a personal and substantive way.

We decided to call the place CUE Haven.

CUE seemed the apt name for what we hoped to achieve.

Per Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary – CUE is

(i)              any signal or motion to begin or enter

(ii)              a hint; intimation; suggestion

(iii)            a course of action

(iv)            frame of mind; mood ; temperament

(v)              in psychology, a secondary stimulus that guides behaviour, often without entering consciousness.

We hoped our place would provide people who visited us with a stimulus to embark on a journey of understanding and enlightenment.

CUE Haven would be a place for Cultivating Understanding and Enlightenment.

When we bought the property, it was being used to graze beef cattle. As we were both busy with other projects at that time, we decided to temporarily lease the farm to a local farmer to graze his cattle.

Turning the farm into a special place was always on our minds and over the years as more and more farms were being subdivided for lifestyle blocks and property development, we decided that instead of building a centre for a retreat, we would convert the farm back to native forest.  Approximately 24% (14 acres) of the property was already covered in native forest and wetlands and we thought that it would be wonderful if we could create a sustainable forest eco system by restoring connectivity between the forest remnants.  This would have the added benefit of enhancing biodiversity and wildlife, and also provide headwater protection of the stream tributary that discharges into the Kaipara Harbour.

Our objective is to create a wetland/forest reserve that the community can enjoy for generations.  To ensure that none of the trees are cut down and to protect the forest in perpetuity, we intend to protect the property with a QEII covenant.

We found out that our local district and regional councils have programs to encourage landowners to protect and enhance biodiversity and areas of ecological significance.  We contacted the Rodney District Council and the Auckland Regional Council and applied for funding assistance through the Natural Heritage Fund (NHF) and the Environmental Initiatives Fund (EIF) respectively.

We also heard about the Trees for Survival (TFS) program where school children grow and plant native trees while learning about native trees and their place in the environment.

The New Zealand Department of Conversation’s Biodiversity Advice Fund provided us with a grant to fund a consultant ecologist to do a detailed assessment of the ecological characteristics of the property and to prepare a detailed re-vegetation plan.

In early 2009, Scrub Consultants Ltd, consultant ecologist, Rodney Straka, produced a very comprehensive Restoration Plan for CUE Haven to be completed over a 15 year period.   The restoration plan provides operational and technical guidance for the ecological restoration of the property.

Since the Restoration Plan was prepared, we decided to speed up the re-vegetation program with an aim to complete all the planting by 2017.    Why???  We are getting older and considering it takes about 15 years to have the forest canopy established, we would like to see the project completed sooner  so we too can enjoy a revegetated CUE Haven before we are too old!!

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now. 

~Chinese Proverb

Here is a little background on our logo. 

In designing the logo, we wanted to convey the meaning behind CUE Haven and to incorporate some elements of native NZ vegetation.  Our goal at CUE Haven is not just to create a forest reserve, but to create a special place where people from different walks of life can come together to enjoy nature, relax and rejuvenate their minds and learn from each other in a personal and substantive way. Hence the name CUE– Cultivating Understanding and Enlightenment.

We contacted our dear friend and highly talented graphic artist, Feroza Fitch, to assist us. We explained our ideas and despite her very hectic work schedule, Feroza designed a logo that we feel captures the image we want to portray. 

The green background represents growth and the lush NZ forests. The white represents purity of mind and spirit. An iconic NZ tree is the Silver fern Cyathea dealbata and we have several of these trees at CUE Haven. The frond of the fern is locally known as “koru.”  Local tradition has it that the unfurling koru signifies creation and re-growth. It also represents peace, tranquility, spirituality and hope for the future. The unfurling koru conveys the dialectics of perpetual motion, the unfolding of new life and continual growth and also the need to return to the point of origin as symbolized by the inner coil of the spiral.

Additionally, the logo conveys the indigenous Maori concept of the connection between the spiritual world, the visible physical world and the hidden underworld. The upper full koru represents the spiritual world, while the lower partial koru represents the physical world and the hidden underworld.


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