Skip to content

Project Background

In late 2003, a 24+ hectare (60+ acres) former dairy farm in Araparera, an hour north of Auckland was purchased by Aucklanders, Thomas and Mahrukh Stazyk. What they liked about the site was that it overlooked the Kaipara Harbour and the contours and several streams gave the property an interesting character.

Their 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, where they could disagree without being disagreeable, and learn from each other in a personal and substantive way.

They decided to call the place CUE Haven.

CUE seemed the apt name for what they 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.

CUE Haven would be a haven providing visitors a stimulus to embark on a journey of understanding and enlightenment.

C – U – E  —  Cultivating Understanding and Enlightenment.

Dairy farming on the property had discontinued in 1998 and when the property was purchased in late 2003 it was being used to graze beef cattle. As the Stazyks were both busy with other projects at that time, they temporarily leased the farm to a local farmer to graze his cattle. In 2007 the farmer informed them about issues with the water quality in the stream at CUE Haven as it was getting affected by the run off from cattle grazing on the farm and on the neighbouring farms.

Concerned about the effect of grazing on the water quality and the lack of public native bush reserves in fast growing Auckland, the Stazyks decided that instead of building a retreat, they would discontinue grazing and restore the farm into a native nature reserve for the community to use and enjoy into perpetuity.

There were some existing forest remnants on the property and the plan was to create a sustainable forest eco system by restoring connectivity between these 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.

A grant from the New Zealand Department of Conversation’s Biodiversity Advice Fund provided funds for a consultant ecologist to do a detailed assessment of the ecological characteristics of the property and to prepare a revegetation plan.

In 2008, 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 very detailed restoration plan provided operational and technical guidance for the ecological restoration of the property.

Restoration began in 2008 but soon after the Restoration Plan was prepared, the Stazyks decided to speed up the program and complete the restoration planting of the pioneer trees within eight years.

As the objective was to create a forest reserve the community could explore, access roads and tracks were also built. A cottage was in built in 2009 to accommodate volunteers and the old milking shed was converted into a plant nursery and workshop.

Since 2008 over 4,500+ amazing volunteers have helped to plant in excess of 170,000 native trees and constructed over 3 km of walking tracks and boardwalks. Additionally, over 3.5 kms of access roads have also been established around CUE Haven.

With the pioneer planting completed by 2017, Thomas and Mahrukh Stazyk established the CUE Haven Community and Management Trusts – NZ registered charities. On 1 July 2017, the restored CUE Haven property was gifted to the CUE Haven Community Trust to be used into perpetuity by the community for education and quiet enjoyment.

Enrichment planting of long living canopy trees and infrastructure improvements are ongoing.  In 2021, Scrub Consultants developed a management plan to help guide planting, maintenance and pest and weed control efforts for the next 10 years.

In 2019-2020 the community assisted with the building of a viewing platform at the top of the property which rewards people walking up the hill with panoramic views of the Kaipara Harbour. The viewing platform, Te Rite o Taranaki, was formally named and opened on 11 December 2020 by our local kaumatua, Haahi Walker (Ngāti Rango of Ngāti Whatua).

In addition to the protection provided to the native trees in the CUE Haven trusts, once the plantings reach the required maturity, the trees will also be protected with a QEII Open Spaces Trust covenant.

The CUE Haven trust deeds states that as a community owned and developed nature reserve, there should be no entry fee for the public to visit the reserve. The Trust relies on grants and donations to meet its operating needs.

Unless specifically donated for capital projects, all donations from the public are deposited in the CUE Haven endowment fund. Monies in the Endowment Fund will never be withdrawn—only the income from the funds will be used for upkeep and maintenance of the property.  So, all donors to CUE Haven are leaving an enduring legacy for future generations.

Nature talks to us in a thousand ways. Our task is to open our eyes and listen.  

~Walt Whitman, poet (1819-1892)

The CUE Haven logo

In designing the logo, we wanted to convey the meaning behind CUE Haven and to incorporate some elements of native NZ vegetation.

A dear friend and highly talented graphic artist, Feroza Fitch, volunteered 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.


%d bloggers like this: