The Culver New Zealand team spent our third and fourth days in country on the Matuku Link Nature Preserve, located in the Waitakere Forests of New Zealand’s west coast. Run largely by volunteers, the preserve represents a safe haven for many of New Zealand’s indigenous plant and animal species. We were extremely lucky to get to spend two days working in the beautiful area.
We arrived at Matuku Link on Day 3 eager to begin our project. We quickly found out what we were doing: building a boardwalk to ease transit through the muddy rainforest. We spent the day moving all of the wood and materials necessary for us to begin construction on the boardwalk, taking a break for a delicious picnic lunch.
We returned to Matuku Link on Day 4. With all of the materials moved, we were able to begin work on the boardwalk proper. One group of students helped the carpenters construct the boardwalk itself; driving support posts into the mud and completing the wooden walking surface. The other group did a variety of jobs to help the preserve: clearing brush, feeding wildlife, and clearing out a trail for the next work group.
By the end of the two days, we emerged from Matuku Link muddy and tired but extremely proud. We built a beautiful wooden boardwalk and were able to provide meaningful help to the volunteers of Matuku Link. Furthermore, through the project we became closer as a group, and now share an experience that we will look back on throughout our Culver careers.