Challenge 2000 staff and young people gathered together and travelled to Murupara, just out of Rotorua, to celebrate Father (Pa) Dave Gledhills 50th Jubilee as a Catholic Priest. Pa Dave has worked with Maori throughout the North Island and has helped bring many different worlds and cultures together. He is a Challenge 2000 Kaumatua and has always supported our young people at Challenge 2000.
As Murupara is quite a distant from Wellington, the first night was spent at Kuratau. The team spent quality time together in Kuratau, reconnecting with each other, understanding the importance of this trip and preparing for the next couple of days.
We travelled through to Taupo where we spent some time at Huka Falls and then continued onto Rotorua. We settled ourselves into our accommodation and went to check out the luge!!! Great fun had by all!! Many conquered their fears – was great to hear the laughter and see the smiles.
The next morning we left for Murupara and participated in a powhiri to welcome us onto the Marae. Celebrations then began with an Maori and English mass said by Pa Rawiri. After the mass, we had a wonderful celebration on the marae with food, drink and speeches. The speeches were memories and the work that Pa Dave has done for everyone throughout his time as a priest.
Overall, it was a great experience for the staff and young people from Challenge 2000. Seeing new things, getting away from the city and being together in a whanau environment as a whanau.
Congratulations to Pa Dave Gledhill as he celebrates 50 years as a Catholic Priest and best wishes as he continues serving his community and others.