30th birthday

2018 marks a very special milestone –  30 years of service to young people and families.

read all about our labour weekend celebrations & a special message from hon peter dunne!

“In 1988, as MP for Ohariu, I was invited by Kitty McKinley to a small meeting over a kitchen table to talk about ‘youth problems’ in Johnsonville and what could be done about them. From that meeting, an action plan for the local community was developed and the project was named Challenge 89. No-one could have imagined then how far this new rolling stone being lobbed into the area would go, and what pace and substance it would gather. 1989 quickly came and went and Challenge’s new momentum was such that it soon had to be renamed. So, the more ambitious title of Challenge 2000 was coined, and now we celebrate its 30th birthday and look forward to many more to come! Over the years it has been my privilege and joy to have been involved with Challenge in so many places and ways, from the kitchen table, to Burgess Road (which I remember opening by brandishing a chainsaw), to Dr Taylor Terrace, and now the magnificent Wanaka Street site. While Challenge has grown significantly over the years to now be a substantial social service provider, it has never lost the essential spirit of its creation – a passionate commitment to the dignity of each individual and the respect they are due,  whatever their circumstances, no matter the difficulties they face. While others have  merely talked, Challenge has always acted, and today there are many young (and now not so young) people who are testament to the positive influence Challenge has had on their lives and families. As it embarks upon the next 30 years, Challenge’s mission is as vital as ever. So, while this birthday is a great time to celebrate the mighty achievements to date and all the awesome people who have contributed to those, it is also an occasion to refocus and look to the future and the important role Challenge still has to play. My involvement with Challenge over the years has certainly enriched my life, and I now look forward to continuing to work alongside the organisation as it embarks upon the next stage of its journey. I extend my thanks, congratulations and best wishes to Kitty and the entire Challenge whanau for the achievements of the last 30 years.”
– Hon Peter Dunne

World premiere of Challenge 2000 – The Story

“Walking down the red carpet at the Embassy Theatre past the Challenge banners into the reception area for our supporters was a surreal experience. Who would have thought such an event would be happening from that first meeting in the kitchen of the Johnsonville presbytery?”

“The whole weekend from start to finish was overwhelming. It began for me at the premiere: a deep sense of gratitude to Sinead Donnelly for giving us ‘windows’ through which could look at Challenge over the last thirty years. The Hall on Saturday night left nothing to be desired. It was spectacular. A spectacular reflection on a spectacular team.”

Benni-Rose & Bubbles!


“The weekend started with a walk down the red carpet to the documentary of the history of Challenge on Friday night. Saturday was filled with laughter, happy children chasing bubbles and laughing to a magician with a cute bunny! Saturday night had the St Pat’s hall buzzing with memories shared, tear jerking performances, and a bellowing happy birthday to mark the special occasion. Sunday’s liturgy was the icing on the cake, a great way to finish up the weekend.”

Kapa haka performance

“The celebration dinner was amazing. We took some friends who did not really know Challenge and they loved the evening especially the Kapa Haka and the singing was a high point… Quote of the night for me was chatting to a guy who said, “I have never made a donation to a charity in my life and I want to know how to do it for Challenge.”” 


Opetaia siblings

“The 30th Birthday Celebrations over the long weekend were filled with all of the wondrous elements that make up Challenge. It was so evident to see the love, commitment, pride, hard work, kindness, generosity, smiles and most importantly the people who have all aided in the Challenge 2000 journey. I am not sure of many things in this world, but I know that once you walk through the doors of Challenge you’re never quite the same. I know this, because I have changed so much being here in the best possible way.”

Sunday get-together

“The big message for me was the reinforcement of the power and wisdom of Challenge’s simple and consistent message: “Love works.” The weekend was not only testament to that, but also set the course for Challenge’s future. Congratulations to everyone involved in putting the celebrations together, and best wishes for the future, as we all seek to live by Challenge’s inspiration.”