Our Team

Jacob Bang

Jacob Bang

Youth Worker
Simon Ravenhill

Simon Ravenhill

Junior Seumanufagai

Junior Seumanufagai

Youth Worker
Lano Afutoto

Lano Afutoto

Youth Worker
Fa’afetai Avei

Fa’afetai Avei

MASSISS/YWISS Team Leader
Eleanor Hautler

Eleanor Hautler

Teacher and Volunteer
Steve O’Connor

Steve O’Connor

Transition Services Manager
Polly Kennedy

Polly Kennedy

Social Worker
Sr Marie Roche

Sr Marie Roche

Kaitiaki
Viv Campbell

Viv Campbell

Youth Services Manager
Kat Birdling

Kat Birdling

Social Worker
Pip Dorn

Pip Dorn

Social Worker
Trish Dean

Trish Dean

Administration Manager
Tito Kisona

Tito Kisona

Social Worker
Wame Salabogi

Wame Salabogi

Missions
Steph Penny

Steph Penny

Mates and Dates Co-Ordinator
Jonathan Pierce

Jonathan Pierce

Capability Development Manager
Felise So’oa

Felise So’oa

Missions Coordinator
Tamsyn Sutherland

Tamsyn Sutherland

Senior Youth Worker
Bobby Gibbins

Bobby Gibbins

Youth & Community Worker
Eddie Condra

Eddie Condra

Chaplain
Jessica-Maraea Mako-Andersen

Jessica-Maraea Mako-Andersen

Group Programme Facilitator
Zach Ready

Zach Ready

Youth Worker and Educator
Sherrie Wharewaka-Paulo

Sherrie Wharewaka-Paulo

Youth Worker
Melisha Isa’ako

Melisha Isa’ako

Social Worker
Emma Middleton

Emma Middleton

Executive Assistant
Damian Dempsey

Damian Dempsey

Director
John Robinson

John Robinson

Business Manager
Tyrese Tomasi

Tyrese Tomasi

Missions and Youth Worker
Sara Shepherd

Sara Shepherd

Youth Worker
Matthew Mason

Matthew Mason

Youth Worker
Petrina Foaese

Petrina Foaese

Youth Worker
Mel Dalbeth

Mel Dalbeth

Practice Leader
Kitty McKinley

Kitty McKinley

Founder and Project Manager
Heath Hutton

Heath Hutton

Psychologist
Hine Hough

Hine Hough

Missions Team
Sarah Boniface

Sarah Boniface

Youth Worker
Anika Burbery

Anika Burbery

Counsellor

Jacob Bang

Youth Worker

Hi, my name is Jacob Bang. I was born in South Korea and grew up in Dunedin. I first became involved with Challenge 2000 through the Challenge Marist gap year programme in 2013 and have stuck around as a volunteer. After completing my studies in English Literature and History at Victoria University, I have finally joined the Challenge 2000 team full-time as a youth worker and tutor. Writing and art are two of my greatest passions and I consider myself so lucky to be able to incorporate both into my day to day work. I realise that I have been given far more than I can give, and it is a privilege to walk alongside and share life with our young people in pursuit of living large lives lived to the full.

Simon Ravenhill

Kia ora

My name’s Simon and I’m a youth worker at Challenge 2000.

I moved to New Zealand from England in early 2018. My background is in dance, specifically b-boying (breaking). In England the main part of my dance career was made up from being involved in dance and arts projects designed for young people.

Since moving to New Zealand I have become part of the dance scene and regularly teach, perform and compete.

As well as dance I also draw, paint, carve and produce music. I enjoy sharing these passions and helping others find ways of expressing themselves.

Junior Seumanufagai

Youth Worker

Talofa lava, my name is Junior Seumanufagai. I’m originally from the beautiful island of Samoa and raised in Wellington since I was 9 years old. I’m a proud Catholic old boy of Saint Patrick’s College Town. I started working at Challenge 2000 in 2014 after I completed the 2013 Gap Year. I am privileged to be a youth worker at Challenge and working along side an amazing group of people who have a passion for youth, families and communities. My role as a youth worker involves; one on one mentoring, helping out with camps, supporting youth groups/retreats and also missions. I enjoy my time working at Challenge because each day brings something new and exciting. Challenge 2000’s purpose is to walk alongside young people as they make positive choices in their lives and strive to achieve their full potential.

Lano Afutoto

Youth Worker

Talofa Lava my names Lano and I'm a youth worker here at challenge 2000. My work at challenge involves mentoring young people, helping the education team, and mentoring out in some of the colleges challenge works with. I really enjoy working with challenge and being able to help and service the young people we work with and the communities we work in.

Fa’afetai Avei

MASSISS/YWISS Team Leader

Hi, I am the MASSiSS Social Worker in Hutt Valley Colleges. I am a Wellington girl and grew up in Porirua East. I started with Challenge 2000 in 2015 and was attracted to its strengths-based vibe, can-do attitude and was impressed by the many services it offers. My working experience has been working alongside people with disabilities, child and adolescent mental health, education and general health.

Eleanor Hautler

Teacher and Volunteer

Kia Ora I’m Eleanor and after a career in teaching I have joined the team at Challenge 2000. My role is about being available and supporting others on their journey.

This ranges from educational input for students at our school, pastoral care of students and families in the community, teaching young people to cook and sew and learn practical life skills and simply being on hand to assist others.

The most exciting thing about being part of challenge is witnessing the charism of Challenge 2000 and the Marist values in action. I enjoy my work and value being part of this team.

Steve O’Connor

Transition Services Manager

Kia ora, I am the Transition Services Manager. I have been in social work roles for over thirty years, and came to Challenge 2000 after 22 years with NZ Police. While in the police, I managed police youth development and youth justice crime prevention programmes. Prior to joining the police, I was a social worker in non-government social work agencies. My last role in the police was as a National Co-ordinator supporting the development of community policing and helping police better care for victims, especially victims of family violence. Prior to managing the Transition Services, I was Director of Challenge 2000 for four years.

Phone

021 192 7328

Polly Kennedy

Social Worker

Sr Marie Roche

Kaitiaki

Kia ora my name is Marie and I am a Sister of St Joseph. Following a career in teaching, I first joined Challenge 2000 in 1991 when there was just four of us! After being the Rimutaka Prison Chaplain for 21 years, I have returned to Challenge 2000… as everyone does.

My role here now as Kaitiaki is about being available to people in the house and community and doing whatever needs to be done. I am loving being back here at Challenge 2000.

Viv Campbell

Youth Services Manager

Kia ora. I am originally from Taranaki o Ngati Ruanui me Te Atiawa and currently living in Wellington. I am the Youth Services Manager overseeing the Youth Houses in Lyall Bay, Kilbirnie and Island Bay, included in this is our Supported Living Program which is a Program under the Ministry of Social Development supporting 17-20 years old into independent living.

I am also the coordinator of our Kaikoura Holiday Programs that started in 2017 in response to the Earthquake 2016. I have worked alongside our rangatahi and whanau for over 20 years and feel that I am still as passionate about supporting our rangatahi/whanau reaching their potential and/having self-belief, goals, dreams, confidence/self-assurance, trust and enthusiasm for life.

I am hugely appreciative to be part of the Challenge 2000 whanau and count it a massive privilege to be part of team that is passionate about enhancing peoples’ lives for the greater good.

Kat Birdling

Social Worker

Hi, I’m Kat. Having recently completed my Masters of Applied Social Work I am here at Challenge 2000 working with a range of young people and their families to achieve their unimpeded potential. I love variety, and believe that with Social Work I have found my niche’, with no day, like the people I work with being the same. Working with Challenge out in the community enables me to put my dynamic approach to work, while advocating for the social justice and solidarity which drives me.

Pip Dorn

Social Worker

Trish Dean

Administration Manager

I come to Challenge 2000 with a background in legal accounting and I have been a volunteer with Challenge 2000 since the beginning in 1988. I have been involved in leading parish youth group activities and have been a member of the Pastoral Development team in the Johnsonville Parish. I was delighted when the opportunity to work at Challenge 2000 became available in March 2010. I am thrilled to be part of a hard-working team who has the interests of young people and families at heart. Every day I stand in awe at what our young staff and young people achieve.

Tito Kisona

Social Worker

Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti aroha o tätou tamaiti mahi – let the uniqueness of the child guide our work(whakatauki)

Mihi mahana kia koutou e hoa ma! Malo ni! my name is Tito Kisona, I am of Tokelau decent, bornand raised in the greatest city ever Cannons Creek - Porirua! A community that has fostered theimportance of who I am, my culture and faith.

I am a father of 4 children, a set of twins, a girl, and our foster son (yes, it is a busy household) and ahusband to one! (ha ha) – so the daily art of multi-tasking and having flexibility whilst remainingpersonable, positive and approaching tasks hands-on is a 24.7 thing and definitely transferable inother aspects of my work. My first experience at Challenge was my final placement in my socialwork studies. What I was drawn to was the awhi shown to me by the staff here. I was based as aSocial Worker at Taita college which reinforced my ‘why’ I am a social worker, what it also did wasconfirm the alignment in the work challenge does and I align well with the values that guides me.

As a new practitioner my hope is to work in a capacity where the above whakatauki is upheld -acknowledging the Mana Rangatahi and their whānanu carry and the uniqueness of who they are.Regarding my social work practice, this is my starting point, my first right answer – the next step willbe the journey together.

I look forward to creating intentional connections with those I walk alongside, I am excited aboutgrowing as a social worker in an environment that privileges people – their Mana, their stories, theirpotential first.

Totō hau tokiga nei, auā na tupulaga e fai mai – plant a seed today, for our future generations(Tokelau proverb). Fakafetai.

Wame Salabogi

Missions

Steph Penny

Mates and Dates Co-Ordinator

I have been around Challenge 2000 for a long time and in lots of different roles.

I've been a youth leader, volunteer, mentor, youth worker and I'm currently the Mates and Dates Co-Ordinator and do other bits of youth and community work. I enjoy running programmes and used to be a Programme Facilitator at the Department of Corrections for 7 years delivering rehabilitation programmes in the prisons and community. I've also worked at Victoria University in Halls of Residence.

Challenge 2000 is a wonderful place and I feel very fortunate to be back again!

Jonathan Pierce

Capability Development Manager

Hello, I’m Jonathan. In January 2018 I came from NZ Police to Challenge 2000 as the Capability Development Manager.

I am responsible for developing and maintaining the infrastructure and organisational requirements of the agency, including data collection and reporting capabilities, and further developing our relationships with other agencies. It is my responsibility to ensure these amazing people have the technology, resources and information they need, at their fingertips, so they can focus on their day-to-day work helping the community.

Felise So’oa

Missions Coordinator

Talofa lava, I have been at Challenge since 2001 and am a full time youth worker. My days are filled with a variety of adventures with a variety of people! I mentor individual young people, I am responsible for the important work of coordinating “missions” for Challenge 2000 – working with young people in the community and helping those in need with fixing things, gardening and clearing sections, moving, building things. I also help out at retreats and camps. I also lead the “Challenge Works” project that allows some of our young people to learn a range of skills that will help them to move into meaningful employment as well as generating some money to put back into our young people in the community.

Tamsyn Sutherland

Senior Youth Worker

Kia ora, I'm Tamsyn, a Youth Worker here at Challenge 2000. I was raised in sunny Nelson before moving to Dunedin where I lived for the past twelve years. I graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and from Praxis with a Diploma of Youth Work. My husband and I moved to Wellington at the end of 2020 when I joined the Challenge 2000 whanau. I have worked as a Youth Worker since 2010 in Dunedin and feel privileged to have worked alongside so many rangatahi and their whanau and am excited to continue this work here in Wellington with Challenge.

My work at Challenge is with the Transition and Mentoring Service as well as supporting practice of the Youth Work team as Community Team Leader. I am passionate about seeing people discover their strengths, achieve their goals.

Bobby Gibbins

Youth & Community Worker

Kia ora!

My name is Bobby and I am a Youth and Community worker and also a Mates and Dates Facilitator at Challenge 2000. My role allows me to work alongside young people to help them achieve their goals and aspirations in life.

I encourage young people to be the best they can possibly be and am grateful my mahi allows me to engage with the whole whanau.

Eddie Condra

Chaplain

Kia ora I’m Eddie and it is my privilege to have been part of Challenge since it’s small beginnings in Johnsonville in 1988.

I am from Ireland originally and now also call Aotearoa New Zealand my home. I have many different jobs here – including mentor to the staff, chaplain, marriage celebrant, sailing teacher, superviser, retreat giver and other roles where I share in the life and death moments of those who work at or are served by Challenge 2000.

It is a wonderful community of life and hope, that inspires me in my ministry.

Jessica-Maraea Mako-Andersen

Group Programme Facilitator

Takiri ko te ata ki runga ki a Aorangi maunga, maturu ana nga wai tomairangi ki te awa o Moawhango, ko te whare e tu kau ana ko te whare tapu o Oruamatua, he hau mahana he hau kawatawata e pupuhi mai ana ki te marae o Te Riu o Puanga, kowai te iwi e tu mai nei, ko Ngati Whitikaupeka, o Mokai Patea Nui Tonu, e tau ana.

Tena ra tatou katou, my name is Jessica-Maraea, my role at C2k is to facilitate the M.E.M.E (Mana Enhancement Mastery Engagement) program in English and in Te Reo Maori, my background is in Kohanga/Puna reo with a couple of years in day care, working with taiohi (youth) has been an exciting change in pace for me, many opportunities for me to grow and develop as a facilitator. I (along side the other Maori staff at C2k) also help out at challenge with any Te Reo Maori or Tikanga Maori related things that may pop up, we also help to facilitate NCEA papers around protocol on the marae.

I came on board in August 2021 and am loving working here, being able to support rangatahi through my Maoritanga has been especially fulfilling for me. Nga manaakitanga o te wa.

Zach Ready

Youth Worker and Educator

Kia ora readers, Zach Ready here, believer, hip-hop artist, and servant of Challenge2000. I was first introduced to Challenge through an awesome whanau wedding in early 2019. Fate would have it I started working for Challenge in late 2020.

Prior to Challenge, I made the most of a decade-plus long career in the events industry, the last seven years in a managerial role. This included work alongside the NZSO, RNZB, Arise Church, WOW, WCC, the NZ Govt etc. I have also been active as a hip-hop musician since my early twenties, emceeing, co-producing, mentoring, DJing and so on. I have collaborated with Stic of Dead Prez, Kool G Rap, and more locally the likes of Chris CK of Raw Collective fame, and the legendary DJ Sir-Vere. Over the years I've had the opportunity to perform in Europe and Asia, as well as in my hometown of Wellington. In addition to music & biz, I would say fellowshipping, travelling, working out & nutrition are great passions of mine. With a quality over quantity approach to travel, I have been to close to 30 countries. Highlights include reaching the top of Kilimanjaro. Walking along the great wall of China, visiting the pyramids in Egypt, and attending music festivals in Spain, USA, Australia and Sweden. To date, I have completed three marathons, including the Queenstown International, and have also done volunteer work in parts of Africa, as well as helping out with annual appeals for the likes of St. Johns and the Wellington Samaritans back home in Aotearoa.

I sometimes joke that I couldn't wait for the world and was actually born inside a 'Housing New Zealand' flat. I am of mixed British and Scandanavian descent, predominantly Irish, and consider myself an Earthling, rather than segregated by race or cultural background. Coming from a solo parent background I see myself in a lot of the rangatahi, families and community we work with, and this is what drives the way I relate to others and my passion to help them. If you're yet to see the documentary 'Aroha Noa' about the history of Challenge2000, I highly recommend checking it out through Maori Television's on-demand service. Ma te Atua koutou e manaaki e tiaki i nga wa katoa!

Sherrie Wharewaka-Paulo

Youth Worker

Ko Puhangatohora te Maunga, Mangatawa te Awa, Ngatokimatawhaorua te waka, Pukerata te Marae, Ngaitu te hapu, Ngapuhi-nui-tonu te Iwi, No Otaua taku turangawaewae ahakoa e noho ana au ki Te Whanganui a Tara inainei.

Tena koe, Ko Sherrie Wharewaka-Paulo taku ingoa! At present I am employed by this wonderful organization as a Kaimahi Rangatahi, a flash word to meaning Youth Worker since the beginning of this year. Over the years I have been involved with Challenge 2000 in many different forms but this by far is my favorite. Youth work on a daily for me has many different strands but the core to enhance rangatahi to be the best them remains.

Melisha Isa’ako

Social Worker

Emma Middleton

Executive Assistant

Kia ora! I'm Emma, the Executive Assistant here at Challenge 2000.

I was raised in Auckland and moved to Wellington for University, where I have stayed put for 7 years. I studied Commerce and Arts and afterwards I worked for an accounting firm for almost two years.

My journey with Challenge 2000 started in 2020, and I feel very privileged to be part of the whanau. The passion, aroha and charism that Challenge has is inspiring and I feel lucky to be working towards a better Aotearoa.

Damian Dempsey

Director

I’ve lived and worked in lots of interesting places, abroad and at home, mainly in education and community development settings. Originally from the Hutt Valley, my family and I returned to Aotearoa-New Zealand from the Philippines in early 2018 and I took up work with Challenge 2000 in May 2018. After managing the youth justice programmes, as well as being Operations Manager, I became Director of Challenge 2000 in March 2020. I love working here: being part of the Challenge 2000 whānau enables me to put the Marist values I cherish into practical service of young people and their families.

John Robinson

Business Manager

Kia ora, my name is John and I am the Business Manager at Challenge 2000. In one way or another I have been associated with Challenge since the beginning in 1988 but it has taken me this long to join in a full time capacity. Having spent 22 years with the NZ Police it is a privilege to be able to be part of the mission of Challenge 2000. Working with people in the search for social justice, social responsibility and personal dignity is an inspiration for me. The charism of Challenge remains as strong as ever and that is a credit to our staff and supporters. It is great being part of a team that makes a difference in the lives of so many young people today.

Tyrese Tomasi

Missions and Youth Worker

Sara Shepherd

Youth Worker

Kia ora koutou!

My name is Sara Shepherd and I am a youth worker at Challenge2000. I am also currently studying for my Bachelor of Social Work. The best part about my work at challenge is the many opportunities it provides me to connect with a wide variety of youth and families from the community.

My drive for being a youth worker here is being able to support the journey of growth and change of the young people I work with.

One thing I love about Challenge2000 is the feeling of Whanaungatanga - a sense of kinship and connectedness. I feel this is very much present in the way Challenge2000 works.

Challenge2000 brings people together and we are all as individuals, at our best when we are united. I strive to uphold this value in the way I work with individuals, families and communities.

Matthew Mason

Youth Worker

Hello everyone, I'm Matt and I work with Challenge 2000 as a Youth Worker. I graduated with a degree in Criminology and Sociology from the University of Derby in England in 2006, became a mentor for Year 11 students and then made the transition to qualified teacher.

I moved away from England in 2011; spending a year in Beijing, China, six years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and most recently a short spell in Koje, South Korea, before coming to New Zealand in December 2018.

Working for Challenge encompasses all of my interests in youth work; education, support, justice, growth and responsibility, and I am excited to work with our young people to support them as they navigate their life journey.

Petrina Foaese

Youth Worker

Talofa lava. My name is Petrina Foaese, My family and I are from the beautiful island of Samoa. I have been at challenge for 2 years and am enjoying every bit of it . Challenge 2000 has many values that my Aiga and I hold close to our hearts.

I am privileged to work for such a giving and loving organisation. I have always wanted to give back to my community and I thank Challenge 2000 for helping me achieve this goal. I am currently working in the Hutt Valley colleges doing youth work with awesome rangatahi under the Youth Worker in secondary schools government support programme.

This is great as it gives me and insight i what is needed out in the community to develop and harness the strengths of young people. It gives me the opportunity to work alongside youth and listen to their beautiful stories. Another programme I am involved in is Mates and Dates in the whole Wellington Region.This programme focuses on young people developing healthy relationships and recognising when relationships are damaging and put the young people in danger.

I am also currently studying a BA in criminology and education at Victoria university. I believe this study is helping me understand more about the work we do and why we love it.

Everyday is different at Challenge2000 and I am truly blessed to be part of this amazing Aiga.

Mel Dalbeth

Practice Leader

“Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini”

“My strength is not as an individual, but as a collective”

Kia ora tatou, Ko Mel toku ingoa,

I first came to Challenge 2000 in 2014 as a Social worker, I was contracted by Challenge to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Youth Development Unit (YDU) unit, specifically with the Limited Service Volunteer programme in Hobsonville Auckland.

I left Challenge in 2016 and continued to work for the NZDF as a Social worker supporting Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen to be operationally ready for deployment. I then transitioned into a Senior Social work position supporting the Youth development Unit Headquarters. I was responsible for a team of Social workers situated across 3 different Military sites. I continued my role with the Military by training uniformed personnel to work with Young persons.

My passion is working with teams and developing training to support ongoing professional development and practice. I am privileged to join the dynamic team that Challenge 2000 is, and to continue to provide service within our community.

Kitty McKinley

Founder and Project Manager

I am the Founder of Challenge 2000, which I established in 1988 as a local youth initiative to support young people to develop and achieve their potential and older people to serve and thrive not just survive. I did not expect Challenge to reach thirty years of age! But here we are and here I am!

For the past forty years I have worked with young people, families, agencies, businesses and interest groups to assist them to overcome challenges positively and to function in a life giving, participative and just way.

At the moment I manage a lot of Challenge projects and also do a fair bit of troubleshooting and advice at a local and national level. I also provide training programmes, facilitation services and supervision on a myriad of topics. The money goes back to Challenge to support those who struggle.

My philosophy is that “love works” sooner or later. So with a bit of that and a bit of knowledge and professionalism all things are possible.

Heath Hutton

Psychologist

Tēnā koutou katoa, ko Heath Hutton taku ingoa. I have returned to Challenge 2000 after working at WellStop, finishing my Masters of Arts at Massey University, and completing my training to become a Registered Psychologist. Challenge 2000 has been an important part of my journey since I attended a leadership development programme in 2003. Since then, I have worked in a variety of roles at Challenge 2000 and had a few stints in a couple of other organisations both in New Zealand and in Sydney, Australia.

I am passionate about social justice, with a particular interest in criminal justice advocacy, having been involved in the formation of JustSpeak. I also have an interest in the prevention of sexual violence, which was the focus of my Masters thesis. I look forward to using the things I have learnt during my Psychological study to support and assist young people and their families.

I am so grateful to be back amongst the passionate and skilled staff of this great organisation.

Hine Hough

Missions Team

Sarah Boniface

Youth Worker

Anika Burbery

Counsellor