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.
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.
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.
Tēnā koutou katoa, ko Heath Hutton taku ingoa. I have recently returned to Challenge 2000 after working at WellStop and finishing my Masters of Arts at Massey University for the past three and a half years. 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 am currently nearing the end of my internship as a Psychologist and look forward to using these skills working with the young people and their families.
I am so grateful to be back amongst the passionate and skilled staff of this great organisation.
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.
Kia ora. My name is Kerry, and I work as the Challenge 2000 Social Worker at Aotea College. My career into social work has been a natural progression.
After working at a local childcare centre, and starting a family of our own, I started looking after children in my home when my children were at kindergarten. I then became the supervisor of the after school care programme at my children’s primary school, while offering my services as a parent help at school during class time. From there, I got my Teacher Aide Certificate, which enabled me to secure a job as a Teacher Aide at a local college.
Funding for a youth worker became available at the college, and the college encouraged me to apply for the position, which I was successful in getting. I then gained my Diploma in Youth Work, and went on to achieve my degree in Youth Development. I found that I loved studying in a field I was passionate about – young people and their world – so I decided to go back into the classroom and extend my knowledge via a Social Work degree.
I am so very pleased to have been accepted into the Challenge 2000 whanau, as they hold the values and principles that I too hold close to my heart – social responsibility, personal dignity and social justice.
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.
Hola! My name is Fiona. I feel very blessed to be a youth worker at Challenge 2000. I was born in Christchurch, but predominantly grew up in the Hutt. I joined the Challenge whanau when I took part in the Marist Challenge 2000 Gap Year and Internship programme in 2018. My gap year was an experience like no other and I am so grateful for the different opportunities, training and growth I experienced during the programme.
Working at Challenge allows me to keep developing my passion of social justice, dignity for others and I am especially grateful to Challenge 2000 for giving me the opportunity to support migrant and Spanish speaking young people and families who I feel a strong connection to due to my own Latin American heritage.
No day at Challenge is the same and I feel very lucky to work alongside an incredible team of people who are all so committed to supporting people reach their full potential and to making a positive difference in the community.
Capability Development Manager
G’day, I’m Jonathan. In January 2018 I came 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.
An analyst by nature, and trade, I come to Challenge 2000 from NZ Police, having had roles in several public sector agencies over the past 15 years, including District Criminal and Youth Courts.
Having volunteered my services to Challenge 2000 for many years, I felt the time was right to bring the knowledge and expertise I have gained, to the agency full-time, where I know I can add value and build opportunity across many aspects of this incredible organisation.
It is a genuine privilege and pleasure to be a member of the Challenge family.
Transition Services Manager
Kia Ora everyone, I’m Meli a social worker at Challenge 2000. My pathway to Challenge started in 2016 when I was a a social work student on placement from Germany.
I had the opportunity for three months to get to know an Agency which provides great support, along with a giant heart of love for young people. With those enriched experiences I went back to Germany. In 2017 I finished my study and started work in a community-setting working with refugees, families and young people with serious challenges and many strengths. I’m delighted to be back at Challenge now and to continue my work here. I’m based at Bishop Viard College in Porirua and work with the students, their Whānau and the staff.
My start coincided with an extraordinary time, the shutdown because of Covid-19. But as John Lennon said “life is happening while you’re busy making other plans”. Therefore, I try to organize the best support for the families and their young ones at the moment; dropping off food bags, activity packages or devices the students need for their online classes, organizing emergency accommodation, providing social work support and trying to keep in touch with the rangatahi.
Nga mihi nui
Kia ora, my name is Aidan Ritchie. I joined Challenged 2000 as a part of the Gap year program in 2018. Born and raised in Porirua, before coming to Challenge I studied and completed a certificate in Electrical Engineering at Whitireia polytech. I worked in this field for only a short time before I realized that my ideologies and passions for social and political activism were something that had to be realized in my career if I was to lead a fulfilling life.
I have always had a strong passion for social justice and this is what brought me to Challenge 2000 - a platform to stand up for the vulnerable and disadvantaged. I am a strong believer in education, giving people the tools to make of their life what they will. At Challenge 2000 we value manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga - a combination that could loosely be translated to mentorship, which is what I am - a mentor. To share in a young person's journey is a great privilege and to be helping our tamariki is an honour. He waka eke noa. Sometimes I think I learn as much from our rangatahi as they do from me.
My roles at Challenge include being a Mates and Dates facilitator, working with young people in both the Youth Justice system and in our education programs. I also run a Wellington City Council funded youth leadership program in Linden, my home town. I am incredibly grateful to be able to do the work I am doing. It is a privilege to work alongside so many like-minded yet different, gifted and wise people.
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.
Social Work Manager
Hi there! I have been involved with Challenge 2000 since 2004 when I came on board in my final social work placement from Otago University.
I began as a social work student and have done a number of different roles over the years.
I now work part time so I can raise my three daughters. Young people, children and families are my passion and I love, love, love! walking alongside these people in their life journey.
Sr Marie Roche
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.
Kia ora, I started my journey with Challenge 2000 as a social work student on my first placement through the Master of Applied Social Work degree provided by Massey University.
I have since completed my first placement and have been working for Challenge 2000 full time as a transition worker. This role gives me the privilege to walk alongside young people to prepare them for their transition into adulthood. This transition can be a difficult time for many young people due to some inevitable major life changes. Challenge 2000’s transition program allows me to help prepare young people before this transition period to support them on their journey to becoming an adult.
Challenge 2000 works to make young people the best versions of themselves and welcomes all that comes through our doors. I know this because I too have been on the receiving end of this and have felt heavily supported as both a staff member and as a placement student. Challenge 2000 is a great workplace to be a part of as it not only does amazing work to support young people in the community, but also supports the professional and personal development of its staff members.
Shredder and Physical Activity Liaison
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.
Kia Ora! My name is Anya Hodge, I grew up in Oropi, Tauranga on a beef and sheep farm. I moved to Wellington and joined the 2013 Gap Year Program and have been part of the Challenge whānau ever since!
I recently completed my Honours Degree in Cultural Anthropology at Victoria, which is about understanding how people affect the world, our communities and how we shape the landscape we dwell in.
Early March I came back to Challenge as a front office admin staff member, organising our crisis food response, delivering food parcels and setting up systems and ways of working.
Previously I lived in the Challenge youth houses supporting at risk young people and I have always been keen to share my passion for art and free-form dancing!
Challenge has taught me so many important lessons about being of service, becoming more aware of other’s needs and how participating in our ever growing Challenge community can make a difference to the big picture.
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 Rountree 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.
Kia ora koutou. I am delighted to be back at Challenge 2000 and working on “educational projects”. It is a fairly wide brief, which is exciting, after 30 years in more conventional educational settings (secondary schools).
I greatly value the founding principles of this wonderful place - the dignity of each person and the belief that “love works”. The staff and supporters of Challenge live these radical principles daily and strongly offer hope to our society and our world. I endeavour to also make a contribution to that.
Kia ora, my name is Anh-Dao and I'm a Youth and Community worker, Youth House support person & Mates and Dates facilitator.
I first got involved with Challenge 2000 in 2008 when I participated in a youth leadership programme. I pretty quickly realised that Challenge was something special and have stuck round, in a few different capacities, ever since.
I was so excited to return back to the team in 2018 whilst completing my Bachelor in Social Work.
No day is the same here which means new learnings and many different challenges everyday!
I feel extremely fortunate to be part of a team that's committed to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi, working towards social justice and making a positive difference in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Gap Year Coordinator
Talofa Lava, my name is Pelasio but everyone at Challenge 2000 calls me Sio.
I was born and raised in Auckland where I did all of my schooling. I graduated with a bachelor in Theology from the University of Auckland in 2017 and then became a Youth worker with the Society of St Vincent de Paul Youth team in Auckland. I learned so much in this role about poverty, homelessness, structural injustice and what we can do to change society.
In 2018 I moved to Wellington to join the Marist Challenge 2000 Gap and Internship programme. I am really grateful for the different opportunities, youth work training and growth I experienced during the programme.
I am now the Gap Year co-ordinator and a youth worker at Challenge 2000. My role involves mentoring, generic youth work, supporting a Youth House, part time youth ministry in the Ohariu Parish, running school liturgies, running day programmes and retreats and organising events and church activities in the Northern suburbs.
I enjoy the work at Challenge because of the different people we work and walk alongside. I am part of an awesome team that always shows up and creates opportunities for young people to engage, change and belong. It's satisfying to make a difference and to help young people achieve their full potential.