Our Team

Our Team

Fa’atonu Fili

Youth Worker

Harley Thompson

Social Worker

E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga karangaranga maha, tena tatou katoa.I am pleased to join the crew and contribute and honour the legacy created by Kitty 30 years ago – Challenge 2000. Testament to this kaupapa is the support of the Catholic Church and the calibre of amazing staff. I look forward to being part of the team and continuing to build on the potential of rangatahi and whanau in the community.My personal philosophy is underpinned by manaakitanga. Mana is generally accepted as meaning prestige. Aki is similar to the word awhi meaning to support. In essence – supporting the mana of others or empowering people. As a restorative practitioner manaakitanga is a key focus.I was born into serving and working within social services and have had a range of jobs including being a cleaner at family homes while studying; working for CYFS in various roles for 20 plus years; consultancy role delivering an outcome focussed system called Results, Based, Accountability (R.B.A) to Whanau Ora collectives; tutoring the National Diploma in Youth Work (L6) and most  recently head of pastoral care and managing Te Aute College hostel for 5 years.I am indeed blessed to have had a full education of life experiences from bottom up merged with formal qualifications with a Bachelor of Social Work; Adult Diploma in Education and a Diploma in Hypnotherapy to support my practice. I studied Hypnotherapy in Melbourne for self-help and to add another tool to build whanau and rangatahi resilience – not to get people to eat onions or dance like Elvis – just in case you’re wondering. I am married with 2 daughters and 3 mokopuna.Ko Whetumaterau te Maunga, Ko Awatere te awa, Ko Horouta te waka, Ko Awatere te marae, Ko Te Aotaihi te whare Tipuna, Ko Te Whanau o Tuwhakairiora te hapu, Ko Ngati Porou te iwi, Mauriora!

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.

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.

Sophie Jennings

Youth Worker

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.

Jeffrey Reuelu-Smith

Youth Worker

Kia ora I’m Jeff. I’m one of the youth workers at Challenge 2000. My role here involves working alongside young people through mentoring, boys’ groups and other various programmes that Challenge 2000 offers. It’s a great privilege to be working at a place like Challenge 2000, where everyone is committed to making a positive difference in our community.

Anne Harlow

Community Liaison Worker

Eddie Condra


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.

Piki Boyles

Youth Worker

Kia ora, my name is Piki Boyles and I am a youth worker at Challenge 2000. I joined the whanau when I took part in the Challenge Marist Gap Year programme in 2016 after finishing at Garin College in Nelson. I really appreciate both the professional development and personal growth that comes with my role, these both allow me to better support our young people to reach their goals and potential. I also live in a youth house and I love that this gives me a sense of family away from home.

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.

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.

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.

Fiona Roberts

Youth Worker

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.

Ebony Ngatoko

Social Worker

Heath Hutton


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.

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.

Josh Mills

Social Worker

Kia ora, my name is Josh Mills and I am a Social Worker here at Challenge 2000. I completed my Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Otago in 2018.I am excited to begin my journey as a Social worker here at Challenge 2000. I have a passion for working with young people and supporting them to reach their full potential.My work here at Challenge involves one on one mentoring, Community Social Work and the Education Programme.

Emma Middleton

Executive Assistant

Gerard Tully

Education Projects

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.

Sio Iaseto-Filo

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.

Petrina Foaese

Social 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.

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.

Jan Love

Social Worker

Hi, I am Jan Love the MASSiS social worker at Mana College. I have worked as a social worker in many varying roles in NZ, London and Dublin. I am a mainlander through and through but have been in Wellington for the last 11 years. I have a passion for children and young people. Combined with a huge passion for fairness, social justice and opportunity for all. It’s a privilege to work for Challenge 2000 and the students of Mana College.

Ted Pierce

Shredder and Physical Activity Liaison

Hi I'm Ted the Airedale Terror. My main jobs at Challenge are to eat or shred whatever you leave laying around and help young people burn off some energy! Come find me and take me for a walk!

Kerry Burton

Social Worker

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.

Jonathan Pierce

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.

Nina Ness

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.

Hine Hough

Missions Team

Eleanor Hautler

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.

Anh-Dao Pham

Youth Worker

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.

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.

Bridget Poutasi

Mates & Dates Scheduling

Talofa lava, my name is Bridget and I work part time here at Challenge 2000. I graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and then spent a few years working as a programme facilitator at the Department of Corrections. More recently I was a team manager at ACC and now I find myself back here at Challenge – working with an amazing team of passionate, willing and motivated people. I do a bit of everything here but my main focus is communications and promoting all the amazing work that we do out in 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.

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.

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.

Fa’afetai Avei

Social Worker

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.

Damian Dempsey


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.

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.