Leadership Pilgrimage Year 12 and 13 Students

Come and join Challenge 2000 on a six day Pilgrimage to reflect on what it means to be a prophetic Catholic in Aotearoa today, to visit sacred sites, grasp social justice teachings, do some practical services and enhance leadership and community ministry skills.

The 2017 Pilgrimage will also include taking part in the Aotearoa Catholic Youth Festival in Auckland.

The Pilgrimage will be from Thursday 30th November until Wednesday 6th December 2017. Cost is $200 per person; sponsorship is available.

Pilgrimage one page poster Year 12 and Year 13 (1)

Michael Campbell “pops” in with some inspirational words

Challenge 2000 staff were pleasantly surprised when Michael Campbell “popped” into Challenge 2000’s staff training.  Michael spoke to the staff about his upbringing and his desire/passion to succeed as a Professional Golfer.  He spoke of the ups and downs of the world of professional sport.  He talked about “the battle within” – he had to battle his thoughts and feelings in his career but especially in the last round of the 2005 US Golf Tournament, which he won!  People had many different opinions of him throughout his career but he remained true to himself and held the belief always that he could do it.  At times, he said, he had to be selfish to succeed.  Staff were left in awe and inspired from his talk.

Stand out comments from Michael’s talk were:

“No matter how many times he lost his games, he just kept going and going.  Out of 500 games in his career, he won 17 of them.” Ihi

“I inspired myself.” Ihi

“Everytime I failed, I learnt something.  I look at failure as a learning curve.” Nic

“We’ve been given two hands – one is to receive, the other is to give.” Kerry

Challenge 2000 staff with Michael

The Campbell Cousins!

What are you doing next year? Gap Year 2018 applications are open!

Leaving College?  Want more meaningful work?

Are you interested in serving others??  In developing yourself??  In gaining different or unusual qualifications and/or experiences?? Do you want to travel within NZ and around the World learning and making a difference to those you meet?


Apply now to join the Challenge Marist Gap Year 2018 with 8 other young adults?


A one year programme of training, development and service, work placements, diverse experiences, and local and maybe international travel. The Gap Year offers you amazing opportunities to develop all the elements necessary for a positive, successful and balanced life.

You are also able get optional extras: a driver’s licence or defensive driving course, first aid certificate, technology training, public speaking, the development of individual skills AND you also get paid!!

So…. if you are leaving College in 2017, or are under 20 years of age and want to try something different, have additional life experiences, serve and make a difference and be part of a positive active community, then contact us and apply for 2018!  There are only 8 places available.

So follow this up now!!

Opportunities like this are few and far between!

Applications close 21st November 2017

The Gap Year starts February 2018

Contact: Jacob Bang or Nicole Simson

Phone: (04) 477 6827

Email: challenge2000@xtra.co.nz

To download your application form click here: Gap Year 2018 Application 






Tongariro Crossing


A Tribute and Thanks to Peter Dunne our Local Member of Parliament and Friend

Next year Challenge 2000 celebrates its 30th birthday and this year marks Peter’s 33rd year in Parliament.

Peter attended the first meeting in a Johnsonville lounge when the concept of a grass roots Youth Development Agency in the Northern suburbs was first mooted. Since that day in 1988, Peter has worked tirelessly to support all sectors of our community.  From collecting on Challenge 2000 Street Day Appeals to awarding Certificates of Achievement to young offenders, to applauding elderly volunteers, to debating at our Charity Dinners, to supporting and advocating for those in need of housing, to advising on financial matters, to listening to the suffering of those with serious medical problems…… and everything in between that effected the lives of locals …… Peter has always turned up with a positive, generous attitude and served his people.

All the staff, volunteers and youth leaders at Challenge 2000 and Peter have had a great working relationship.  Peter has visited and inspired staff to keep on going and to make a difference where it is needed.  A fortnight ago on 12th August 2017 Peter contributed to the opening of the new Challenge 2000 premises at 1 Wanaka Street, Johnsonville.


At the opening, Peter said “There are fantastic young people here today…I’ve had the privilege of hearing many of you tell your story, and your achievements, and your success and the role that Challenge has played in that. Everyone deserves to hear those stories because anyone who has done so could never but be optimistic for the future of our young people and for the opportunities that they can seize to be the best that they can very well be. That is what Challenge is all about.

The commitment of this organisation, we’ve seen it this morning in the Haka, in the presentations that have been made…confident, bold, positive young people looking forward to a future. This organisation has been part of that for the last 30 years.

And the fact that you now literally have the house on the hill, a beacon of hope, I think speaks volumes of your tenacity, your commitment and your dedication.

I am absolutely delighted to join this extraordinary Challenge family today to celebrate this wonderful move and as you take one further step in your great journey.”

Kitty, Peter and Jennifer


“Thank you for your commitment to the Ōhariu community and to New Zealand. For over thirty years, you’ve worked to make our communities and our country a fairer place.

In Challenge 2000 we emphasise the value of saying ‘YES’ to the joys and challenges of life. Your years of advocating for social justice in Government has been an inspiration for us to continue hoping and working towards individual and societal transformation.

We’d also like to acknowledge that you’ve been a supporter of Challenge 2000 from the very beginning. Your presence and commitment to people and justice has been noticed by both the Challenge 2000 whanau and our young people.

Thank you for your service and we wish you the best for the next chapter of your adventure.”

Jacob Bang

Jacob and Peter at the Opening August 2017


The Marist Challenge Centre

A 400 strong crowd gathered on Saturday to celebrate the official opening of the Marist Challenge Centre at 1 Wanaka Street, Johnsonville.  As the clouds parted, dignitaries who included the Prime Minister Rt. Hon Bill English, local MP’s Peter Dunne and Brett Hudson, the Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, Cardinal John Dew and Fr David Kennerley, Provincial of the Society of Mary arrived to bless and officially open our new premises.

This Centre will be a place for the people. After the plaque unveiling, Challenge staff and volunteers performed a powerful and emotionally charged haka composed by a Challenge staff member.

Commenting on the new premises Rt. Hon Bill English said, “Often when we look at the services which work with our most vulnerable they don’t show respect, they don’t look like places where we think we are putting people who are valued. And that’s what’s changing here.”

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester also acknowledged the commitment of Challenge 2000 to the capital city.  “Challenge 2000 through their values of social justice, of the notion of love works, that if we put a tender arm around our young people, support them, celebrate them, we get them on the right path”, he said.

Cardinal John Dew gave thanks for the work of Challenge 2000 as it stands up for others, teaches, encourages and supports vulnerable youth and families. He prayed that Challenge 2000 would always be a light in the darkness.

Following the formalities, young and old, past and present staff and volunteers shared a lunch at the Johnsonville Community Centre, reliving memories of Challenge 2000 and celebrating what the future now holds for Challenge 2000 and the young people of Wellington and Aotearoa New Zealand. A big thank you to those that came to celebrate the Opening and for the many different ways you contribute to the work of Challenge 2000 over the past 30 years. Love works!

Dignity, Responsibility, Justice, Love


Mana College Suicide Awareness Day


This week I had the privilege to attend and help at a programme at Mana College.
Mana College delivered a fantastic programme, lead by Mike King, which not only taught people about statistics and signs of depression, but also what young people can do when they feel worried or confused.
The message I received from the day is: it’s not that people who feel this way don’t want support, its that they don’t know where to find the support. And most of all they are worried about what the people around them think. I believe this day made the young people more aware that depression can be hidden, can present in different ways and behind a facade there are emotions that cannot be shown, only be spoken.
There were a variety of workshops which gave the young people a way to find an outlet outside their comfort zone, a way to express emotion through action, art, words, and creation. However the most valuable thing I believe young people and adults a like received from this day is:
It’s ok to talk, it’s normal to have these thoughts, and it’s ok to ask for support. 

It was a really good opportunity to mix with students that I otherwise would not of met or been involved with. It was great to see so much passion in teachers and the senior leadership team about wellbeing. I went home and comfortably said that if I were a parent, that I would send my teenager to a school that has truly put the student at the centre. A school that works out how best to encourage students and enable them to dream and overcome obstacles…….it was great to be there with my Challenge colleagues supporting Mana.
Matt Bentley, Social Worker
The main message was that I got from the day was: “I am hope”. This comes with the responsibility we have of being friends, being genuine and asking each other “are you are ok” and to give each other hope.
Lynley Goodisson, Counsellor
Mike King spoke about his own personal journey through depression/ thoughts of suicide / drugs & alcohol. His talk was very real and some of the things he said hit home for me and also for the young people. He connected with the young people really well throughout his whole presentation and made sure that they had fun but also understood the message about this cause. This was the biggest highlight for me.
Junior Seumanufagai, Youth Worker

An Expression of Gratitude

The 2017 Challenge 2000 Charity Dinner was held in Wellington on Friday 9th June, raising money for vitally needed families and young people who we work with.

The highlight of the night was the moving and inspiring stories from young people who have found hope, community and an opportunity to serve others through their involvement with Challenge 2000.  “No story is the same” said Challenge 2000 Director Steve O’Connor, “each person who shared their experience during the dinner came from very different circumstances but they all spoke with profound depth about the role Challenge has played in their lives.”

Challenge 2000 is preparing to move into a new home at 1 Wanaka Street, Johnsonville which has been purchased by the Society of Mary as a further sign of their unwavering commitment to youth, families and those who struggle.  Kitty McKinley, Challenge 2000 Founder, explained that “the moved into this new building will allow our staff and volunteers to have the space needed to better serve the community.”  Challenge begins relocating into the new Centre in July and made an appeal at the Charity Dinner for donations and sponsorship for furniture and developmental resources “we are tremendously grateful for the generous spirit of our supporters and the individuals, trusts and government agencies who help make our work possible.”

Gratitude was a theme for the night and it was highlighted the important role community support plays with seeing so many long standing supporters at the dinner including people who have supported Challenge for nearly 30 years, but it was also very heartening to see new supporters who are helping Challenge to grow and meet the very significant demands for our services.

Family worker Lynley Goodisson, Youth workers Te Poiakino Hohua and Mapihi Kelland laid the tunes for the night and the amazing staff at “The Pines” kept everyone well fed.  The Hurricanes were playing at the same time but to the credit of all those attending the night, including the MC Alex Ness (Hurricanes fanatic), the most important place to be was the Challenge 2000 Charity Dinner.

Thank you to  The Pines, to all those who worked to put together a successful evening and mainly to those that attended.  Your presence was our present!  Much gratitude!


RYPEN 2017

Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYPEN) is a weekend residential experience for youth aged 14-16 years designed to develop skills that will assist them in the transition to adulthood.  Participants are involved in a variety of workshops and activities, which provide an opportunity for them to personally develop, gain self confidence, communication skills, challenge themselves, build friendships, and develop life skills.

Challenge 2000 would like to thank Johnsonville Rotary for sponsoring two of our young people who went along this year.

“It was a wonderful experience and I made a lot of new friends and learnt a lot of life long advice.  Personally, this camp has been one of my best experiences and I cannot thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to go on it.” D

“I enjoyed it so much and made so many new friends who I already miss.  It was such a fantastic experience and it has helped me with how I see myself and how I see others.” A