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!

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

Challenge 2000’s presence at Parihaka

Reflections from attending the Crown apology at Parihaka.

A small settlement of unassuming buildings and homes, Parihaka is one of New Zealand’s most important historic sites.  Located 7 kms inland from the coast near Pungarehu, Parihaka is a small Taranaki settlement with a big history. The events that took place in and around the area, particularly between 1860 and 1900, have affected the political, cultural and spiritual dynamics of the entire country.

In the 1870s and 1880s, Parihaka was the site of New Zealand’s most visible episodes of peaceful protest when two Maori leaders, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi used passive resistance methods to occupy Maori land that the colonial government had confiscated. Such confiscations were in direct breach of the Treaty of Waitangi, which had been signed in 1840.

On November 5 1881, Native Minister John Bryce rode on Parihaka at the head of 1,500 armed constabulary and volunteer militia. There was no resistance. Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi were arrested and transported to the South Island, where they were kept without trial for two years.

The ongoing spiritual legacy of Parihaka is one of living in harmony with the land and humanity. Some people, noting Te Whiti’s non-violent methods, have referred to him as “Gandhi before Gandhi”.


I went to Parihaka to commemorate/ participate in a significant milestone on the journey to peace and reconciliation between the Crown and Parihaka and maybe tinged with a little self-interest to ascertain and understand how one can reconcile something so terrible with peace and acceptance.

As a senior public servant I was to have participated in the march on to Parihaka as a representative with the Crown official party made up of Governor Generals, Mayors, Ministers and crown officials. I felt extremely uncomfortable around doing this even knowing that I was part of an official party, it didn’t feel right wairua wise.

I was saved the experience where the night before my colleague who runs the Taranaki Office and is the Pou Maanaki at Parihaka asked if I could help in the back and open 40 bags of Kinas and shuck some Paua. I jumped at the chance and was still able to share in the kōrero and the participate from the back without having to deal with the cultural compromising encounter.

The minister for Treaty of Waitangi negotiations, Christopher Finlayson, delivered an apology on behalf of the Crown to the people of the Parihaka for the Crown’s acts of aggression. The Crown delegation was greeted by a united Parihaka at the gate, as their colonial forebears were 135 years ago, but with peace, not aggression, in their hearts. It was an extraordinary sight to witness.


The Apology

Attorney General Christopher Finlayson and Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell delivered the crown’s apology for the sacking of Parihaka in 1881.

In the apology, Mr Finlayson said Parihaka was established in 1866 as a final refuge for hapu whose homes and cultivations had been repeatedly destroyed by crown troops and whose land had been confiscated. It was established under principles of compassion, equality, unity and self-sufficiency.

Under the leadership of Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai the community asserted its customary rights to land and political autonomy through symbolic acts of protest while promoting peaceful engagement between Maori and Pākehā.

“The crown responded to peace with tyranny, to unity with division and to autonomy with oppression. The Crown therefore offers its deepest apology to the people of Parihaka for all its failures,” Mr Finlayson said. The apology detailed those failures, including imprisoning Parihaka residents indefinitely without trial for the ploughing and fencing campaigns of 1879 and 1880, the invasion of Parihaka in November 1881, the rapes by crown troops in the aftermath of the invasion causing the immeasurable and enduring harm to the women of Parihaka, and other through crown actions and omissions.


“Appropriate”, “overdue”, “not enough” were some of the whānau’s comments regarding the apology.  My own thoughts were that “it offers hope for our future Ngai Māori/Ngai Pākehā”. The resolution package and financial redress will go a little way in the work to develop the papakaingā and in carving a new way forward for the community.

However, it’s not enough, a national peace day/ Remembrance Day is required to hold us to account that we never forget and pay homage to the intention and the wairua of peace and reconciliation.

The ceremony, He Puanga Haeata will close one chapter in the Parihaka story, and will be remembered as one of the most significant milestones on the long road of the ongoing work to achieve peace and justice in Aotearoa New Zealand.


It was appropriate also to see the Army and Police in the back doing the catering for the hui and feeding the people of Parihaka, the irony of it was not lost on many.


Shane Graham

Challenge 2000 Board Member


Hon Peter Dunne and Hon Nikki Kaye join us for Youth Week 2017

The theme of Youth week was “Our Voices Count, Count Our Voices” ……

In the weeks leading up to it, our Youth Workers, young leaders and youth volunteers organised an Amazing Race, prepared clues, did art work and made up a song called “Whakarongomai”.

50 young people were directly involved in the Race, the discussions in the Loaves and Fishes Hall and then the visit to Parliament where they were hosted by the Challenge’s local MP the Honourable Peter Dunne and the Minister of Education and Youth Development the Honourable Nikki Kaye who answered questions and discussed things with the group.

The young people who spoke, mentioned climate change, poverty, the Free West Papua campaign, compulsory Te Reo in schools, terrorism, making political issues more understandable for younger people, the voting age and honouring the Treaty as matters they were concerned about.

The young people were very impressed by the attention that Nikki Kaye gave each of their questions/comments and also the way she shared her recent health challenge. Nikki challenged the Youth week participants to value and live their lives and do what they could to use their gifts to make an impact.

After Parliament, participants had kai back at the hall and worked out ways that they could become more involved in serving their communities and becoming full citizens of Aotearoa.

Kopua Retreat

Eight young people from Masterton, Porirua and Wellington joined Challenge staff and volunteers at the beautiful Monastery in Kopua, just outside the Hawkes Bay, for a three day retreat.

We had a fantastic few days talking and reflecting on the Year of Mercy.  Topics discussed included: “Who Am I”, “Who is God”, “Servant Leadership”.

It was great for the young people and Challenge 2000 to leave reality behind and reconnect back to both themselves and to God.  New and old friendships were formed and strengthened and a new connection has developed between the Companions and the Monks in the Monastery. We thank the Monks at Kopua for allowing us to stay at the beautiful, restful and tranquil Monastery.

Reflecting IMG_7491 Group


Wellington Community Law Training

Law students at Victoria University have been training Challenge 2000 young people over a number of weeks.  Topics have included employment rights, rental agreements, hire purchase, legal rights and responsibilities, health and sexuality and lots more.

Our Challenge 2000 young people learnt a great deal and related well to the positive, humorous, caring and knowledgeable lawyers to be.

Thanks to the Wellington Community Law Centre for making these training events possible!!

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Health Conference – Tawa College

Challenge 2000 was invited to the 2016 Tawa College Health Conference.  Two Challenge educators went and led a dynamic and interactive discussion with Year 12 and 13 pupils around “What It Means To Be a Leader” and “Being the Hero of Your Own Journey”.

At Challenge 2000, we believe that every young person has the capacity to be great.  We were certainly inspired and excited by the levels of motivation and engagement we found at Tawa College.

Ka Pai!

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Budget Briefings with Finance Minister the Hon Bill English

This week 2 Challenge 2000 Youth Workers, Junior Seumanufagai and Te Po Hohua-Johnstone attended a breakfast presentation hosted by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services to discuss the Budget.

Junior said “it was a very informative presentation that helped me to understand what factors impact on the young people I work with.  It was really good to see the big picture.  Bill’s comment made me really want to understand more how programmes are funded in the community and how Government tries to sort problems like housing and poverty today!”


Aroha Mai, Aroha Atu – Giving Back is Giving Forward

The Youth Week theme this year was ‘Aroha Mai, Aroha Atu – Giving Back is Giving Forward.  The Youth Committee put in lots hours of hard work to make the event a great success. We decided to provide a three course meal for our families in Porirua to say thank you, to acknowledge them and to celebrate our families.  The Committee met four times in the weeks leading up to the event to organise the menu, entertainment and the general layout for the night.

One of our members from the Committee spoke at the dinner and shared what it meant to be a youth today and give back to the community. He spoke on behalf of the Committee sharing how we were all seeds that had been nurtured to become strong trees.  It was great to see some of our future leaders using their talents and mixing with the younger children who attended the dinner.

Some of the feedback we received included:

“My favourite part of the night was meeting new people and reuniting with people I haven’t seen for a long time.”

“I think that the youth were celebrated at this event. It was a lovely introduction about who they are and what they do.”

“Thank you very much for inviting my family and I along we had a great night.”

“My favourite part of the night was playing with the balloons, the bubbles and eating the dessert.” (From a 5 year old)


A big thank you to those who supported this event, especially Ara Taiohi and the Tu Hono Marae Whanau.  We look forward to next year’s event and what we can do to make it bigger and better.

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