Introduction to Odyssey 2018

Odyssey is a youth programme led by Challenge 2000 Staff and young people. The programme is aimed at providing leadership and faith development, as well as providing the Sacraments for those who may have missed out. In the second week of the Odyssey, we focused on the importance of trust. We began with some fun games to break the ice in the group. This was followed by an introduction to what trust is, how we gain it and how we use it in our everyday lives without even knowing. The group was then relaxed by a quick meditation exercise.

The blindfold walk!

The big group was then split into 3 different groups where we discussed in small groups who we trusted the most in our lives and why. The way it was done made it closer and more intimate, it was also a great way for our young people to bond more closely. One of the more popular activities was the blindfold walk. Here, participants were blindfolded and guided to a destination by their partner. Trust was a key aspect in the blindfold walk as the blindfolded young person had to put their faith in the directions given to them by their partner.

The trust fall..

The final activity was a trust fall, however, instead of just backwards, it was both back and forth! The person falling would fall back and then be pushed back and forth between partners. The trust fall activity saw to much joy and laughter from all the young people. The session was wrapped up with some feedback from the participants on what they had learnt and picked up from the night’s activities. Food was of course provided before the young people departed. This was a nice way for newly found friends to farewell each other and look forward to their next meeting.


By Aaron Itinteang, Odyssey Leader

Challenge Staff Undergo Professional Development

Challenge 2000 staff recently underwent the first of two professional development days with internationally-renowned health sociologist Barry Taylor.

Barry is a specialist in suicide, a phenomenon which has tragically affected some of the young people and communities with whom Challenge 2000 works.

Held at Challenge 2000 headquarters in Johnsonville, the training day focused on building resilience in young people. A sharing of experiences showed that this is done most effectively by fostering connection, hope, and a sense of meaning and purpose.

Barry warned staff against the dangers inherent in the ‘cult of happiness.’ It is unrealistic, he claimed, for any of us to expect constant happiness. If we want to thrive, we must patiently tend to the garden of our lives during the bleakness of winter as well as the thrill of spring.

Barry also shared candidly about the root causes of the psychic pain that leads some to think of suicide as a solution. Traumas such as childhood abandonment or abuse, rather than suicide itself, are the issues that need to be addressed directly.

Despite the heavy nature of the topic, staff spoke positively about the training. We hope that it has increased our capacity to assist the young people with whom we work, especially those in distress.

Where to get help 

If your family member or friend is at immediate risk call 111 immediately for assistance

Lifeline 0800 543 354.

Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865.

Youthline 0800 376 633 / free text 234 or email talk@youthline.org.nz

The Lowdown www.thelowdown.co.nz / 0800 111 757 / free text 5626

Mental Health Foundation www.mentalhealth.org.nz

National Telehealth Service 1737.org.nz / free call or text 1737 to speak to a trained counsellor

There are also agencies in your community who you could talk to like your GP, local Marae, school counsellor or social worker.

Our very own Gav is off to the Softball World Champs!

WBSC XII Junior Men’s Softball World Championship

 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada from July 7th, 2018 to July 15th, 2018.

Whitehorse, Yukon 2014

I was fortunate to be selected from NZ to officiate at this coming WBSC XII Junior Men’s Softball World Championship tournament being held in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, starting this Friday 6th July.

Eighteen umpires from across the globe were selected to work at this prestigious 9 day Championship, with fourteen teams from the 4 corners of the globe all vying for that Championship medal, come the last day 15th July.

Hamilton Fast Pitch 2015

The selection process began back in January with confirmation of my appointment being announced by the Chief Umpire at WBSC (World Baseball Softball Congress). This will be my 3rd World Championship that I have attended within the last 4 years and all have been in Canada.

I took up umpiring in 2004, after playing the game for some years. They (players/mates) would say “You’ve turned to the dark side now dick” It was hard at first, I think playing the game and being a student of it has helped but the rules and technical side of umpiring has been and still is continual learning itself. Now, ALL that hard work, perseverance and numerous hours out in the sun for umpiring instead of being at the beach or out on the boat fishing, is starting to pay off.

We have 7 Levels here in NZ for umpiring. We all start on Level 1 for a season at age grade then progress from there. Level 4 is where you sit for your badge at a national age grade tournament. This is normally an assessment followed by a 50 multi question test. If you’re successful, you are presented with your NZ Umpiring Badge which allows you to umpire Snr Men’s/Women’s games. The world is your oyster. From Level 4 – 7 usually takes 6 years and that’s if you pass all your yearly assessments and exams, so 2 years per Level. Level 6 gives you all national tournaments and internal internationals only.

To get to Level 7 you must have successfully completed Level 6 requirements, be nominated to sit your IsF Certification. This certification is normally combined with our Australian colleagues where we share the cost for the UIC (Umpire in Charge) from Canada/USA to attend and run the certification seminar. This seminar is a week-long and very intense programme with both practical and theory assessments going the whole time. However once you achieve your Level 7, lookout……..Every year there are 2 World Championships in play, so you can see there are plenty of opportunities. My goal is to attend the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

— Gavin Shepherd

“New beginnings” by Professor Boston

Challenge 2000 young people supported the second talk for “New Beginnings” given by Professor Boston from the Wellington University of Victoria. “New Beginnings” was held on Sunday 6th May at Uniting Church in Johnsonville, 70 people ages 11 – 80 attended the enlightening presentation. The focus of the talk was climate change and what we could do to help counter the effects of it. The talk was both an eye opening and informative experience.

Professor Boston shared his many insights into the topic and brought about good discussion amongst the crowd that attended. We learned about many of the natural wonders of the world that are slowly dying, and we as humans are the cause of much loss of life on Earth.

He was able to bring across a concerning issue and encourage us as individuals to not wait for a solution to come, but to instead bring about our own solutions! After listening to the Professor’s talk I feel very motivated to want to make a difference in the fight against climate change.

Small nations are suffering as a result of larger nations’ exploitations. As Professor Boston said: “God will not save us from our own folly – it will be up to us as a society and one people to find the solution to this global problem. The talk and discussion was followed by soup, rolls, conversation and community. Overall this was a profound, educative and motivational experience for all who came and there was a real commitment at the end to act locally and think cross politically here in Aotearoa New Zealand.


Reported by Aaron Itinteang.

Recap of I Choose Me holiday programme

What do you get when you combine dance drills, basketball, rap, kapa haka, poetry, bob-sled-ready, chicken sandwiches, Anzac biscuits, the Walter Nash Centre and so much more? The I Choose Me holiday programme for April 2018!

Morning sports session

Challenge 2000, Taiohi Morehu and Hutt City Council collaborated once again in the April school holidays to run “I Choose Me”- this time out of the mighty Walter Nash Centre in Taita.  We combined our creative arts programme with sports for the very first time and the atmosphere was energetic!  It was the third time we have run this programme but the first in Taita – the spacious sports facilities allowed us run a strong sports element within the programme.  Future NBA stars, Silver Ferns and All Whites were among us as many of our students showcased their sporting talents during the morning sessions.  Soaking up the knowledge of our guest speakers in the afternoon, we witnessed budding junior versions of Eminem, Parris Goebel and Idina Menzel grace the stage during our workshops.  As a group, we were challenged physically and creatively through dance, music, rap, kapa haka and poetry over a four day period.

Performance to the group

We had sixteen amazing and diverse rangatahi from the Lower Hutt and wider Wellington region participate in the programme.  Each day was centered on a different theme to “Be Brave”, “Be Confident”, “Be Creative” and “Be You” where all rangatahi were encouraged to use the theme in their actions for the day and to always give things a go.  Combining our creative arts programme with a sports element was the Taita “flavour” that enhanced I Choose Me this time around.  It was best summed up by one of the rangatahi whose feedback was, “I met new people who are now good friends and enjoyed the whole thing. Can I come to the next one?”

Reported by Faafetai Avei.


Anzac Day 2018

We will remember them.

Every year since Challenge 2000 was started in 1988 we have commemorated those who served and sacrificed themselves to secure our future and have translated how we can commit ourselves to creating just and peaceful world that they strived for. We are committed to serving others, and to building a nation of justice, love and responsibility where the dignity of every person is recognised and safeguarded. Challenge 2000 is a ‘yes’ organisation and we attempt to live out the Anzac spirit in our time and place.

Whanau at the Johnsonville service

On Anzac day we remember. We remember the lives lost. We remember those who returned, changed forever. We remember the loneliness and struggle of those left at home. We remember the huge effect WW1 had on our small country and how being Anzacs shaped our identity. We remember those affected by other wars.


Lano and Matt at the Wellington Anzac service

Our staff, gap students and whanau attended the service in Johnsonville at 10am and the 11am service in Wellington. Challenge 2000 wreaths were laid by Mele Kilino-Lapana, Matt Bentley and Lano Afutoto on behalf of our whanau. It is encouraging to see our young people taking the lead and engaging in such a fundamental part of our identity.


For the first time on our new site, we held a commemoration event that included a prayer service and drama in Johnsonville. We were delighted to have so many people unite as a community and remember those who served. There was plenty of behind the scenes support from our volunteers, college students and university students. Students from Bishop Viard, St Mary’s and Wellington Girl’s were in each day in the lead up lending a hand to ensure it all went

Muscians in their element

smoothly. These amazing students baked all the Anzac biscuits, prepared the costumes and ensured they fit the cast of twenty-five, painted crosses and learnt all the old songs to be performed in the drama and service. The Anzac spirit was very much alive in the build up and the students reflected on their own family experiences of war.  There were younger ones passing through during the day and students took this opportunity to share their own knowledge and explain the importance of Anzac day. We also had a number of volunteers come in throughout the week and offer their support and services, including an ex gap year student and her family who worked their magic with the artwork.

Brett Hudson reading the names of fallen soldiers from our Johnsonville whanau

Greg O’Connor reading The Ode

Wellington put on a great day for us and we were pleased to host 170 people made up of familiar and new faces. We were grateful to have our local MP’s Greg O’Connor and Brett Hudson attend and participate in the service by reading The Ode and the names of fallen soldiers from our local Johnsonville whanau. Jill Day, Deputy Mayor and Peter Gilberd, Northern Ward City Councillor were also in attendance along with representatives from the local Anglican and Catholic parishes, residents from the local rest home, representatives from the Police and The Johnsonville Charitable Trust.


Young solider being picked up for training

The family awaiting news of their beloved soldier

The programme begun with our drama set in Johnsonville where a young man volunteered to “do his bit” in 1915. We were taken on his powerful journey, one of courage, love, and sacrifice. His love story was like many others, letters exchanged throughout the war, holding onto the hope that they would one day be back together and moving forward with a promising future. This moving journey ended with a letter from a nurse who was with the young man when he died in combat “the death of these brave men who had given the last full measure of sacrifice in their country’s cause, comes as a noble inspiration to us”.  The service followed this and there was not a dry eye in the crowd.


The sing-a-long!

Following the service there was an opportunity for our guests to share stories over tea, scones, Anzac biscuits and cucumber sandwiches. And in the spirit of the time there was a sing-a-long of the old time songs – great to see the young and the old get involved and enjoy the tunes.


Te Po, Peter Gilberd, John Robinson, Jill Day, Savesi Apolo.

Thank you to everyone who attended our service. Anzac day reminds us of the bravery, loyalty, tenacity, love and service that our soldiers are known for. We remember the great sacrifice that was made by many to bring peace and to build this nation of ours.  It falls upon each one of us now to make a commitment to serve and to sacrifice and to live positively today so we are a country that those who served before us could be proud of.

Some of the amazing cast!

We would also like to take the opportunity to thank the following people for their support of the event. Elizabeth Kennedy for the beautiful wreaths, Tim Gordon for directing the drama, Jamie McCaskill for his musical expertise, Hire master for the use of the marquee, Wellington City Council’s Barrie Hutton for setting up the sound system, The Johnsonville Charitable Trust for their ongoing support and all of the actors, actresses, musicians and behind the scenes people who made this such a great community event.


Kaikoura holiday programme, April 2018

In response to the November 2016 earthquake in Kaikoura, Challenge 2000 initiated a youth and community development project to support the young people and community of Kaikoura.

Who am I?

During school holiday periods we send a team to deliver a youth and community programme which supports the local community. The programme is tailored to meet the needs and expectations of the young people which maximises engagement, learning and fun!

We sent our talented team of stars off last week on a stunning Wellington day. Phil, Courtney, Sue, Junior, Sio, Savesi and Mele were excited to spend a week in beautiful Kaikoura community.

Our team were welcomed with open arms and twenty five young people (each day!) full of enthusiasm and energy. Each day was full of adventure and laughs..

Imagination mask time!

A variety of activities were enjoyed with the highlights being the opening sports and activities day (can we interest anyone in a game of pukana or bob sled ready!!??) mini golf, making pizzas, mask making, going to a Powhiri to welcome another group to Kaikoura, and to top off the week an “amazing race” with different challenges throughout the town.

Mini golf champ

There was also time for reflection and our team noted one of their highlights was having the opportunity to listen to the young people talk about the earthquake and how it has affected them 16 months on. They were thankful for such a high energy, balanced and special group of young people.



A huge thanks to the Interislander who sponsored our team’s journey to and from Kaikoura, we are grateful for your support.

GJNZ-Lockup Vertical-1 Line below_CMYK_POS


We would like to invite you all to our ANZAC day drama and commemoration service. We hope you can come together to remember what was, to be grateful for what is and to work to build a better New Zealand.

With the support and guidance of Tim Gordon, our young people have written and will be performing a powerful and educational drama set 100 years ago at the end of WWI.

We welcome you all to come and gather as a community to remember our fallen heroes. The programme commences at 2pm and will be followed by afternoon tea. This is a family friendly event so please bring all your whanau!

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.



Creative arts workshop – holiday programme

If you are aged 13-18 check out our creative arts workshop 23 – 17 April! The programme is a collaboration between Challenge 2000, Taiohi Morehu and Hutt City Council. The I+CHOOSE+ME Tukuna Kia Rere programme will be operating these holidays in the Walter Nash centre. It has been run out of Naenae and Stokes Valley communities so far and the feedback has been fantastic! If you are interested register now by emailing faafetaiavei@challenge2000.org.nz or joshua.peauafi@huttcity.govt.nz 

Julie Nevett, Mayor Mike Tana and Kitty McKinley

2018 – March 19, Opening of our new Porirua Hub

Earlier this week we celebrated the opening of our new space in Pember house in Porirua. We were grateful for the community support which was reflected in the guest list! This included a number of community leaders – Mayor Mike Tana, the Kapiti Mana Police area commander, Tracey Thompson and the police district iwi co-ordinator, Te Roera Puna. We were also thrilled to have Julie Nevett a business partner who sponsored the project attend along with a number of College representatives and our staff members. 

Steve O'Connor and Mayor Mike Tana.

Steve O’Connor and Mayor Mike Tana.

Steve O’Connor, our director opened the event. We were honoured to have Mayor Mike Tana speak, he shared his excitement of having the hub up and running in Porirua as well as reflecting on his past work with youth. There was an excited buzz in the air, which is an indication of the many great things to come from this new, central space in the heart of the Porirua CBD. 

Our Challenge space is located on the 4th floor of Pember House, just around the corner from the Porirua City Council. The office had been freshly painted and re-furnished with brightly coloured rugs and couches, photos and posters on the walls and pot plants nestled in the corners. The office is bright and cozy, and it is clear that it will be an important hub for the amazing work that we do, as well as a welcoming place for Porirua youth, their whanau and our community partners. 

The office in Porirua will be used as a base for the work that we deliver in the community. We have had involvement with young people in Porirua for over 25 years.

The new hub is open!

We have provided youth justice services, youth and social workers for all the Porirua Colleges, holiday programmes, provided community service opportunities and lots more! Being based here physically will make us more visible and accessible for the community and those accessing our many programmes. 

Our staff, young people and volunteers at last have a place to call home and we look forward to strengthening our relationships in the Porirua community. 

Tina May Wilkins is the senior social worker running the hub – we asked her about the vision of the hub and here is what she said…

“Tena Koutou Katoa, Tālofa, Fakaalofa atu, Malo e lelei, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Kia Orana

Having a base in Porirua means so much more than just having a presence, it’s about relationships and the ability to strengthen them.  Challenge 2000 has social and youth workers based at 5 of the 7 secondary schools in Porirua who provide support to students and their families in need.  Our services have also reached the wider community, the youth courts and partnered primary schools.
Having a hub means that the students and families have a place to identify with when working with the social and youth workers other than their respective schools.
I see the hub as a safe gathering place where staff, young people, families and our community networks.  Our goal was to create an environment both comfortable and inviting for everyone who will utilise it and I believe we have achieved that.
Already we have had parents, students and political guests meet with staff at the hub.  It’s my goal to ensure the space is used to the best of it’s ability and to continue to provide services to the Porirua Community.
Nau Mai Haere Mai ki te tari o Te Wero Rua Mano ki Porirua!”