Caritas Challenge 2017

A new year, a new Caritas Challenge for the year 2017. And many many new tasks and challenges for us in our daily life to help saving our planet.

Over 80 people from Challenge, our Youth Houses and from all around Wellington, Porirua and the Hutt took part of the “Sleep in a cardboard house”-challenge and enjoyed talks, activities, authentic food and workshops about climate change. This year’s main project is the support of Kiribati: Due to the higher and higher rising sea level, it becomes almost impossible for them to stay on their land. But we want to keep up their spirit and culture, their communities and families and became part of the Caritas Challenge 2017 with this weekend’s big event. Sleeping in cardboard houses and learning heaps about how WE can save OUR planet.

How can YOU save OUR planet?


Fun in the sun snorkelling

Challenge 2000 went snorkelling with St Anne’s School in Newtown. Without Challenge 2000’s support, the trip would not have gone ahead. Unfortunately most families are unable to give up their time due to work commitments so Challenge 2000 was happy to assist where needed.  The staff and Gap students who helped out had great fun, were awesome adult supervisors, encouragers and “guardians” of the children.

It was great to help make a difference and allow these children to get opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t normally get.

And Wellington produced a magnificent day for snorkelling!

Gap-Year 2017

One place left for this year’s GAP programme – get in quick!!!

Contact Nicole on 021 655 697 TODAY if you would like to experience youth work, social work, service, training opportunities and experiences all while getting paid!!!

Final Retreat for GAP Students

Nine young New Zealanders are currently up in the Central North Island.  These nine young people have been on a leadership, personal development, career exposure, life adventure full time gap year programme for the past 10 months.

This final camp provides them with an opportunity to build on all the growth of the past year and to finalise goals for 2017.  An early morning run was followed by a time for reflection and now they are off rafting.
If you are interested in such a programme then contact Challenge 2000 NOW!  We are currently taking applications for the Gap Year 2017!

Challenge 2000 GAP Year Programme 2017

Challenge 2000 and the Society of Mary offer

The GAP YEAR Programme in 2017

What is a GAP Year???

It’s a one year programme that involves holistic formation, NZQA youth work training, work placements, experiences, and local and possibly international travel. The Gap Year offers the chance to develop the social, spiritual, intellectual, employment, well-being and physical elements that are required for a positive, successful and balanced life.

 You will also be able to access the extras that will help you on your life journey: driver’s licence, first aid certificate, technology training and at the same time you get paid!! YES that’s correct.  You get the chance to grow, discover and learn with an awesome team of young people who are open to what life offers! Already 40 young people from New Zealand and overseas have accepted this invitation and graduated from the programme!

So if you are leaving college in 2016, or are under 20 years of age and want more life experience, an opportunity to serve and to be part of a positive active community, then contact us and apply for 2015. There are only 8 places available.

Opportunities like this are few and far between!

 Applications close November … 2016; The Gap Year starts February 2017


Contact: Kitty McKinley, Phone: (04) 477 6827 or (04) 477 0045



Check out our websites! and

Ignite Youth Conference in Brisbane

Challenge 2000 sent 10 staff and Gap students to Brisbane to attend the Ignite Youth Conference.

Here’s a couple of the Gap students thoughts on the Conference:

“I got a lot out of the Gap trip to Brisbane for the Ignite Youth Conference.  I experienced and learnt many new things that will definitely benefit me personally and all the Gap students and Challenge staff in the future.  The knowledge and input will help us in our youth and social work.  Overall, I had a really awesome experience at the Conference and got the chance to listen to many great speakers.

One talk that stood out the most for me was a male only session about ‘being a man’.  This talk was mainly centred around being a real man and about breaking the stereotype of a tough man.  The speaker and participants talked about how it’s good to be a bit soft and emotional even though others may feel like your being a little baby.  This was quite significant to me because it showed me that it’s alright to be soft and caring and that you don’t need to do whatever makes everyone else happy.

At the Conference we were able to experience a lot of different things.  For example, the type of music that they played in the rally’s and liturgies was very upbeat and modern.  I found it quite enjoyable and inspirational.  It can maybe be something that we can adopt over here in Wellington, New Zealand.  We were also able to meet quite a large number of new people who have now become friends.

This trip was amazing! I’m so grateful that I  was given the chance to go and I would definitely recommend it to other people.  I know it was not a waste of time, money and effort.  The trip has made a real difference to me.”

Jared Tofaeono


“Arriving in Australia I felt overwhelmingly ungrounded.  It was like I was on another planet let alone in another country! In the second workshop I went to at the Ignite Conference, Daniel Ang was presenting Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis.  “You’re not here for yourself”, he said, “You’re here for everyone else who isn’t here at this Conference.” This hit me like a punch to the gut.  I finally ‘got’ that I wasn’t there by luck or chance, I was there with a purpose.  From then on I prayed throughout the Conference that God would open my eyes and ears, to soften my heart so that I could feel God knocking on the door and to have the strength to answer it.

Later that day we filed into the big auditorium for Mass.  On my seat was a small card with printed words “I want a church that is poor, for the poor…. Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 198”.  I tucked it inside my notebook for safekeeping.  I continued the next few days living and breathing the Ignite Conference, learning, enjoying, connecting and being inspired.  It was a valuable experience.

On our last afternoon in Australia, we went into Brisbane city to look around before our flight home.  As I walked down the street, I came across a young man holding a cardboard sign – “Homeless Kiwi”.  We introduced ourselves to each other and made small talk about NZ.  I plucked up the courage to ask him how he came to be where he was now.  What he told me was a mixture of bad choices and stuff out of his control.  He said “It’s my own fault I’m living like this, I’m not a good human being and I’m addicted, I know that. But I’ve recently become a Catholic.  I’ve been baptised too.  God has got me out of some dangerous situations.  I know God has a plan and a purpose for me, and I have complete trust in that.  Maybe it is to be someone who looks out for my brothers and sisters on the Streets.” This broke my heart and inspired me in a million ways.  I didn’t know what I could do to help this young man in that moment.  But I do know that praying is extremely powerful, so we said a Hail Mary together.

I want a church that is poor, for the poor.  This young man is the church.  No more or less that the hundreds of young Catholics at the Ignite Conference.”

Sarah Atkinson

GAPS on placement

As part of the Challenge 2000 GAP Year programme, our 9 GAP students spend a month long placement in different places of New Zealand, serving and participating in missions.

The GAP students went on to Kopua Monastery in the Hawkes Bay, on the LSV programme in Hobsonville, Auckland, worked at the Auckland City Mission and with St Vincent de Paul’s, travelled south and spent time in the lower South Island with a Marist Priest and also spent time in Wellington working on missions with Challenge 2000.

Dylan and Jared went to St Joseph’s Primary School in Port Chalmers and shared in their morning prayer and then helped out by painting seating on our paved area. After morning tea they played sports with the children. They both spoke well about their Gap Year Programme and of the benefits of being on it. The school commented that both the boys were “exceptional men” and thanked Challenge 2000 “for providing our children with fantastic role models. Corrine, St Joseph’s Primary School
Below are some photos of the fun the children had with Dylan and Jared.

September Conference in Brisbane

Ten Challenge 2000 young people travel to Brisbane for a Youth Ministry and Development Conference this week.

For the Gap Students involved, it completes their month long placement – quite an adventure!!

Here are the team leaving Wellington and visiting LOGOS, our sister organisation, in Auckland this morning before they head off.

Safe travels and learn lots!!

Young Leaders Retreat

10 young leaders attended a two day retreat at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay.
The participants learnt about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and how it is a model for the life of every human being. Participants reflected on the courage it takes to “leave home” and cross the threshold into the unknown. They explored what are the hinders and obstacles they meet on the way and how they can get through the challenges of the wilderness by accepting help from the helpers and having an internal compass that will keep them going. They learnt about courage, the abyss and how to achieve their bliss/mission in life.
Participants also learnt about their Myers Briggs profile and were given another model to understand themselves and others. This made a lot of sense to the young leaders, particularly some of the input on career options and how they learn and make decisions.
In between they did a lot of experiential learning activities, had fun on Mt Victoria and even managed a short “dip” in the sea at Island Bay!  All in all it was a great three days topped off by fantastic food! The training was done by Helen Robinson and Kitty McKinley.