Holiday Programmes at Challenge 2000

During the holidays, young people from the Wellington Region have the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of fun and educational programmes put on by Challenge 2000. Two weeks off school can be a bit difficult and boring time for some students and so Challenge provides a range of engaging and exciting programmes throughout the holidays as a solution. Development, leadership, fun, widening horizons and service are the focus of the programmes:
  • Hutt Valley: During the first week of the holidays Challenge 2000 youth workers are running a two day programme for intermediate and college students from Naenae and Taita schools. Creative, reflective and positive group activities will focus on building relationships, a sense of belonging, developing independence and teamwork, as well as a trip to the pool and gym to keep everyone on their toes.
  • Hawke’s Bay: Loads of fun activities, including horse back riding and a trip to the hot pools await the lucky ones headed to camp in Napier this week. During the time the group will focus on learning about the whanau concept and how to contribute towards a functioning  family. Communication, history, relationships and fun in the sun – that’s what we are hoping for.
  • Walk NZ: Group 1: A number of our young people are joining Finn Egan as he walks the central north island to raise funds for Roar4PNG, an organization battling sex and domestic violence set to build a women’s refuge in Papua New Guinea. Finn and the C2K whanau are walking across ice and snow, putting their endurance to the ultimate test and learning some valuable lessons:

Put much, much lighter stuff in your pack!

Look after your feet! Large blisters will not just slow you down but stop you from walking all together!

Meet blisters’ friend: Chafing– will also make life difficult!

I am not alone – support is on the way: The 2nd group of young people will join the adventure along the Whanganui River soon.

  • Kayak Wellington Region: (Walk NZ Group 2):  A C2K group will be challenging themselves even further by kayaking down the Whanganui River in Canadian kayaks and will camp alongside the river bank (weather depending) or break for the night in DOC huts. If you’d like to sponsor one of our young people or would like to donate some much needed (waterproofing) gear we’d love to hear from you, please contact Kitty here.
  • Service: Some of our young people will be out and about giving of their holiday time serving the community in a variety of ways: clearing sections, mowing lawns, facilitating workshops for kapa haka, cooking bbq’s, singing and painting and more.
  • Kaikoura: A highly dedicated and experienced team of Challenge 2000 social workers, youth workers and volunteers will travel to the South Island to facilitate a 1-week-programme designed to accommodate 30 high school students. The programme will focus on topics to help young people thrive: “Be brave, be free, be powerful, be you.” and have enough flexibility for spontaneous jam sessions, or a round of table tennis and pool throughout the week.   (Challenge has worked closely with local agencies and the city council to support the communities that have been heavily affected by November’s earth quake and we feel blessed tremendously by the relationships that have grown ever since.)

Crossing Paths with the Black Ferns

The Bishop Viard College U15 Girls Rugby Team competed in this week’s Hurricanes Tournament organized by Wellington Rugby. Teams from Hastings, Ngāti Porou and the Wellington region competed in the two-day event. The BVC team was supported by Challenge 2000 Nicole Simson (Youth Worker), Coach Jesse Gerard (Youth Worker) and many students that came out to show their support.

The girls had come together as a team only several weeks ago with very different levels of experiences. After a rough start on Monday the girls were able to find their rhythm and confidence, showing up with a positive attitude on Tuesday. With amazing focus and team spirit the girls were able to come away with a hard fought for win against Naenae College, 15-10.

To top things off, the girls had the opportunity to meet with two Black Ferns and snapped a few pics to remember this awesome surprise meet-and-greet.

One of the players, Ocean, was awarded the MVP title for the team. Go BVC!


The team roughing it out.     


Posing with the Black Ferns’ Trophy.


The BSV team with coach Jesse (back row, middle) and supporters from Challenge 2000.

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

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


Mayor of Wellington’s visit to Challenge 2000

Challenge 2000 had the privilege of a visit from the Mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester.  This was an informal meeting where we talked about our work in the greater Wellington region and Wellington City, and our work to enhance social justice, social responsibility and personal dignity.

Justin was impressed with the number of staff and volunteers we have and the work we do. In particular, he was interested in the 5 youth houses we run in Kilbirnie, Lyall Bay and Island Bay.

A wide range of topics were covered including our new premises in Wanaka Street,  the plight of at risk young people, emergency water tanks, the role we could play in civil defence emergencies and a discussion on the provisions of our Wellington City contract.   A valuable meeting for us and Justin we think!



Today Challenge 2000 remembers all those who served our country in war and in peace.

We remember their commitment, struggles, fears, pain and achievements.
We commit ourselves to making Aotearoa- New Zealand and our world a better place in our time.
We will continue to challenge ourselves and others to live lives of sacrifice and service. We will learn to live by the values of honour, integrity, love, citizenship and responsibility.
We will remember them.

Tu meke Taita

Tumeke Taita was held over the weekend – I had the wonderful opportunity of attending this festival.  I was able to speak with those who were not familiar with Challenge 2000 and also met with those who have been grateful for the assistance Challenge has given them in the past.  It was a great time connecting with people from Taita and the services offered there. I was given the chance to speak and perform on stage so I sang “Wake-Up” by Aaradna.  Despite the wet weather, spirits were high.