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.

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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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Breakfast Club at Mana College

Breakfast is served at Mana College!
Have a healthy start to the day! Good chat – Play games – Make pancakes, french toast and other yummy creations.

 Students are welcome to come and hang out (and thaw out) in the warmth every Wednesday morning in Hauroa, 8.30am-9.45am. Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 11.45.21 am

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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Introducing Steve O’Connor – Challenge 2000’s new Director

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Kia Ora, I am the new director and what a wonderful team to lead!

Each person here works with vigor in search of social justice, social responsibility and personal dignity.  I am so very proud of them. I congratulate each one of them for their achievements.  I have been in social work roles to achieve these aims for over thirty years.

I have just retired from the police after 22 years, to join Challenge 2000. While in the police I managed police youth development and youth justice crime prevention programmes. Prior to joining the police, I was a social worker in non-government social work agencies. My last role in the police was as a National Co-ordinator supporting the development of community policing and helping police better care for victims, especially victims of family violence.

If you want to help us to help young people, please ring and talk to me on 021 192 7328.

Cambodian House for Caritas Challenge

For the Caritas Challenge, Challenge 2000 set up a Cambodian house. We left the house set up for the following week for people to come through and have a look. We had all of the students from St Brigid’s come along and have a look through the house. Nick Borthwick from Caritas came back in to talk to the students as well. The students really enjoyed what they saw and took lots away from the talk and also seeing the house as well.

We received some lovely cards from some of the students. Some of the feedback we got from the students was.

‘It looked like a real Cambodian house, thank you for setting up the house’

‘My favourite parts of the house were the spices and the smells that were there.’

‘I loved how real it looked.’

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I CAN, WE CAN Project

I CAN, WE CAN Project is a project that is organised through Athletes Village in Tawa.  Athletes Village has an area for non perishable food items that are donated brom staff and/or member of their gym.

This month Ace Tiatia (who runs the gym) is giving the donations from the gym to Challenge 2000!  This is a photo of myself and the Porirua College nurse (who is a member at the gym) collecting the boxes of donated goods!

A huge thank you to Athletes Village – you have made a difference!!

– Viv Campbell –Athletes Village

ANZACS – We will remember them

We will remember them!

For the past 20 years Challenge 2000 has encouraged our young people to reflect on ANZAC day, what it meant in 1915 and what it means today.

Our focus is on Service, Sacrifice, Peace and Justice and how these are significant values of our country – now and then.

Much time is spent on learning about WWI and WWII in particular and how these wars shaped the psyche and soul of Aotearoa New Zealand.  Then a play is workshopped, practiced and delivered in centres and churches.  What happens is incredible.  The “actors” actually absorb the identity of those young men and women who served overseas.  Flanders Field becomes real to the “soldier” and the mum and children who stayed at home know the pain and fear of waiting.  The nurse writing the letter for Reg on board the hospital ship leaving Gallipoli is moved to tears as Reg says how his younger brother was killed on the beach.

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20160424_192318 20160424_191819 20160424_192252The haka by a soldier of the Maori Battalion at El Alamein honours his dead comrade and beings the spirit of his ancestors alive again.

Words can’t describe it really – but our young people grew as they discovered the history, feelings and courage, fear, pain and reality of War and its wide ranging effects.

Now we need to not just remember but to act so that all can have the quality and type of life that others were prepared to serve and die for.

Will you serve? Will you sacrifice? The challenge is there. Worth thinking about – worth acting on!


And the conversations weren’t all serious…………………

Conversation in a vehicle:

Sam, 7, who acts as a boy in 1945: “When I take Under Mike by the hand – shall I say come and see my poster of Aaron Cruden?”

Luke, staff member: “Ummm maybe don’t say Aaron Cruden cos he wasn’t alive in 1945”

Sam: “Shall I say Christian Cullen?”

Luke: “No I don’t think Christian is that old either! Maybe you just say rugby stuff?”

Sam: “Yeah maybe the All Blacks weren’t invented them!!!”