ACC Mates & Dates

A healthy relationships programme for secondary school students.

Aidan Ritchie

Challenge 2000 is one of several partner agencies currently providing the Mates & Dates programme to secondary schools in the Wellington region, helping young people to have healthy and happy relationships.

Mates and dates is going to be hugely important for not only the secondary school students we teach, but for all of the relationships they have or make further down the line. I feel incredibly lucky to be in a position to facilitate such awesome growth opportunities to the nation’s young people.

As a 20 year old bloke, after going to high school parties, pubs, and out to town, spending time in football club rooms and even just in everyday life with people I know, I wish that these Mates & Dates programmes could have rolled out sooner. The notion that EVERY secondary school student will be taught about what consent is and how to recognize it really excites me. If we could teach every young person what a healthy relationship looks like, how to respect their own mana and their partners, about the different types of sexual orientations and gender identities, and how to help both the survivor and perpetrator of abuse, I am confident we could make a change within New Zealand society that is so desperately needed. 

We have some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world, and as a responsible society we have to acknowledge that so many of our young people are exposed to sexually violent behaviors and toxic relationships, be that through their own boyfriend/girlfriends or by witnessing it in their own whānau. 

It is incredibly exciting to be a part of such a wide-spread, prevention-based program. This transcends “Not being abusive” but dives into the realms of self-care, self-help and all the different ways we can make relationships as positive and beneficial for ourselves, not only in romantic relationships but in our relationships friends and family, and how to help them with theirs in a safe way. There is infinite room for improvement in how we treat each other and how we behave in an open-minded way in an inclusive manner. People love who they love, are who they are and want what they want. That is true within everyone, and the differences in between are quite minor in comparison to this overwhelming common ground. 

For information visit the ACC Mates & Dates initiative page here…

Aidan Ritchie is a Youth Worker and Mates & Dates facilitator for Challenge 2000.

Aroha Noa Premiere

Ko te Aroha te hoe ue e whakatere ana te waka ki uta.

Love is the steering paddle directing the waka to shore.

Love will take us to where we should be.

A documentary looking at the 30 year history of Challenge 2000 is set to premiere on Māori Television this Sunday 21st July at 7.30pm.

The documentary, Aroha Noa, directed by Dr Sinead Donnelly, traces the history and growth of, what was then, Challenge ’89. The vision back then was the image of a house where those who have enough will come through the back door and those with nothing will come through the front door. Inside they will meet and help each other.

In the documentary, people who have been helped by Challenge 2000 over the years up to the present day tell their unique and moving stories. It is a beautiful documentary and a wonderful chance to see so many of the people who have made Challenge what it is today, and so many of the success stories that we have been able to contribute to. This year Challenge 2000 cares for 6,000 young people with 14 social workers, 15 youth workers, with involvement in 6 secondary schools in Porirua and the Hutt Valley, running 5 residential youth houses.

Aroha Noa screens at 7.30pm this Sunday, 21st July, on Māori Television.

Hurricanes Community Partnership Update

On Friday we had a large turnout of young people as we hosted a few of the Hurricanes’ boys as part of our ongoing community partnership 2019 here at Challenge 2000.

The morning started off with a Q&A session led by the lads; Peter Umaga-Jensen, Fraser Armstrong and Wes Goosen. The guys were very engaging and, after some initial shyness, the questions were coming in thick and fast around goal setting, overcoming difficulties and getting ready for upcoming games, proving more informative than an episode of The Breakdown!

Peter Umaga-Jensen, Fraser Armstrong and Wes Goosen fielding questions

The boys then put our young people through their paces in a skills and training session across the road at Alex Moore Park, where we uncovered some local talent – both known and some surprises!

Peter Umaga-Jensen puts the pedal to the metal
Fraser Armstrong leading some warm-up passing
Full participation in the skills and training session
Showing them how it’s done
The lads were kind enough to sign autographs as well as providing some Hurricanes swag
Everyone catching their breath post-skills and training session

Our thanks go out again to the Hurricanes for choosing us as community partners, and taking time out of their very busy schedules to spend time with our staff and young leaders (and putting them through their paces on the turf!).


Every year Grace (Removals) demonstrates its commitment, support and appreciation for their Australian and New Zealand communities by giving back to those who need it most. Grace Gives is an initiative which has been running for 3 years and the network continues to grow year on year, granting more gifts and raising more awareness for great Australian and New Zealand causes.

We are extremely pleased and grateful to announce Challenge 2000 has been chosen as a 2019 Grace Gives recipient.

Corie Reid (left) from Grace presents grant cheque to Mele Kilino-Lapana, Kerry Burton and Steve O’Connor

With this grant we aim to take four students from two of the Porirua Colleges where Challenge 2000 have Social Workers/Youth Workers based, on a Pilgrimage to Taupo/Rotorua at the end of the 2019 academic year. 

These students will have overcome adversity and have continued achieving in their education despite complex and ongoing barriers.

The purpose of this Pilgrimage is to provide a fun and safe experience outside of the Wellington region for four students who otherwise would not get this opportunity.

John Robinson (centre) presents Corie Reid from Grace with a brief history of the Challenge 2000 heritage carving

This trip will be a journey of discovery of self and each other. The trip will explore each students purpose and direction for their future as well as the chance to participate in activities that challenge their current way of thinking and push their beliefs in their own abilities. It will also build positive connections, self-confidence and a deeper understanding of one’s self.

Thanks again to Corie and the team at Grace for this generous donation and thanks to our social worker Kerry Burton for pursuing this grant on our behalf.

Hurricanes Community Partnership

Bishop Viard’s newly established girls rugby team had the opportunity last week to train with some of the Hurricanes, as part of Challenge 2000’s community partnership with the Canes. The girls are motivated and excited to see their season get underway, so training in the school holidays was an important part of their team preparation. James Marshall, Wes Goosen and Salesi Rayasi came to their training session and participated in their drills, played some touch and finished off with a Q&A. The Canes noted the girls improved in just one training! Admiring their hard work with set pieces and understanding the game.

The BVC girls’ rugby team then had the opportunity to form the Guard of Honour for the Hurricanes vs Chiefs game the following night. The excitement levels were off the chart and the Canes performed very well to take home the win! Wes and Salesi’s tries were welcomed and the girls reflected they picked up some tips for running out on the wing! For a lot of the young people it was their first time to the stadium and to watch the Hurricanes live.

Following the game James and Salesi came over to the stands to thank the girls for their support – a very welcomed surprise. This highlighted the inspiring partnership Challenge 2000 has with the Hurricanes, encouraging young people to enjoy rugby, get out of their comfort zones and most importantly have fun!

Supporting Christchurch and our Muslim Community

On Friday 22nd March we gathered to share 2 minutes silence with the rest of NZ. We remembered those who were affected by the horrific attacks on Muslim community in Christchurch. We reflected on our feelings of grief, solidarity and love.

We are one.

Hurricanes!!! Hurricanes!!!

Last Friday 8 March the Hurricanes had their first home game of the season! We were given the opportunity to provide young people to form the Guard of Honour as the Canes and Highlanders ran on the field! Our tamariki were so excited, despite the wind and rain! They waved their flags furiously and cheered as the players ran on the field. Our resident artist Jacob Bang designed a Hurricanes inspired Challenge logo, also acknowledging International Women’s Day.

Our partnership with the Hurricanes this season is very exciting and we hope this will lead us to the championship final!

Prior to the game last Friday we also had an opportunity to take young people aged 13-16 from Bishop Viard College, Mana College, Porirua College and Aotea College to Rugby League Park for a 2 hour training session with 3 of the Hurricanes. The young men thoroughly enjoyed their time with the inspiring Ardie Savea, Ben Lam and James Blackwell. The session focused on some skills training, some touch, a tour of the Hurricanes base and some photo ops & signing at the end! The young men left RLP absolutely buzzing, especially when Dane Coles showed up right at the end just in time for some photos! We can’t wait to host the Hurricanes whānau at our whare next time!

Waitangi Day 2019

Challenge 2000 is an agency committed to honouring the Treaty of Waitangi and working in a bicultural way. Our team and some of our young people are going to spend time together at 11am this Waitangi Day at the church of St Peter and Paul’s in Johnsonville. We will reflect on what the treaty calls us to be in our communities, families, schools, churches and organisations. Our focus will be on understanding the past and working in the present to make a more just and equitable country. We know that we are better off together. He waka eke noa.

Please join us.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Challenge 2000! 2019 will be another big year for us and we are looking forward to all that it brings… hope, love, challenges, inspiration and change.

We have got lots of exciting things on the go, including our school holiday programmes which are in full swing with our young people having a ball!


Merry Christmas from Challenge 2000

Love works is a motto you will often hear at Challenge 2000. We believe in going the extra mile to support young people, families and communities who are struggling. Our people and financial resources have been stretched this year, as our team worked with people struggling because of financial difficulties and mental health distress. The increased number of youth suicides impacted particular communities in which we work. So as we reached Christmas we were feeling pretty exhausted. 

Then we were all overwhelmed by the tidal wave of support, love and generosity provided by Wellingtonians. THANK YOU… for the food, the meat, the vegetables, the essentials, the toys and the money that you generously donated. Thank you for those who helped with the wrapping, the messages and the drop offs to our families. You have lifted our spirits and perhaps unknowingly brought a sense of hope not only to our families, young people and children who needed it but also to us.

Particular heart shots for us – the pensioner who donated hams for our hampers, the little girl who shared her dummy with baby Jesus, the Wellington Police who came with presents and Police puppies to share and to entertain, the family who had saved pocket money to buy healthy juices, the Catholic Priest who dropped off a $1000 cheque, the companies who deposited to our bank account and to the families who sponsored less well off families. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You probably have no idea the impact you have had on both Challenge 2000 and those whom we serve. When the end of the year was a matter of survival, you helped us celebrate and relax. 

We wish you a very happy, safe and loving Christmas. Be careful on the roads, respect yourself and others and take a few moments to reflect on how love works.