Lockdown in a Youth House

Talofa everyone !

O lo’u igoa o Petrina Foaese, I am from the beautiful Hutt Valley but currently live in Kilbirnie. I am one of the youth house leaders supporting our young adults. Living in a youth house has taught me about community and service outside my role as a youth worker in schools.

In a youth house, we try our best to build a safe and comfortable space for rangatahi to learn about themselves and to become more independent and responsible with their decisions. As youth house leaders, we are there to guide and support them.

Living in a youth house, I have experienced both difficult and positive times, which is expected. That is why we value the importance of manaakitanga and communication in the youth house, to build relationships and support positive dynamics in the house. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is difficult. Therefore, supporting our young ones to develop life skills at this stage of their lives is important for their safety and their future. We hope these skills will encourage them to pursue their goals and aspirations.

Some of the ways I contribute to supporting our young adults are cooking, daily chats and check-ins about life, house and living skills, and meeting their whānau.

The support is not just one-way. As a youth house leader, I’ve also learnt a lot from our rangatahi and young adults. It is amazing what they know and what they want to contribute to the community. 

During lockdown, we’ve been able to get a few things done outside and inside the house. We did a big clean-up while the weather was nice. It has also been great to learn more about each other in a different environment. There have been a lot of Zoom sessions for many of us in the house, for both work and study. It’s also been great to see the young ones try new kai.

Before the COVID-19 lockdown, we were able to have dinner with one of the Mercy Sisters who also generously support our community. We were able to connect with one of the young adult’s whānau when they stayed over for a significant event. We hope we can get back to this once lockdown restrictions are lowered.

Covid Update: Kia ora Whanau! We need your help!

Challenge 2000 is deemed an essential service and like last time around, many of our staff are providing a responsive front line service to those who are really struggling.

We need additional support to purchase essential food items, games and activities for children (particularly those without the internet) and general household items for our deliveries.

Please get in contact if you can donate or provide any of the following:

  • Any food items, fresh or non-perishable and home-made meals
  • Household cleaning products and personal and family toiletries
  • Hand sanitizer, gloves and masks (bought or home-made)
  • Shopping bags or boxes to put deliveries in
  • Or simply donate to Challenge 2000: 01-0519-0057660-00 with reference “Covid Response” so we can buy the food that our young people or families need.

We will gratefully receive all items and follow Level 4 health and safety guidelines when we collect from your place or office.

Please contact Steph Penny (StephPenny@Challenge2000.org.nz) , call 04 477 6827 or vist our Contact Page here.

Also if you or your neighbours or family members need additional back up then ask them to contact us. We are in this challenging time together.

ACC Mates and Dates

The Mates and Dates team have been as busy as ever, delivering out to High Schools across Wellington.

It’s a challenging time being a young person, and today’s media is full of stories highlighting the issue of violence among our young people.

The Mates and Dates programme is about helping young people to have healthy and happy relationships, taught over 5 weeks throughout year 9 to year 13 students.

Ka pai to everyone involved!

Click here for more information on the ACC Mates and Dates programme.

Gap Retreat

Great Retreat feedback from one of our Gap Year Students.

On Wednesday the 2021 Gap year participants went on a retreat to The Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington.

The retreat was three days and was filled with many sessions and activities. We also had a few sessions and discussions based on how our beliefs in God have changed over the years, and Pa Eddie took us through some meditation exercises. 

On Thursday we had a session with Kitty about “Rocks in our shoe or in our backpack” – This analogy was based on when you get a stone in your shoe it’s uncomfortable and holds you back and becomes your major focus. In this session we had to think of some of our own rocks, what holds us back and what we think we need to let go of. We then wrote them down and went to the beach and burnt them and as a group let go of those “rocks” and reflected on what we wrote and let go of what was holding us back. This session personally was a favourite! Some of us also threw other rocks into the sea.

We also learnt about Suzanne Aubert and her life’s journey. We visited her in the chapel and reflected on the hardships and challenges she went through just to help others. This really put things into perspective and made quite a few of us think about our own lives and what we are doing to help others and how we treat others.

Overall this retreat was an experience that was challenging, reflective, wholesome, beautiful and overall one for the books. I can’t put into words the way we all felt leaving after the experiences we all went through personally, emotionally and spiritually.


Staff Training

On the 29th and 30th of April the whole Challenge 2000 Whanau got together for a two-day workshop. Each morning we started with reflection, which was a good time to reflect on Term 1 and reconnect with each other. During the two days, we covered assessments with our Young People, waiata practice and many performances, with great positive feedback from the team!

It was super informative! It will be extremely helpful when we are working with our young people”.

It is always amazing getting back as a full whanau, especially after such a full-on term 1!”

2021 Back to School!

2021 is well underway, and school is back! One of the ways Challenge 2000 supports young people and their families is school-based social work and youth work.

We have a great team of social workers and youth workers based in six colleges across Porirua and the Hutt Valley.

We wish them and each of their college communities well for the year ahead! 

Waitangi Mass

Challenge 2000 Youth Worker Aroha Allen writes:

On Waitangi Day, Challenge 2000 supported the celebration of a special Mass at St Andrew’s, Newlands, which offered space for reflection of the significance of the signing of the treaty. I attended this service, saying a prayer in Te Reo Māori which was translated into English. Pā Pat Brophy SM shared on equality, partnership and The Treaty of Waitangi. Afterwards, members of the parish commented on how engaging the Mass was and highlighted the representation of the Māori flag and the New Zealand flag on the altar. The celebration ended with a sharing of refreshments, which gave everyone the opportunity to get to know each other a little better.

The prayer I said was:

E te Ātua, e aroha mai ana ki a mātou, ko ōu iwi katoa hei iwi mō mātou. Awhinatia mātou ki te mārama tētahi ki tētahi kia whakapaingia tōu hāhi. E mahi tahi ana i roto i te kōmunio tuturu.

God who loves each one of us, all your people are our people. Help us to understand each other. Let your Church be blessed, as we work together in true communion.


— Aroha Allen, Youth Worker

Recruiting: Experienced Social Worker

The new year provides new opportunities! Want to work in a flexible, organic, staff and community-friendly agency? Then apply to join Challenge 2000 now to start a new year with a new way of working!

C2K is a professional Social Work and Youth Development agency that provides a wide, dynamic range of services for young people and families in the Wellington Region.

We are now seeking a very experienced social worker to work as part of a Challenge 2000 and college team based in a secondary school in Porirua. This is an exciting new year-long project.

You must be:

  • A qualified and experienced social worker
  • Registered with the SWRB or eligible for registration
  • Able to support Challenge 2000’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and express that commitment via your social and community work practice
  • Committed to and experienced in working with Māori and Pacific communities 
  • Experienced in working with adolescents and their families
  • Committed to a strengths-based approach and empowering young people to achieve their dreams
  • Solution-focused, goal-oriented and a critical thinker
  • Committed to social justice and social transformation
  • An effective communicator
  • Able to work as part of a multi-disciplinary College and community team
  • Able to network and build effective working relationships with other agencies  
  • Keen to develop new ways of supporting youth and families to develop their strengths and create the present and future they desire

Applicants must also have:

  • New Zealand residency or a valid New Zealand work visa
  • A current full clean drivers licence

The salary for this position is negotiable for the right applicant. Come and talk this through if you want a new opportunity to use your knowledge and skills to make a difference.

Applications close Thursday 28th January 2021.

If you’re interested in this exciting new project, please send your CV and covering letter to Kitty McKinley at info@challenge2000.org.nz or call 04 477 6827 to arrange a chat.

Our Vacancies Page

Adventure Camp

A small group of staff and young people recently escaped the hustle and bustle of Wellington and headed up the Whanganui River for a 3-day adventure camp. This is what one of them had to say about the experience:

Due to severe weather the days before the trip, the river water levels were too high for us to take to the water on Day 1. Instead, we stayed on land and cycled the 16km Old Coach Road from Horopito to Ohakune. This historical trail enabled us to see natural bush, old railway tracks, viaducts and tunnels, and travel along sections of the old cobbled roads on which the early train engineers once travelled. We then exchanged shorts and t-shirts and dirt tracks for warmer jackets, trousers and ski fields by paying a visit to the snow at Turoa.

On Day 2, we managed to get on the river by taking a jet boat ride up the Whanganui River to Mangapurua Landing. From here, it was a 30 minute walk to the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’, another historical site dating back over 100 years. Shortly after, we were dropped at our camp site for the evening were we played Frisbee, relaxed, and later played games around a camp fire.

Day 3 was our day on the river. This involved a 4 hour journey in Canadian canoes to Pipiriki, navigating several rapids, river debris, and passing jet boats. It was a superb journey that gave the opportunity to see the natural bush from a different perspective, and the chance to connect and contemplate. We ended our trip by staying in Jerusalem, a small hamlet along the Whanganui River.

All up, the camp was a great experience. It gave us – both staff and young people – the chance to be challenged, to have lots of fun, and to reflect on the important things in life.