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.
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.
Here at Challenge 2000, life is as busy as ever. However, we’ve found time to: enter a float in the Johnsonville Christmas parade; host a celebration for friends and partner agencies; run a Christmas-themed holiday programme for children.
It’s been a hard year for many. We hope that Christmas brings some joy and hope, but acknowledge that 2021 will likely be a challenging year, too. Here at Challenge 2000, we’re always up for a challenge! Thanks to all of you who support and make our service of young people and families possible. We wish you all a blessed Christmas!
For a fuller description of what we’ve been up to during 2020, please click here to download our Christmas newsletter, or read below.
On Sunday 6th December, Challenge 2000 celebrated its Gap Year Graduation.
The Marist-Challenge 2000 Gap Year is a programme of intensive personal and professional development. Each year, it enables up to eight young people the chance to grow in self-knowledge, get a broader experience of life, study, and prepare for their future careers.
The 2020 Gap Year was – like just about everything else on the planet! – impacted by COVID-19. During lock-down, the programme had to become an on-line experience. However, the group carried on and has now crossed the finish line.
During their graduation speeches, the Gappies thanked those who had supported them throughout the programme: Challenge 2000 staff and volunteers, the Society of Mary, their families, and those they met on work and community placements.
Challenge 2000, in turn, thanks this year’s Gappies for their contribution to our mission. We wish you well as you take another step into your bright futures!
During the recent school holidays, 18 students from Taita, Naenae, Porirua, and Aotea College took part in a holiday programme with their respective Challenge 2000 school Social/Youth workers.
The day started with a visit to Stockdale Farm in Pauatahanui, hosted by Heather Kauri and her whanau. At the farm, the students were able to come up close and personal with sheep, donkeys, miniature horses, ducks, chickens, peacocks, pigs and a baby possum.
All of the animals residing at Stockdale are “rescue” animals, so they all have their own story, like the orphaned baby possum Pete that was found by the roadside one dark night, and Angelica the lamb who lost one of her legs as a result of a scuffle with a horse.
After a tour of the farm and its inhabitants, the students were split into teams for a miniature horse-led relay, with the added – and messy – bonus of trying to find a sweet in a plate full of icing sugar without using hands at the end. (Hint – do not laugh when trying to find the sweet!)
After a leisurely lunch in the sun, the group made their way to the Monterey Cinema in Upper Hutt to watch “Four Kids and It”, a tale of caution around being careful what you wish for. Obligatory movie viewing popcorn and ice-cream was included.
The day ended in the late afternoon, with several participants falling asleep on the ride home and all very thankful for the experience.
Thank you to the Challenge 2000 staff, to Stockdale Farm and the Nikau Foundation, without whom this day of connection, learning and fun would not have been possible.
Here at Challenge 2000, we regard it as a privilege and a blessing to work with young people and families.
It’s a joy to see others discover and develop their gifts and their goodness. For example, the young person regarded as a ‘dangerous problem’ who generously helps us mow an elderly person’s lawns. Or ‘the truant’ who helps us prepare a food parcel for a family whose parents have lost their jobs. Or the school prefect who gives of her time to help run a holiday programme.
A big “thanks!” to those of you who support this and so much other good work.
If you’re able to, please visit our givealittle page for our virtual Street Day Appeal this Thursday 26th November. Your generosity and kindness is much appreciated!