A Day in the life of the Challenge 2000 Food Distribution Centre Coordinator

Kerry, our Food Distribution Centre Coordinator, writes about a typical COVID-19 lockdown day:

“Yesterday started with administrative tasks relating to my normal job as a college social worker. I then met with the Food Distribution Team via Zoom.
Following up on the meeting, I e-mailed some polite requests for donations before heading off to Moore Wilsons to purchase some staple supplies. Thank goodness I didn’t have to wait in line too long!
Arriving back at headquarters, our ‘admin. Extraordinaire’ Anya had the list for parcels to be made up which my faithful side-kick Anne and I started working through.

Next thing, a delivery of rice arrived… Anne and I helped Felise (the muscle of the team) and Jeff unload two pellets of 20kg sacks…and sacks…and sacks of rice, which we stacked in the Parish Hall.
Then, out to deliver some of the food parcels. I use the classic “drop, knock and run” method of delivery, which inevitably results in the recipient answering the door when I am half-way back to my car “bubble”. The genuine gratitude expressed – both for the kai, and for the “visit” – is profound.

I, too, leave with my heart over-flowing with gratitude. I am very thankful to be part of the Challenge 2000 whānau, which reaches out to the vulnerable in our community every day, but especially so during this uncertain and unprecedented time.”

New Zealand Teddy Bears’ Viewpoint

Many of our Challenge young people are scattered throughout Aotearoa New Zealand during this lockdown.

As part of their study or Youth work papers they have written a story of the Bears they have seen in windows from the bears perspective…

Kevin from Glenn Innes


Hello my name is Kevin but I am no average human, in fact I am only a small teddy bear. I have a very loving family and my favorite human Sarah has always taken care of and played with me. But one day I was suddenly placed by the window at the front of my home and left there for days on end. There wasn’t very many people or cars out which I felt was a bit weird but as I’m just a bear I didn’t understand the reasoning behind this. I was very confused not just about why I didn’t see many people but why Sarah placed me here in the first place. But as each day went by I started noticing children walking out and about with their parents and they were always pointing towards me and some took photos. I felt I should pose or smile but then I remember that I am just a plush toy and it would be very scary to children if they saw me move on my own. I don’t know why they take photos but it seems to bring great joy to them every time they spot me. I felt lonely at first and thought my human didn’t want to play with me anymore. But I now realize there must be a something big going on in the outside world. It is not normal for me to see people wearing something that’s covering their hands and mouth all the time. I realize that people may be placing bears like me on windows as a treat for children to see and spot, maybe even like a treasure hunt for them. Now I look forward to each new day and being able to see the smiling faces of children and their parents, makes me one very happy bear.

– From Charlotte

A message from Mr Waddle in Petone

Mr Waddle

For a long time I was sitting in a box in a garage. I thought I would be there forever left to collect dust, forgotten by my grown up family. What I didn’t expect, was suddenly to be taken out, dusted down and put on a shelf with a view of the street. I was able to see the people walking by on their morning stroll or evening stroll. I could see all the baking and cooking that my family does in this very garage. I could see them experimenting experiment with the different ingredients and laughing together and tasting the food. I can see it all and it makes me happy. Though I wish I could smell it too!

I get to see the different activities that take place in my street. The workout sessions, the music sessions, the family prayer time. I like seeing their game nights, I enjoy seeing everything. There is a whole world that I didn’t ever see before.

I guess I’m quite happy where I am sitting now. I’m happy with the things that I get to look at. I am happy that even in this lock down, this family has found a way to keep themselves busy. I’m happy that people notice and wave out to me even though I don’t really qualify for a bear hunt. So yeah, I’m happy to be part of a new and different world.

– From Cassidy

Ene from Upper Hutt


I remember a time when the streets were once coloured with noise. Cars passing, workers working, people conversing and the boys in blue zooming past with their sirens. I remember when people would stop to chat with each other, when friends would hang out with each other and when families would come over just to be with each other. Now, it seems as if they are afraid to even be in the same room as one another. People wearing masks, as if scared to breathe the air of someone else. Families talking through the metal gate that separates one land from the other. From morning to noon I would find enjoyment in counting each of the colourful machines that would streak past, but it was if one day that changed. My attention was newly placed and instead I looked forward to the few families that would still traipse past my window with the smaller versions of themselves. Shouts of excitement and delight filled the silent roads as the tiny people met eyes with me through the glass barrier that divided us, lifting their arms and pointing right at me. “Look dad a Teddy Bear!” the families’ faces lit up with wide smiles spreading across their faces conferring with one another and all their attention on me. They stayed a couple more seconds, smiles not yet faltering from their face before continuing on with their walk. More and more families would pass each one filled with glee. There was still a hint of fear that people held, but it is as if seeing me makes them forget because what once made them afraid, is soon vanished from memory and happiness takes over instead. The day soon turns into night, as I lay on the window sill staring out into the starry sky waiting for the sun to rise once again. The thought of the making more people smile the next day being my only thought.

– From Xycacia

Eru and Iti from Johnsonville

Eru and Iti

It’s so quiet here now. No noise comes up from the gorge. No planes roar across the sky. No motorbikes booting it past our house. To start with the silence was a bit scary. It was like the world had stopped. Had everyone except our family died or something. Maybe its like a horror movie and we are the only ones left alive. We were pleased there was two of us.

Then we heard the sound of birds. Different songs that we had never heard before. We could hear the trees blowing and even once I am sure I heard a leaf falling on the ground. Iti said I was making it up. But I wasn’t. Then children would rush and point us out to their mums when they walked past. It’s been a long time now and we have given those children names. Kate, Mere, T, Chrissy, Matt, Sio and Abby. Every day they walk past and wave and laugh. They seem really happy. We are really happy to know them. Just sitting out here we have made new friends. We don’t even try hard. We can just sit and be. Bears like that.

– From Wiremu

COVID-19 Response

Greetings to friends and supporters of Challenge 2000!

We wish you peace and good health during this difficult time as our country unites against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Challenge 2000 has been deemed an essential service by the government, so, whilst taking all possible precautions, we are continuing to engage with highly at-risk young people and their families.

We are fortunate to have such wonderfully dedicated staff who, each in their own way, is contributing to our mission of service. We are also blessed to have the support of generous benefactors who have donated money and goods this past week which we have distributed to families in need. These amazing acts of kindness include:

  • a government Department donated all the milk from staff fridges throughout their building
  • Nada Bakery in Tawa donated bread and cakes
  • a very generous benefactor provided a large donation so we could buy food and supplies for struggling families
  • another friend paid for airfares to get young people back to members of their whanau
  • an artistic ex staff member who is quarantined after arriving home from overseas is painting and donating the proceeds to our emergency supplies.

All these acts of kindness and generosity have helped our young people and families and also kept the morale of our staff and volunteers up. And as all of us know our struggles are just beginning. Here at Challenge we know that we can and will get through this together. We are the best little country in the world with a strong family.

We are better off together. He waka eke noa

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”
– Margaret Mead

If you would like to make a contribution towards Challenge 2000’s work among the neediest young people and families in our community, please click here or donate to:

Challenge 2000: 01-0519-0057660-00 

Way to go the ‘Canes!

Another great partnership event with the Hurricanes Rugby Franchise.

Twenty young people were able to support our Mighty Hurricanes in a win against the Sharks on Saturday the 15th!!! Way to go the Canes!!

We support you and we look forward to the next few games where we can again provide support in the Guard of Honor!

Appearance before the Finance and Expenditure Committee

The Budget Policy Statement 2020

Sophie and Steve representing Challenge 2000 before the Finance and Expenditure Committee

On Wednesday 12 February 2020 at 8.55am a Challenge 2000 delegation appeared before the Parliamentary Finance and Expenditure Committee.

The team made verbal submission on the Budget Policy Statement 2020. This document outlines the Governments priorities for the upcoming and immanent 2020 Budget.

The members of the delegation were: Tina Wilkins, leadership team member; Steve O’Connor, management team; and Sophie Jennings, a social worker.

The theme of the Challenge 2000 submission was advocating a 2020 Budget focus on increasing social justice, by encouraging expenditure on policies that assist beneficiaries, because they are one of the most the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups in New Zealand.

To this end the delegation recommended that the budget should firstly immediately focus on raising basic benefits rates and then on reforming the Welfare system to ensure it enhances the mana and dignity of all.

Sophie presented a case study illustrating the difficulties a family have feeding their children adequately or providing basics on the current level of benefits. The case study also provided an exemplar of excellent customer service from the Naenae MSD office Lower Hutt.

The committee members responded enthusiastically to the Challenge presentation. At the introduction, which created engagement and laughter, one opposition member shouted, “Give them what they want”.

At the end, the committee chair thanked the Challenge 2000 delegation, also, a government committee member provided positive feedback, saying, “Good submission, kept us focused on the needs of low income groups and continued the morning theme, that welfare payments are simply not enough. Good relaxed, informal style and will be remembered.”

Steve and Sophie Represent

Steve and Sophie have just come from presenting an important kaupapa to the Select Committee this morning.

The kaupapa is to investigate raising benefits and further look into the culture of WINZ, to enhance the mana of all.

They both did wonderfully. He tino nui te aroha ki a Korua!

Youth Event 2020

Friends! | Free Food! | Fun!

Are you in first, second or third year of University, or a Year 12 or 13 student?

Are you interested in youth work, social work or supporting young people?

Are you interested in helping out Challenge 2000?

Challenge Youth Event 2020

Then come along to our first Youth Event of 2020 to find out more.

Don’t forget your togs…