Christmas Action – donations for hampers!

On Sunday 23rd of December we will be delivering 120 hampers filled with fresh produce, meat, and gifts that our children and young people really need and will enjoy. If you would like to sponsor a young person or family and make a direct difference, then please donate by selecting an item off the tree. The trees represent the Christmas wish list for our families. ‘Tis the season of joy and giving. If you would like to donate for us to purchase on your behalf please reference “Xmas action” 01 – 0519 – 0057660 – 00 💜🎁Donations can be dropped off to our premises at 1 Wanaka Street Johnsonville or call Megan on 044776827 and we will come and collect them!


Wellington Heritage Week – Glenside


World War One – The Home Front

Various Times Wednesday 25 to Sunday 28 October
Bring your family and friends along to experience various events at the Historic Halfway House in Glenside.

The events includes festivities of songs, drama, show and tell of historic memorabilia, picnic lunch, games for children, NZ World War songs, and a chance to have a go at traditional spinning and hand knitting.

First World War poetry readings – 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm Wednesday 24 & Friday 26 October

WW1 Poetry reading


WW1 Poetry reading

Come join us at The Halfway House, together we will read, reflect and enjoy poetry from the First World War.

Bring your favourite poem to read aloud or enjoy some of our favourites including Katherine Mansfield’s ode “To L. H. B. (1894-1915 )”.




Spinners and Knitters- 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Saturday 27 October.

Traditional spinning and hand knitting by women of the Onslow Fibrecraft Guild and Tawa Fibrecrafts. Honouring the women and school children who knitted scarves and socks for the troops at war. Have a go at spinning and/or knitting. Handcrafts for sale. Free entry. Cup of tea and Anzac biscuit available (koha/donation to cover costs).

A Peace Celebration – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Sunday 28th October.

Stories, song and drama about life on the home front during the War. Free entry. Old style children’s games. First World War sing-along; “Show and tell” your WWI memorabilia; Heritage Gardeners plant stall. Twigland Gardeners World – pot up an heirloom tomato. Historic house tours (koha/donation entry). Food and drinks of the WWI era available to purchase.

For more information Click here
Free Entry / Koha Welcome. No booking is required.


HopeWalk 2018

HopeWalk Wellington 2018 suicide awareness and prevention walk is a free event hosted by Samaritans Wellington.

The aim of HopeWalk Wellington 2018 is to raise awareness of the devastating effect suicide has on families in our community and to raise awareness of suicide prevention support available. Last year 668 people in NZ died by suicide. It’s time to take a stand. No one person or group has the solution to suicide prevention, but we are #StrongerTogether.

This year, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, join us at HopeWalk Wellington. The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this year is “Let nature in – strengthen your well-being.” What better way to strengthen your well-being than by getting together with family and friends, wearing yellow (the colour of hope) and joining the HopeWalk march to raise awareness for suicide prevention in the beautiful natural setting of the Wellington Botanic Gardens.

Criminal Justice Summit

Challenge 2000 is playing a part in the Government’s review of New Zealand’s criminal justice system.

Staff members Tina Wilkins, Damian Dempsey and Heath Hutton attended the Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata summit held 20th-22nd August in Wellington. Politicians, academics, activists, and dozens of frontline workers discussed various issues pertaining to the complex task of trying to make New Zealand a safer and more just society for all its citizens.

Recurring themes throughout the summit included:

  • The challenges involved in ensuring the well-being of children e.g. domestic violence; drugs and alcohol
  • The relative success of our youth justice system vs. the abject failure of our adult system
  • The tragedy of health issues (e.g. mental health; addiction) becoming criminal issues
  • The enduring legacy of colonialisation

It was heartening to hear an experienced District Court advocate for more community-based sentencing options, the likes of which we here at Challenge 2000 have been offering with pleasing results.

There was also a strong call for the development of a strategy by Māori, for Māori. Several speakers noted that devolution of resources to hapū and iwi is badly needed if we are to create a criminal justice system that is both fairer and more effective.

For those interested, there are a number of resources – mostly articles and published research – on the website

Festival for the Future

In the last weekend of July, six young people from Challenge attended Festival for the Future. Festival for the Future is a conference held every year which gathers young people from all around New Zealand for a weekend exploring what the future will look like, the issues which may arise and ways of combatting these issues. The festival was based on the waterfront, and each day started with a panel of speakers at TSB arena. This was followed by workshops and panels delivered by leaders from within New Zealand, and were held at different locations on the waterfront such as Macs Brewbar and the Wharewaka. A wide range of topics were covered during the weekend including housing accessibility, child poverty, mental health and environmental sustainability. The panels offered a chance for listeners to gain deeper insight into these issues including their causes and implications. The workshops were more interactive, and allowed attendees to develop skills to help them in their attempts to tackle the problems facing the future. Overall the festival was a fantastic experience and everyone came away inspired. We would especially like to thank Oranga Tamariki for their huge support over the weekend. –

– Gabrielle Lawson

The Caux Journey

One of our gap participants, Fiona, has just returned from Switzerland. Read on to hear about her journey.

“I was fortunate enough to have opportunity to attend the Caux Peace and Leadership Program earlier this month in Caux, Switzerland. Nestled high in the Swiss mountains lies a Palace where true magic happens. Imagine spending one month completely free of worries and concerns. One month where every moment, every opportunity for dialogue and discussion leaves you completely in awe of the potential we have as humans to build cohesive societies when given the space to do so.

The Caux Forum run by the organisation Initiatives Of Change is a series of conferences and programs run every summer bringing together people from all over the globe with the aim to empower and equip participants with tools to build trust across cultural, religious, political and economic divides. Born after WWII where citizens of a war-torn Europe wanted to create a safe space for reconciliation this network has spread all over the world aiming to build common ground across divides and thus a more just, peaceful, sustainable world.

The experience completely blew me away. Not for the fact that each day was filled attending training sessions, keeping the conference centre running as well having time for self-reflection. The biggest takeaway is of all the people I met and got to know. 40+ countries were represented amongst the 80 young people on my program. Each of us with our own story coming together to contribute ideas, experiences and for all our differences creating a global family of love, respect, trust and honesty toward another. After 30 days together I can safely say each and every person had wormed their way into my heart and given me so much hope for humanity. I am so grateful for this experience and opportunity to represent our small nation on the world stage. I will remember it for many years to come”

Frank Bird visits Challenge 2000

Frank Bird, a NZ priest who heads up the Marist Asia Foundation in Ranong, Thailand, visited Challenge 2000 on Tuesday 28th August. Frank shared about the Marist work among Burmese migrants, focusing on the role education plays in giving hope for a future other than a life of virtual slavery.

Xavier, a Bishop Viard College student who listened to Frank’s presentation wrote an insightful summary, which included the following: “Father helps run a school near the border. He showed us a short video clip about how happy the kids were as they entered the school and how happy they were to be at the school. The students love being at school and to wear their school uniform every day.

From this experience I have learnt to appreciate life more and that there are a lot of people suffering. I take my life for granted every day and one day I hope to have a positive effect on the world in my own way. Father has opened my eyes to the world and for that I am thankful. Even though I am aware of these issues, I have never looked into them deeply. These people live in a world of despair but organizations like the Marist Asia Foundation give me and these people hope for a better world.”

Interfaith youth forum – Saturday 28 July 2018

The youth forum on Saturday 28th July was for the large part blessed with the attendance of the older interfaith community. It started with a number of interfaith (and international) prayers, including some by video from Afghanistan, Armenia, India and Tibet.

The keynote guest was Her Excellency Vuyiswa Tulelo, High Commissioner of South Africa, who set the tone for the forum in very subversive but affirming/fortifying way. She shared very intimately about her own reality, her undiplomatic approach to a career in diplomacy, and to single parenthood, within the context of which she trains both her daughter and her son as feminists. She shared the importance of faith in her own life, and the knowledge that she is cared for and provided for by God, through angels in the form of the people around her.

Joy Dunsheath then introduced us to the sustainable development goals, before we were guided through the He Tohu exhibition, with the whakahaere of Watene and Romany at the National Library.

After lunch we sat back to enjoy the show, with four impressive young women debating the motion, “That we support the rise of online petitioning”. Adjudicators Chris Lahatte and Lagi Tuimavave announced the affirmative as the winning team, and cited the argument “that online and in-person petitioning are not mutually exclusive” as the winning argument.

The juxtaposition of such an adversarial mode of engagement in the context of an interfaith forum was a very interesting, and also useful point of reference, and it reminded us of the nature and value of the dialogue by which we are called to communicate with each other across faith divides. It also cast light on some interesting ideas, around human goodness and the capacity to cause harm, and how best to deal with that. This came up again yesterday in terms of diversity and hate speech, and whether sunlight is the best disinfectant, or whether it is better not to give oxygen to that which is harmful.

In terms of two alternatives not being mutually exclusive, I am wary of this argument, which is a popular one used in support of bills proposed, against any opposition. It strikes me that we live in a finite world of limited time and resources, and an interconnected world of interpersonal relationships. Rights and freedoms do not exist within a vacuum, and the provision for something on the one hand inevitably carries a consequence for that on the other. This is reason, I think, to approach contemporary issues with awareness, patience, sensitivity and compassion.

In the afternoon session the youth gathered by themselves, and we looked more explicitly at some of these contemporary issues, in light of the three themes or aspirations of the forum: global citizenship, gender equality and sustainable development.

We looked at the famous and devastating photo of the starving child and vulture in Sudan, for which Kevin Carter received the Pulitzer Prize, as well as vitriolic criticism, before ultimately committing suicide. We considered the extent to which such unbearable and unbelievable realities of injustice and violence are manifestations of our very human need for meaning, belonging and fulfillment, and our capacity for compulsive, exclusive and destructive action on the basis of these needs.

Finally we broke up into three groups to consider the three ideals, and how we might move towards them. In terms of global citizenship, the feedback pointed to encounter, communication (as a two way exchange) and commitment.

In terms of gender equality, the feedback pointed to celebrating achievement but persisting with the further necessary progress and improvement; acknowledging the positive but calling out the negative for what it is; asserting the rights and dignity of women, but investing in forming men as feminists as well. It also pointed to a broadening of definitions and understanding of gender, in favour of acceptance and love.

In terms of sustainable development, the feedback pointed to starting small, and being conscious of the decisions that we make, the actions that we take, and their consequences; and learning – with sensitivity and compassion – from our mistakes. It also pointed to a reverence for the earth.

A famous moral story in the Christian tradition is that of the Good Samaritan, by which we are called to identify the other in need as our neighbour, and to so respond to their needs. The dialogue that came out of the youth forum makes me think that the call to be a Good Samaritan is actually a call to be a Good Global Citizen – a global, gender equal and sustainable citizen. And that is no easy task.

Now, I am pretty confident that if I were walking down an unsealed road, and came across a beaten traveller, I would have the wherewithal and conscience to respond accordingly. But the call of the Good Global Citizen – and perhaps this is the point of the Good Samaritan after all – is to respond to that person in need even when the constraints of our communities or the pressures of our practical realities tell us not to. The call is, also, not only to respond to the needs of the person who has been beaten, or labeled a loser or outsider, but to engage with and respond to the needs of those who have inflicted injury, and those who have ignored it. Finally, the call is also to transform the road or the environment, and do so lovingly, so as to prevent future harm and suffering.

My sense is that this is exactly what we were doing on Saturday, at the Youth Forum, and again yesterday. My sense is also that this call is not only in the interest of the other, but also of ourselves. It is good for us to do this work, and it is good for us to do so together. So I am deeply grateful for this encounter and experience, and grateful in the anticipation that it will continue.

– Daniel Kleinsman


Introduction to Odyssey 2018

Odyssey is a youth programme led by Challenge 2000 Staff and young people. The programme is aimed at providing leadership and faith development, as well as providing the Sacraments for those who may have missed out. In the second week of the Odyssey, we focused on the importance of trust. We began with some fun games to break the ice in the group. This was followed by an introduction to what trust is, how we gain it and how we use it in our everyday lives without even knowing. The group was then relaxed by a quick meditation exercise.

The blindfold walk!

The big group was then split into 3 different groups where we discussed in small groups who we trusted the most in our lives and why. The way it was done made it closer and more intimate, it was also a great way for our young people to bond more closely. One of the more popular activities was the blindfold walk. Here, participants were blindfolded and guided to a destination by their partner. Trust was a key aspect in the blindfold walk as the blindfolded young person had to put their faith in the directions given to them by their partner.

The trust fall..

The final activity was a trust fall, however, instead of just backwards, it was both back and forth! The person falling would fall back and then be pushed back and forth between partners. The trust fall activity saw to much joy and laughter from all the young people. The session was wrapped up with some feedback from the participants on what they had learnt and picked up from the night’s activities. Food was of course provided before the young people departed. This was a nice way for newly found friends to farewell each other and look forward to their next meeting.


By Aaron Itinteang, Odyssey Leader