Challenge 2000 Street Day Appeal


We are holding our annual Street Day Appeal on Thursday 14th November. If you are willing and able to help us, please get in touch. Or, aside from the appeal, you might like to consider:

  • Volunteering
  • Emailing your friends/business colleagues/family members asking them to support our work
  • Praying for young people who are struggling and those who journey with them
  • Donating directly

Contact Anne Harlow or John Robinson on 04 477 6827 or email

Your help is greatly appreciated!

Gap Year 2020 Applications Open Now!

This year’s Gap Year is shaping up to be one of the biggest and best yet!

Since 2007 the Society of Mary and Challenge 2000 have offered a full time gap year programme based in Wellington. Each year, eight young people accept the challenge to say “yes” and spend a year at Challenge 2000 developing, growing and serving others in our community.

In 2018, an internship was also integrated to the programme, this gives young people who have recently graduated or about to graduate an opportunity to gain work experience and prepare themselves for the workforce.

If you are under 20 years of age and want more life experience, an opportunity to serve and to be part of a positive active community, then contact us and apply for our Gap Year.
Each year, there are only 8 places available for gap students and interns.



Creation Liturgy & Pet Parade

This Friday 4th October is St Francis of Assisi Feast day.

St Francis of Assisi Ohariu parish invites you to a Creation Liturgy at SS Peter and Paul Church, 3pm at 37 Dr Taylor Terrace, Johnsonville.

Following the liturgy we will be having a Pet Parade so bring along your pets for a blessing or wear an animal onesie! We’ll see you there!

Planting Hope at Challenge 2000

World Suicide Prevention Day

On September 10th, members of the Challenge whānau, joined together to commemorate World suicide prevention day. A small group of staff organised the event and invited family, friends and staff who had been changed by the effects of suicide in recent years.

The organising group chose to plant three trees as a focus of hope, growth and shelter. All our whānau met, Harley lead karakia and Kitty spoke of the dignity and importance of each and every person and how we all had an essential mission in life to love others and to support each other. Then our missions team lead the planting and each person touched the trees, giving a blessing , remembering the losses and committing to be people of hope and love. It was a very moving and special time.

Read below for comments from our whānau.

Sara – Gap Year Student
In September the Challenge whānau marked international suicide awareness and prevention week. To me Suicide awareness is about making an active effort to normalise discussions around suicide and take away the stigma we have around suicide in Aotearoa. Support from people who care, connection with one’s sense of culture, purpose and identity all play huge roles in suicide prevention. It is a discussion with the aim of understanding and hope that – Things will get better and it all starts with the first korero.
At Challenge we chose this week as an opportunity to celebrate life. Three trees were planted to commemorate and show love to those that have been lost in our community. These trees also signify hope and a better future for our families and communities. Following this was a chance for every-one to sing waiata and have a chat to one another with tea and kai.  Suicide awareness week is a great place to begin to get the conversations going, however, it is important to remember that we need to have these conversations not just this week – but every week.

Mapihi – Youth Worker
It was so special to have a time where our whānau and friends could come together and Be. I felt unified, loved, graced and just really appreciated every single person that came.

Heath – Intern Psychologist
When we gathered together it was difficult sitting in the same place where my late friend lay the year before. Being together made it a bit easier. It made me think that we need to take the opportunities to remind each other how much we value each other and show our interest in each other’s life.

Viv – Youth Services Manager
I was appreciative and grateful to be a part of planting hope. The sincerity of those who turned up from our wider whanau was moving and showed me how much we love and cared for those who we lost. One word sums it up: Serenity – a state of being calm and peaceful.

Planting Hope

In honour of world suicide prevention day on Tuesday 10th September we are having a whanau gathering at Challenge 2000 at 5pm.

Please wear something KOWHAI YELLOW if possible as this is the ribbon colour for youth suicide.

During the gathering we will plant 3 trees to represent those who have passed on and to symbolise PLANTING HOPE! The floor is open to those who wish to say, sing, read, express something. Whai muri tena!

Following that we will wrap up with a afternoon cuppa tea and biscuits!

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!