Staff Training

On 7th & 8th October, Challenge 2000 staff gathered for a two-day workshop. Both days started with reflection time, sharing of recent experiences and a chance to reconnect with one another. The rest of the Wednesday was then spent working through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a chance for staff to understand themselves and one another a little better.

On Thursday, the focus was on supporting behavior and responding to challenging situations, with input and discussion around the impact of adverse childhood experiences on development of the brain.

Comments from staff about these two days included:

I absolutely loved learning about what myself and others personalities in the Myers Briggs! It has been extremely helpful in learning about how different people approach tasks and how they come up with ideas. I learnt a lot about myself, including what my slightly ‘weaker’ areas are and what skills I should be capitalizing more on.

The work on challenging behaviours was really helpful. It made me stop and think again about the trauma some young people experience and what it does to them. Also, made me grateful for the combined wisdom and experience of our staff who work so lovingly to support young people who are hurting.

I have always enjoyed staff training as it is a great opportunity to spend quality time with the whole Challenge whanau. It was great checking in with each other, especially as there are a lot of people that I had not seen for a while!

Gap Year Placement

Xycacia recently returned from her Gap Year placement in Dunedin. This is what she had to say:

I didn’t really know what to expect when I found out the location of my placement. In fact, I was hoping for a completely different place, especially once I found out that I’d be going alone. Yet being aware of these challenges already, I was open to face them with nothing but an open mind and a strong attitude. Packing my bag was the first challenge. That’s the moment it hits you that you’re about to be separated from a place you’ve known your whole life, filled with friends, family etc. Being surrounded by new people. That was the second challenge. The past three weeks have been nothing but challenges, prepping me for the future and helping me self-improve.

I went from working a register at St Vincent de Paul’s, to participating in a cook-up for Vinnie’s, to helping out at homework club at St Mercy Hospital, to working with a school, to leading a youth group. All of which included social interaction and, being a shy introvert (to say the least!) made it difficult. However, going to Dunedin was without a doubt one of the best things to happen. I learnt that it is okay to trust people. I learnt so much about the history of Dunedin and the Scottish relations and, in a way, I felt my relationship with God became stronger than it ever was. We toured around and got to see some pretty amazing sites, like the Robbie Burns statue (Scottish poet) and seeing the steepest street in the world (Baldwin Street). We went to the peninsula and saw some seals, and we went around Otago University and learnt more about history. Dunedin has shown me parts of myself that sometimes I find hard to face, but the end effect left me with a better and improved self with some pretty great friends too.

Outward Bound!

Each year, Gap Year programme participants go on placement outside Wellington for 3-4 weeks. Last month, Aroha and Tim went to Outward Bound. Aroha describes the experience as follows: 

Thanks to the amazing sponsors who gave me the opportunity to attend Outward Bound. We participated in many activities, including sailing, high ropes, kayaking, co-steering, rock climbing, solo (having to survive in the bush by yourself for three days) and service. Outward Bound gives you the opportunity to look into your future and push yourself towards your dreams, as well working to achieve your small goals. It was a completely new experience which gave me a new perspective on Aotearoa and helped me be more definite about life decisions. In a way, being at Outward Bound has changed my life. – Aroha

New Educator for Taita College

Mat Anderson

One the impacts COVID-19 has had on young people is making the challenge of education even more challenging! Whilst the majority of students have transitioned well back into the school routine, for some it has been harder. As we know, in order to be successful, students need to attend school consistently. Supporting students to remain engaged has been identified as a high priority.

In response to this need, Challenge 2000 has been able to provide one of its partner schools, Taita College, with an experienced educator. Mat Anderson (Ngāti Maniapoto) has been a teacher and senior leader for many years.

Mat is working with a group of students lying beneath the 10 numeracy credit threshold, giving them the skills and confidence to tackle maths assessments that contribute to the credits required to get NCEA. Students have responded well to “Matua”, as they call him, and are enjoying working alongside him and achieving.

Although a different role to what he’s had in the past, Mat is enjoying the chance to work with smaller groups of students in a more focussed way. Some students have even put their hands up to do additional assessments after achieving the mandatory 10 credits. “It’s heartening to see what these young ones are capable of when they believe in themselves.”

Thanks, Mat, for the difference you’re making in the lives of these students.      

Social Workers’ Day 2020

Thank you to all our social workers, social work students and youth and community workers on the work they do to support personal, familial and community transformation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Thank you for the love you show, the skills, knowledge and commitment that you share and the energy and passion that you put into your mahi.

Thank you for the personal sacrifices you make for others, the burdens that you bear and the way that you all show up time and time again to support, heal, redirect, distract, develop and grow belief and hope in others.

Challenge 2000 and our extended whānau are grateful and so proud of the huge contribution you all make to bring about the dream and reality of social justice, social responsibility and personal dignity for all people in our Island nation.

PLEASE show gratitude for our staff and whanau today.

Spread the love! Spread the Justice. Spread the Hope.

Aroha mai – Aroha atu!

Gap Year 2021 Applications Open Now!

Challenge 2000 has a well-established Gap Year and Intern programme that caters for up to eight young people.

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.

It provides an opportunity for recent secondary school and/or university graduates to:

  • Grow personally and professionally
  • Attain a range of life skills
  • Get a wider experience of Aotearoa-New Zealand, its peoples and cultures
  • Gain a qualification in Youth Work
  • Explore and prepare for future careers

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.

Applications for next year’s programme are now open!

Click the link above, or contact us at for more information

Recruiting: Experienced Youth Worker

Challenge 2000 is a Wellington-based youth development agency which has served young people and their families for 32 years. We seek to help young people grow into their best selves through a variety of services and programmes, including education, youth justice, personal mentoring, and leadership development. We have significant contracts with a number of partner agencies.

We are seeking an experienced youth worker to join our team.

Applicants must be:

  • An experienced youth worker
  • Familiar with strengths-based principles
  • Solution-focused and goal-oriented
  • Experienced in working alongside adolescents and their families
  • Familiar with working in justice, education and/or community sectors
  • Able to work collaboratively as part of a team
  • Experienced in working with Māori and Pacific communities
  • An effective communicator, both written and oral
  • Organised, punctual and responsible
  • Able to keep up with case notes, assessments and administrative requirements
  • Willing to learn and develop new skills
  • Willing to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends

Applicants must also have:

  • New Zealand residency or a valid New Zealand work visa
  • A formal qualification relevant to the position
  • A current full clean drivers licence

Salary is negotiable for the right applicant.

Applications close Wednesday 23rd September 2020.

To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to

If you have any questions about the role, please contact Damian Dempsey on 04 477 6827 or via

See our vacancies page here for more information.