Our Stories

A snap shot of our everyday mahi – we are on a powerful journey with our young people

“When I first started at Challenge 2000 in May 2017, I was assigned a 13-year-old young lad who had a zest for life and a tremendous amount of energy to burn. I was briefed on his challenging behaviour however, after spending a couple weeks with him, I knew that our journey together would be an uphill battle due to the complexity of his situation, none of which is his own making. Some of the challenges faced included a volatile home environment, poverty, exclusion from school, coupled with associated mental health issues. A year after I first worked with our young man, I am proud to say that we have managed to achieve some milestone goals that will hopefully pave way for a better future for him. Two of the significant goals worth mentioning are: (1) Oranga Tamariki granting his mum, who had not been in the picture for the last 5 years, a caregiver status – a recognition that his mum is deemed fit to provide a stable environment. (2) Our young man was accepted and had started his new journey at a residential boarding school in Auckland this year, 2018. The weekly report from the school is full of praise for his positive behaviour and outlook on life – he has been achieving his weekly goals with flying colours and the daily routine offered by the school has helped tremendously: an aspect he craved as evident in his new thriving environment.

One of life’s lessons I had to constantly put across to our young man during our daily interaction was that “what cannot break you can only make you stronger” and to “love harder than any pain you’ve ever felt” because at the end of the day we know that “love works” and the transformational change we have seen in this young man is as a result of that – “LOVE WORKS”

– Geoff Rahari, Youth worker 


“I have been working alongside a whanau for almost two years now. I could see such potential in this whanau; they all had such amazing talents and gifts. Unfortunately, there were a number of issues going on for this family including poverty, offending, low attendance at school and lack of engagement in services.

I am pleased to say nearly two years later after long hours of dedicated work and time by a number of Challenge staff in a variety of capacities including mentoring, caregiving, supported bail programmes, camps, whanau social work support and working alongside Oranga Tamariki, this whanau is currently in a stable and positive place. The oldest child is now studying at Whitireia (after years of non-engagement in schooling), the second eldest child is now fully participating in school and extra-curricular activities after being in and out of various Oranga Tamariki placement options, the third is progressing well and is about to engage in mentoring with a youth worker from Challenge 2000 and the youngest child is doing well. The three oldest children have helped step up and support mum with childcare for him.

With the support, education and advice from Challenge 2000 they now set weekly plans and tasks at the beginning of the week, each whanau member knows their role and their responsibilities. They are also more confident in asking for help when it is needed.

The expression “it takes a village to raise a family” is the epitome of this situation. It is also one of the reasons I love working at Challenge, it works holistically and wraps around the whanau to create an environment and network of support that allows everyone to flourish – that is powerful and that is love!”

 – MASSiSS Social Worker


“The end of Term 2 2018 saw Wāhine Toa Girls’ Group launch at Naenae College. Facilitated by social worker Fa’afetai and youth worker Anh-Dao in collaboration with the college, the group is made up of young women who come together once a week to explore various topics relevant to the challenges young people face today. The aims of the group are for the young women to learn more about themselves and the world around them in a safe and supportive space, to develop skills that will assist them with communicating effectively, understand their part to play in healthy relationships, build resilience and empowerment and develop leadership skills.

The first few sessions were team-building focused and also allowed the opportunity for input into what the students would like to explore throughout the programme. The session content was then tailored to suit the needs of Wāhine Toa and has hit the ground running this term.

It’s extremely encouraging to see the unique talent and potential that each young person possesses, but even more so when they start to realise and discover this for themselves. We are looking forward to what the remainder of the programme holds for these gifted young women.”

 – Anh-Dao Pham, Youth Worker at Nae Nae College


Brooke came to Challenge 2000 as a 14 year old girl who had been stood down from mainstream school for violence and was unable to continue at the alternative education school. A full assessment was completed to see how we could best support Brooke to grow and develop, with the overall goal being to return to mainstream school. A core team of three developed and delivered a 9 month programme which focused on anger management, emotion regulation, education, cultural connection, CBT and weekly mentoring. Brooke thrived in this structured environment and she was given plenty of opportunities to practice the skills and strategies provided in her programme. At the end of the 9 month period Brooke had gained enough confidence, strategies and tools to rejoin a mainstream school.

 – Challenge 2000 Social Worker


“The Gateway programme aims to give senior secondary students the opportunity to combine work and study in ways that help them meet the challenges and demands of the 21st century.  It also prepares them to contribute to and participate in a knowledge economy.

The programme aims to bring schools and communities closer through partnerships focused on education and meeting employee and employer needs, along with ensuring the New Zealand economy is strong and supported by young people with the right skills and knowledge.

In 2017 the Gateway programme at Aotea College have been lucky enough to have one of our senior students mentored by Challenge 2000.  Brady was awarded the top Gateway Cup at senior prizegiving.  Challenge 2000 can be proud of their mentoring throughout the year and know that they have made a difference to the career pathway of a young person.”

– Anne Taylor, Gateway Co-ordinator, Aotea College