Gap Graduation 2014

On December 7th the Marist Challenge 2000 Gap Year finished with a packed graduation ceremony at St Joseph’s Mount Victoria. It was a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Gap Year students and acknowledge all those who have assisted them in their journey this year. They all shared about their year including where they had been on work placements and what they had learnt, the impact on them of the huge range of experiences they had had, the many influential people they had met, the challenges that they had overcome, and the plans they have for 2015 and beyond. It was a privilege to be able to see and hear the impact the Gap Year has had on these young people. Proud families also acknowledged the development in their young people.

Throughout the graduation there was a common theme of gratefulness – for all of the people and organisations within our communities that have supported the Gap Year students and allowed them to grow into who they are today. In particular the Society of Mary has provided a lot of support to the programme in many different ways – the Gap participants and showed their real appreciation of this in their speeches.

Gap Grad 2014


What is the Gap Year?

The Gap Year programme involves holistic formation, NZQA youth work training, work placements, experiences, and local and international travel. The Gap Year offers the chance to develop the social, spiritual, intellectual, employment, well-being and physical elements that are required for a positive, successful and balanced life.

Participants access the extras that help you on life’s journey: driver’s licence, first aid certificate, technology training and as they receive a training allowance – it’s a chance to budget and manage $$$$ as well. As well as the individual chance to grow, discover and learn there is also a strong group/community focus – 8 young people all open to what life offers and ready to work together! Already 40 young people from New Zealand and overseas have accepted this invitation and graduated from the programme – well done!

Applications are now closed for the 2015 programme. If you would like to support the Gap programme in any other way or for information about 2016 please contact Kitty McKinley on the details below:

Phone: (04) 477 6827 or (04) 477 0045


Or Check out the Marist website

Gap students reflect on the year…

During my Gap Year, time has flown and I’ve done so much! At the beginning I was unsure of where I wanted to go in life, having just completed an exchange program over in France had left a lot of questions about what I thirsted for in life. Some of the things I have been involved in are; our youth programme at Newlands Community Centre, being a volunteer at IDEA services and L’arche in Kapiti and being a teacher aide at San Antonio Primary school, Eastbourne. These placements have helped me to widen my gaze to the needs of the community and where I want to go in life.

At Newlands Community Centre, I have helped to facilitate programs for young people, for example; cooking classes, so the young people could learn basic skills that they would be able to take home and replicate. Spending time with the young people there has taught me the importance of support. There is a definite need in young people to have role models and I learnt  that I could be one of those people, even though we only have two hours after school three days a week. All of the young people have different qualities, which makes our Newlands Community Centre youth programme  a diverse and interesting group of young people and I am glad I have been able to see them grow over the year. ~ Anya ~
Anya at Newlands

Where to start with my journey on this Gap Year programme! It’s crazy to think that last year I had not participated in any Challenge progammes, or met any of the awesome people who work here and participate in the youth programmes. Challenge is like one enormous family and is a home away from home. This year I’ve experienced many great things – for instance, a camp where we went lugeing, water rafting, and bungy jumping. The experiences over this year have challenged me and made me face some of my fears. Also during this year I’ve participated in different activities like teacher aiding, working towards a youth work certificate, meeting and walking alongside clients, support work at a kindergarten, and helping with lots of our different missions.

As part of this Gap Year we all get sent on a month long placement to further challenge ourselves on our journey to finding out who we are as a person. I am beginning my journey in New Zealand for two weeks and then for the last two weeks I will be heading to the sunny shores of Samoa. I will learn about a culture that is different to mine, whilst also getting hands on experience in challenging situations. This Gap Year programme is the greatest thing I have ever done and it has only been made possible by the continual support the Society of Mary, who support this programme, my Challenge whanau and my friends in the gap year programme~ Damien ~

Water Rafting

This time last year I was told about the Gap Year, what it has involved and some of the many things that I could get to try out and experience.

So I said yes to taking up the Challenge. I still wasn’t quite sure what I got myself into. But after my first day I knew that I had made the right decision and that this year was going to be one that I wouldn’t regret.

It didn’t take us long to get into the swing of things and to see how the day to day life at Challenge 2000 worked. On our second week on the programme all the Gap students went away for the week and did many different things. I went up to the Hawke’s Bay and helped up there. That was when I knew that I would be travelling a lot and get pretty used to the road between Wellington and Napier. Since then I have been up there to help with masses, help lead retreats and go on a Youth Development camp, but most importantly support for Luke and Manisha with the work that they do up there.

Other things that I have been doing throughout the year is working with young people, completing my youth work certificate, being a teacher aide at a kindergarten and doing reception work at Catholic Social Services. I have had some inspiring talks by some amazing different people.

Most importantly, I have become more confident within myself, learnt more about myself, and grown more as a person. Over the coming 3 months I look forward to our month placements away where I will be spending 2 weeks somewhere in New Zealand and the other 2 weeks over in Samoa. Overall I have really enjoyed the Gap Year of and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about themselves, grow as a person, meet some amazing people, and have fun. ~ Courtney ~

Childrens day fun

Gap Students



Challenge 2000 in partnership with the Society of Mary

introduce the Gap Year 2013!


Gaps 2013

Back Row (L-R):  Jacob Bang; Hakaraia Jacobs; Damien Don; Junior Seumanufagai

Front Row (L-R):  Courtney Halliday; Siata Apolo;  Anya Hodge; Anna Hoskins


What is this Gap year? It is a one year programme that involves holistic formation, NZQA youth work training, work placements, experiences, and local and international travel. The Gap Year offers the chance to develop the social, spiritual, intellectual, employment, well-being and physical elements that are required for a positive, successful and balanced life. You can also gain some extras to get you ready including your drivers license, first-aid certificate, and technology training!

If you require any information about the Marist Challenge 2000 Gap Programme please call Heath Hutton at Challenge 2000 on (04) 477 0045, or 027 329 3270. Or you can email us at


The Gap Year 2013 began on Monday 11 February at midday with a powhiri to welcome our new Gap students. There were a lot of nervous faces but the young people and family member presented themselves strongly, with an impressive speech from Hakaraia and a waiata: “Ka Waiata”. Following the powhiri, everyone gathered into the front room to witness the unveiling of the new names that have been carved into the Challenge 2000 carving depicting its whakapapa. Those who had their names added to the carving had been invited to be part of the unveiling and it was great to see the mix of old and new faces.

The first week was a mixture of induction, introduction, fun, team building, familiarisation and education about codes of conduct, boundaries and just getting to know the who, what, when, why and how.


The First 5 Weeks!

Since the powhiri for the Gap students they have been well and truly immersed in the life and challenges of the Challenge Whanau.

Gap participants have already:

  • assisted with after school programmes
  • participated in a camp for young people
  • cleaned up and tidied home and sections
  • sung at events
  • helped with community street day appeal
  • planned and facilitated a Childrens Day event
  • learnt how to work on retreats in Gisborne
  • shifted an office or two
  • completed a First Aid Course
  • played sport with young people
  • acted in a drama
  • begun their Youth Work Certificates
  • mentored and tutored
  • learnt and been on a retreat
  • catered and provided hospitality
  • made posters, painted and sculpted!

Plus lots more!!

If you would like to know more about how to support the Gap programme, sponsor a participant or have a “gappie” help your work, then contact Heath Hutton on (04) 477 0045








Gap Year Graduation……and an exciting new year ahead!



If you have been watching our website this year, you would have caught up on all the Gap Year happenings!  They have been overseas, they have travelled around the country, they have had experiences that they never would have expected and all of them say that they feel that they have grown, been challenged and learned a great deal.  Most of all they have given a year of their lives to make a difference in the world.

The Gap Year Graduation took place in early December at Patrick’s College in Kilbirnie….each student talked about their year.  These were funny, inspiring, very moving testimonies of their growth during the year.

We are all proud of the Gap graduates and look forward to seeing where the next step takes them!

If you are interested in being part of the Gap Year in 2012 please contact Kitty on 021 491 459 or


GAP YEAR 2011!


In 2011 Challenge 2000 and the Society of Mary are again offering a Gap Year programme for young people in between College and their next step – work, study, or uni. This full time project involves NZQA training, work experience and placement in a community agency that supports participants career aspirations and future realities. During the Gap Year participants will build up each of the elements required for a balanced life: Work, Social, Personal, Spiritual, Intellectual and Physical dimensions. This yearly programme is exciting and rewarding and makes a big difference both to the participants and those they get a chance to serve. If you are interested find out more now……

So what do our Gap participants think about it so far!!

Talofa lava my name is Andrew Solomona. I am originally from Auckland and have come down to Wellington to take part in the Challenge 2000 Marist Gap Year programme. So far this experience and the opportunities that I have been given have been tremendously rewarding. During my first week at Challenge I was fortunate enough to attend a Social Justice hui where people working in different sorts of Justice fields spoke about how they are doing their bit to make a difference – it was a great learning experience.

The following week I helped with the Saint Patrick’s College Silverstream retreat, which gave me an insight into what it is like to be a leader and role model for young males. Through this I gained many leadership skills with the help of Andy Murray, James Van Schie and Heath Hutton. One of the nights on the retreat we had inspirational speakers share with us, two of these were Tim Duckworth and Matt Crawford. These talks really challenged me and opened my eyes to a number of issues we have in our world today. The next week I and the other five Gap students were lucky enough to spend three days in Kuratau on a camp lead by Kitty and Andy. These days were packed with adventure and reflective discussions. During this first term I have also helped out on a four day camp and also have worked on missions – doing things like building fences, chopping fire wood and doing lawns for older people. We also have lots of talks and have also gone around seeing great things in Wellington – it has been really awesome. This Gap Year programme is the best thing that ever happened to me and there’s a lot left to experience.

My name is Alivia Bowe and I am part of the Gap year programme at Challenge 2000. I have come from New Plymouth and have recently moved down to Wellington to become part of the Challenge team. During my first term at C2K I have been fortunate enough to help run a girls group at Porirua College and help the School Social Worker out at Bishop Viard College. I regularly visit an elderly lady and do odd jobs for her like supermarket shopping or pick up extra medication for her. I have also been organising and running sports games at Newlands Community Centre every Monday afternoon. Each of these have been a real eye opener for me as all of this is a new experience. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and cannot wait for what lies ahead!


Interested in finding out more?

Contact Kitty McKinley at Challenge 2000: Phone: (04) 477 6827


Gap Year

September 2010



Hi, my name is Kevin and I’m one of the eight young people on a GAP year at Challenge 2000 this year. During the week I spend three days doing tutoring and doing recreation at Challenge College. I enjoy it because I have been able to help the students with work that they struggle with. I have also enjoyed it by being able to attend their field trips and it has opened my eyes to a whole new way of seeing things. But the best part of helping at the College is all the new people that I have gotten to know there, whether it is staff or students. It’s good to be doing something that helps other people and also teaches me something.



Hello, my name is Kirsty and I moved down from Auckland this year to participate in the Challenge GAP programme. One of the many things that I do is support the young people at the Newlands Community Centre drop-in/opt-in programmes after school from 3-5pm. We try to provide a positive, energetic environment in which the local youth of the community can enjoy opt-in options such as drama, sports or art days or just chill out playing table tennis, basketball or touch instead of hanging around bored or causing trouble at the local shops. The youth get to form many friendships and develop themselves in a safe environment. I enjoy seeing the youth all interact with each other and take pride in being part of the local community. I’m also doing a Youth Work Certificate and its great to see the Youth Development Strategy stuff actually working in practice.



Kia ora, my name is Hutana and I am an ex Rongotai College man. As part of the GAP year myself and two other GAP participants are going to the Phillipines for our month long placement. During my visit to the Philippines I expect that my preconceived notions of how the world works and how things will be there, will be greatly challenged by what I see and experience. On our itinerary is a trip to a local mental hospital, and I have no doubt that this, among other things, will be a hugely harrowing experience for all of us. As well as this, however, I expect that it will be a journey of self discovery and development for us all. Watch this space in October – I can say more then.