Youth Justice Camp – August 2015

DSC_0008In August we headed off on another week long, Youth Justice camp. The group included two young men, 3 staff and 2 gap year students. This camp took us on a journey of self-discovery, thinking about who we are, what’s important to us and who we want to be in the future.

The camp allowed everyone to try new things, explore and develop their thinking and be involved in things we wouldn’t normally do. It also allowed for the group to explore and discover new and different parts of New Zealand and visit places that reminded the young men of many special stories and memories. Along with this the young people were exposed to a range of pro social activities and exercises including bungee swing, white water rafting, cooking and bone carving.

Throughout our camp journey many laughs, stories and memories were created and it was great to watch the two young men explore who they are and who they want to be.

With the experiences and relationships built during camp we look forward to watching the boys continue to grow at Challenge 2000, with their whanau and in their own communities.CS Camp Aug 2015 (2)

Holiday Programmes – Winter 2015

Day 1 – On a cold but great Wellington day, fourteen 5 to 9 year olds braved the weather and attended a great holiday programme.  We started the day with games and then went onto some great art activities, designing police badges which they would wear to the police museum that we visited later in the day.

The Police museum was great and we had so much fun, solving murders and finding out about the history of the New Zealand police.  We then went out to Aotea Lagoon to have a play and some lunch.  We ended the day at Battle hill, playing a game of soccer. All in all it was great day of fun, adventure and new friends made.

Day 2-  our young people aged between 14-18 year old went out to Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.  After setting ground rules, doing ice breakers and discovering the different strengths of the group (and making sure everyone could swim!!) we headed out to the pool.  Great fun was had by all especially in the never ending river and the wave pool. After the swim, we drove to Eastbourne and went on a bush walk.  This was a great experience for some of the young people who had never been to Eastbourne before.

Day 3 –  We facilitated sports games such as basketball, futsal, ultimate frisbee and even some intense (but basic) cross-fit exercises at ASB stadium.

We were treated to some delicious bacon-hock soup provided by staff member Oke Time and his lovely wife, Liza Time. The young people really enjoyed the day and have asked for more events to be run during the break. We’ll see how well the staff recover from this one!

A huge thank you to the volunteers who came and supported us on these holiday programmes, who made lunches and provided baking for us all to enjoy.  A big thank you also to Pelorus Trust for a grant that enabled us to provide the holiday programme, giving the young people opportunities to connect with other young people within the local community, develop new friendships and participate in a variety of recreational and developmental activities.

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Youth Justice Camp 2015

Monday 13th April saw Challenge 2000 depart on a week long Youth Justice Camp. The group included two young men referred from Youth Court, one youth leader and three staff. For our two young men the focus of the camp was to develop self-esteem and explore the big questions ‘who am I? And who do I want to be?’

The camp allowed the young people and staff to challenge and expand their knowledge and awareness of who they are, what they are capable of and their potential. It also allowed for the group to explore new and different parts of New Zealand. Along with this the young people were exposed to a range of pro social activities and exercises including camping, bungee swing, white water rafting, wood work and visiting our National Army Museum in Waiouru. Throughout our camp journey many laughs, stories and memories were created and it was great to watch the two young men explore who they are and who they want to be.

With the experiences and relationships built during camp we look forward to watching the boys continue to grow at Challenge 2000, with their whanau and in their own communities.


Lest we Forget

Lest we Forget

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Reflection time after a bush walk

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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

Youth Justice Camp

From the 17th-21st June Challenge 2000 took a Youth Justice Camp away. The group included two young men referred from the Lower Hutt Youth Court, two youth leaders and two staff. For our two young men the focus of the camp was to develop self-esteem and explore the big questions ‘who am I? And who do I want to be?’

The camp allowed the young people and staff to expand their horizons and to explore new and different parts of New Zealand such as Turangi, Taupo, Wairarapa and down the Kapiti Coast. Along with this the young people were exposed to a range of pro social activities and exercises including camping, bungee jumping, fishing, hiking, blacksmith work and visiting a music studio. Throughout our camp journey many laughs, stories and memories were created and it was great to watch the two young men explore who they are and who they want to be.

With the experiences and relationships built during camp we look forward to watching the boys continue to grow at Challenge 2000, with their whanau and in their own communities.

Trust Exercise 1 Fishing Dining out 1

We Remember…

A time gone past, we remember when,

a war was fought by many great men.

A land of peace, where love can grow

all of this, because we know

You walked, you ran, you took aim

you fought a war to uphold our name

New Zealand and Australia combined

Courage, endurance and mateship refined.

On scarred earth you laid down your lives

never to return to child or wife

our lives owed to you and to you we yeild

May you rest in peace, in Flanders Field.

~ by Ivan 

On Wednesday 23rd we had an ANZAC Commemoration Activity Day and gathered together at Newlands Community Centre where we explored the significance of ANZAC day through various activities.

The day started with a power point that had photos and facts from 1914-1916 which assisted the young people to start reflecting on ANZAC day and why New Zealand stop to commemorate it and the soldiers. From there the young people were split into groups and we did various activities; baking ANZAC biscuits, writing a response (see poem above) to the poem In Flanders Field, making a canvas “wreath” to honour the fallen and group discussions about War and Peace and what that looks like today.


IMAG0470After we had lunch and sampling a few of the biscuits, we packaged our ANZAC biscuits and went out into the Johnsonville community and gave them to some of those who serve our community; Police, Fire Station, Johnsonvale Rest Home and Challenge 2000 Administration. The young people enjoyed giving the biscuits away – some saying that seeing the smile and joy on the elderly people’s faces really made their day!


Our final activity was to head to Karori Cemetery to the Servicemen’s section. The young people walked around the graves taking in the names of those that had served our country. It was a day of reflection and most of the young people were grateful for the day and felt they had learnt much.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Karori Grave Karori Grave 2 Karori Cemetery

Gap Graduation

Our 8 gap students graduated with flying colours on December 1st 2013. It has been a fantastic year of challenge, growth, learning, experience and service. The 8 students achieved much and gave much this year. All past their NZQA youth work certificate and also gained full drivers licences and first aid certificates. For many it was also the first time they gained a New Zealand passport with 4 ‘gappies’ travelling to Samoa and Mexico respectively.

Gap Year GraduationGap Year students 2013

 Gap Year students in Mexico


Gap year students in SamoaThis year gap students mentored young people, worked on youth development programmes, supported the youth workers at Newlands Community centre, helped lead court supervised camps, tutored young people, lead holiday programmes, washed cars, cooked and served food, run groups in 5 different colleges, designed websites, typed and photocopied

It’s not too late to apply for gap 2014. Fill in the online application form and say YES to a year that you won’t ever forget.

Feedback for some of the gap year students 2013

“The gap year has taught me so much about myself and who I really am. I walked out of the gap year a lot more confident within myself and a greater understanding of myself and the different things that I am able to share with other people. Throughout the year I have done so many things that I never thought I would have done especially at my age. From the weekly placements, to the NZQA papers, to the overseas cultural experience in Samoa, to the talks that we had. Even though it wasn’t an easy choice to say ‘YES’ to the gap year, looking back at it now it was the best decision that I made at the end of 2012.” ~Courtney Halliday

This unique gap year has been so important for me at this time in my life. After leaving college last year overwhelmed by how many different options I had to choose from I am so thankful that i opted for a Challenge 2000 and Society of Mary Gap year. I have experienced so much over the last year. My world view has changed and I now see myself, others and New Zealand in a different way. This is definitely a year I will look back on with no regrets and identify it as an important stage in my personal growth and development. At this stage next year I am intending to go to Victoria university and do a BA majoring Social Policy. Many thanks to everyone who made it possible. ~Anna Hoskins


Donate by Electronic Banking

Making a donation straight into Challenge 2000’s bank account is easy for everyone.  Once you have made your donation through electronic banking, please drop us an email at with your name, address and donation amount so we can send you a receipt just as soon as possible.

Here are our banking details:

Name of Account – Challenge 2000

Bank – ANZ Johnsonville, Wellington New Zealand

Account Number – 01-0519-0057660-00

Thank you!


Donate by Cheque

If you would like to donate to Challenge 2000 by cheque, please print off this remittance page, fill in your details and mail to the address below:

Click here for the C2K Remittance Form for Donations


Set up an Automatic Payment – the “Drip Drip Effect”

If you would like to help us out by setting up an automatic payment with the “drip drip effect” then please print off  the automatic payment form, fill it in and mail it back to us.

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Please send your donation or automatic payment form to:

Challenge 2000
PO Box 13059
Wellington 6440
New Zealand


Thank you!  Your money really will make a difference!

Saint Patrick’s College Retreat

Challenge 2000 ran retreats for the Year 10 students at Saint Patrick’s College in Kilbirnie from Wednesday 14th to Friday 16thof November. These focused on the theme of social justice and raising the students’ awareness of this topic. It also helped the students to realise their own abilities to make a difference within their school and in New Zealand in general.

The mornings were focused on introducing aspects of social justice and injustice to the boys. This included a long discussion on the need for equality in the world and incorporated the idea of poverty in New Zealand. To visualise this, Heath asked for ten volunteers to come up to the front of the group and showed them ten chocolates in a bag. The boys agreed that the fair thing to do would be to give each of them a chocolate. Heath then distributed the chocolates how the wealth of New Zealand would be in real life. This was met with shock when the last five boys had to fight over just one chocolate between them, while the first one had five to himself. It was great to see the chocolates then being shared around so that all had one. It made the boys think about the real life applications of the activity and the hardship that many face on a day-to-day basis.

After lunch, the students got to get up and be involved in some fun activities. These activities focused on their team building, leadership, and communication skills, followed by some discussion on how aspects of social justice in the real world were reflected by how the boys handled the challenges they were presented.



The days finished off with the groups coming back together for a calm and reflective liturgy before everyone dashed off to catch the school bus home.

It was great to see the effort and willingness of the boys to participate in everything that was put in front of them, as well as the support they showed each other throughout the three days.

Sally Blackler : Stepping out for Youth

Sally Blackler is a Challenge 2000 social worker and she is based at the NZDF Youth Development Unit in Burnham. Sally’s role is to provide support to the trainees on the Limited Services Volunteer programme. Please read about Sally’s inspirational story.

SISTERS IN ARMS : Nathan Blackler Memorial Challenge

Auckland to Christchurch

32 Days / 7 Rest Days / 1, 014 Km’s


In 2004, Sergeant Nathan Blackler walked from Auckland to Christchurch in gratitude to all the people who had supported him in his fight against cancer, and to raise awareness and funds for Child Cancer Foundation. Nathan, with his wife Sally. friends, and colleagues made the 1, 014 km journey and along the way raised $65, 000 for the Child Cancer Foundation. Sadly, five years ago, on March 23rd 2007 Nathan Blackler passed away after a long fight with cancer.


This year on Friday March 23rd to 1st May 2012 Sally Blackler and the Sisters in Arms crew undertook this inspiring walk in honour of Sally’s late husband, Nathan and in support of CanTeen. It took the team 32 days, with 7 rest days and 1, 014 km’s to reach their destination.


Challenge 2000 Staff

Challenge 2000 are privileged to support Sally on her journey! The morning of Friday March 23rd Challenge staff gathered, shared breakfast and watched a DVD on Nathan Blackler and his walk in 2004 called Operation Second Chance. We have been inspired by Nathan’s legacy and walked alongside Sally when she reached Otaki, and on her journey through to Wellington.

Please visit their website  for more information.