Young leaders get ready for the Caritas Challenge

Over 400 sixteen to eighteen year olds recently took part in the annual Caritas: Justice Leadership Days across every diocese in New Zealand.

The young people, identified by their colleges and peers as leaders, came together to find out more about Caritas and the upcoming Caritas Challenge, 4-6 April. The days focused on Caritas’s work in Solomon Islands, and how our Catholic faith calls us to work for justice both in New Zealand and across the world.

In Auckland and Rotorua, Caritas partners from Solomon Islands, Fr Stephen Te’e and Bernadette Kairoronga, shared with the groups their experience of life in the islands. In Gizo diocese, Fr Stephen is one of only three priests for the whole diocese, and only one in three people have access to clean water.

Monique and Olivia from Verdon College, Invercargill, said ‘We realised that it’s about appreciating everything that we have; it’s not what we don’t have, but what we do with the things we have that matters’.

The motto of Solomon Islands is “To lead is to serve”. Reflecting on this, and Jesus’ example of servant leadership, Shanay and Sophie, also from Verdon College, said ‘leadership isn’t always about taking control; it’s also about being aware of others, supporting them, and helping them flourish’.

Gabriel added, ‘It was a great way to find out about the realities of the world, whilst making new friends and having a lot of fun at the same time. We can’t wait to take on the Caritas Challenge at college and have big plans for both Y12 and Y7 to get involved.’

Led by Caritas, the days were supported by The Logos Project, Challenge 2000, Vinnies (Auckland and Christchurch), as well as diocesan youth teams.

For more on the Caritas Challenge, including resources on how to make the plastic bottle light and paper bags, visit


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News category: New Zealand.

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