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Editorial UNSW Indigenous Awards Night Monday’s Child Celebrating Indigenous Business Month Indigenous Accounting and Business Conference Walama Muru 2015 Caring for Country – Connexions with Japan Mer Island Uni Games 2015 Nura Gili Staff Profile Yindyamarra: A Documentary About Us   

About UNSW About Nura Gili About Balnaves Place –Home of Nura Gili


It’s been a superb month here at Nura Gili and UNSW with an abundance of stories reflecting established and up and coming Indigenous thought leaders and practitioners across many diverse fields as exemplified recently at our UNSW Indigenous Awards Night held at Scientia. As I write our Nura Gili UNSW students are giving their final course presentations, finalising individual and group assignment, preparing for examinations, finalising theses, undergoing final interviews for internships and graduate positions. Many of our Senior Management team are up in Darwin where our Director Professor Martin Nakata is giving a keynote at the HEPP National Forum on Indigenous pathways and transitions into higher education. Successful applicants for our UNSW Indigenous Pre Programs in Business, Education, Law, Social Work and Medicine will have received their offers with many of them in the midst of their HSC exams, whilst others will have already and/or be in the process of applying to UNSW via our UNSW Indigenous Admissions Scheme. A number of us are about to head off to Dubbo with UNSW ASPIRE program to run workshops with year 9 high school students from across the far Western NSW region with more workshops to come for year 8 &9 high school students based here in the city. A special congratulations to Shevaun Wright who recently won the NSW Parliament Aboriginal Art Prize and do check out our Nura Gili UNSW Arts and Design alumna Lucy Simpson’s latest exhibition at MCA on until-6 December 2015. Here are some great stories here featuring two of our exceptional colleges: Marlene Kong at Kirby Institute

and Brenda Croft at UNSW Arts and Design

Enjoy this month’s issue! Rebecca Harcourt Editor Connect with Nura Gili


Nura Gili’s third annual Indigenous awards night was once again a special marker in the calendrer with the opportunity for all of us- students, family, alumni, staff, industry and community supporters, sponsors to celebrate together many of the incredible achievements of our Nura Gili students across a wide range of disciplines and endeavours. Once again we were entertained by the inimitable Luke Carroll with live entertainment by the wonderful crooner and musician Marcos Corowa. With speeches from our Director of Nura Gili Professor Martin Nakata, UNSW Vice President and Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Professor Iain Martin and our Nura Gili UNSW Built Environment Alumna Linda Kennedy whose unforgettable speech, sharing much of her personal story, encapsulating the depth and breadth of many of our Indigenous students pertinent challenges and achievements and geared us all to continue to strive and support one another. Photographer Maja Baska once again captured the spirit of the evening, a number featured here and the full collection now published on Nura Gili’s facebook page. Special thanks to everyone who sponsored these awards. Congratulation to our 2015 Excellence Award Winners in Recognition of Academic Achievement

UNSW Art & Design: William Bain UNSW Arts & Social Sciences: RianaTatana and Ashleigh Wright UNSW Built Environment: William McNaughton and Michael Stonham UNSW Business School: Owen Walsh UNSW Engineering: Renee Wootton UNSW Law: Tobias Elliott-Orr UNSW Medicine: Mitchell Sutton UNSW Science: Bree-Ellyn Davison


Special Congratulations to dual award winner Jackson Parkes who won the 2015 UNSW Arts & Social Sciences Spirit Award for his for commitment to studies, further development and community involvement, particularly in the young Indigenous Leaders Initiative and the 2015 UNSW College Award in recognition in recognition of personal growth and contribution to the Classic Wallabies Exchange Program Jackson pictured left and below with Isabelle Creagh who generously sponsored the UNSW College Award.


Congratulation to all our 2015 Spirit Award Winners

UNSW Art & Design Jordan Ardler and Dennis Golding Pictured right with Dean of UNSW Art & Design, Professor Ross Hartley.

UNSW Built Environment Moana Prescott UNSW Business School Blake Barratt UNSW Engineering Lucas Pritchard UNSW Law Jason O’Neil

UNSW Medicine Brendan Philipps UNSW Science Rowan Malamoo Shalom College Spirit Award Mitchell Sutton


Congratulations to Teela Reid who won the 2015 NSW Bar Association’s Indigenous Barrister’s Trust Award

for an outstanding contribution to develop the advocacy skills of Indigenous law students by designing and implementing the Mooting Competition for Australia's First Peoples. This Award was generously sponsored by Ms Chris Ronalds SC, pictured here right with Teela

Congratulations to Josh Moxey and Kim Peckham winners of the UNSW Rising Star ‘Burbuga Birrung’ Awards Pictured here with

Nura Gili Students Services Manager Michael Peachey,



“Imagine walking into a room and sitting down with a group of people; they are strangers. They ask you to introduce yourself. You do. Then they ask you personal questions: where are you from, or what’s your background? You're in the middle of answering, unaware of the confused glances around the table, when someone interrupts you. They’re in shock. They don't believe you. No one does. “Really?” they exclaim, “I wouldn’t have picked it”. Monday's Child seeks to challenge and deconstruct perceptions of Aboriginal identity through a performative and intimate exploration of self and what it means to be "Black" in the 21st century. I am proud to be Black. Yet, my fair skin leads me into a position of ongoing ambiguity, where I am subjected to the experience of constant questioning, prejudices and racism. I have been asked all my life to justify and quantify my identity in a language that has its origins in the assimilation policy. This performance has emerged out of my frustration and anger at having to deal with such ongoing interrogation.” Riana Tatana One things I have always loved about live theatre is when it takes you on a journey you least expected. Nura Gili’s Riana Tatana, who is in her honours year at UNSW recently created and performed Monday’s Child. This performative composition and experience engaged and played with her audience expectations in an intimate and sophisticated way. Monday’s Child unveiled a myriad of layers which can confound many, especially if they haven’t questioned or realised their own standpoints. As Riana shares: “Throughout Australia’s history, Indigenous theatre and performance has played, and continues to play, an important role in constructing, deconstructing, and contesting Indigenous identities. This research project has emerged out of my interest in this relationship between Aboriginal identity and the new genre of contemporary performance . This interest was prompted by three types of experience: theatrical; critical; and personal. In theatrical terms, I have been inspired by the experimental work of various Aboriginal cross-disciplinary performance artists such as Dalisa Pigram, Vicki Van Hout and Sarah-Jane Norman. More specifically, I have been intrigued by the physical vocabularies of Pigram’s solo theatrical dance Guidrr Guidrr (2013) and Vicki Van Hout’s theatrical dance work Briwyant (2011), which both explore diverse urban and traditional cultural experiences. Lastly, Norman’s work that includes both installation and the difficult genre of intimate theatre complicated how I thought about the fluid nature of Aboriginal identity, what it means to be of mixed blood and how these ideas emerge and operate within performance.” As Su Goldfish Manager / Producer of Creative Practice Lab, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW Arts & Social Sciences shares: “Monday’s Child opens up to us the experiences of Aboriginal people who continue to live under a constant and critical gaze. An insightful, funny and gentle performance from honours student Riana Tatana, Monday’s Child reveals the impact of those critical looks and comments that say, this is how you can be Aboriginal, and this how you should perform Aboriginal. It also tells us that this experience is not just a thing of the past but continues to be the experience for many Aboriginal people today.” Riana who drew so much on her own personal experience to create the piece shares: “I identify as a Bundjalung woman from the Northern Rivers area and a Maori woman from Auckland, New Zealand. Yet, throughout my short twentyone years of life, I have experienced a countless number of prejudice and racist interactions or confrontations with a great deal of people from various 9

backgrounds. Whether these interactions take place with one person or a group of people, I am always questioned, interrogated and/or ridiculed about my Aboriginal identity because of the way I physically appear—I am not black enough. I believe this is a common experience among many other fair skin Aboriginal peoples, including my own relatives, close friends and acquaintances. In order to begin to challenge these perceptions, I turn to the practice of contemporary performance, which I feel, as Norman suggests, is the only way I can truly “begin to grasp for insight.” (Norman 2012, p. 3). Thus, I am using performance to question my audience and myself “How can I use contemporary performance to challenge essentialised ideas of Indigeneity in Australia in order to recognise its fluid, diverse and contextual nature?” Although it must be noted that this question is subject to change throughout the writing of my thesis, as all research questions do. More specifically, I am interested in exploring how black operates, as well as preconceptions of culture. In the making of a new work, I seek to reveal how Aboriginality can be constantly be remade through inscriptions of subjectivity, so Indigenous Australians can continue to move towards an open and undefined understanding of “Black identity”. For instance, Yin Paradies speaks to this more closely by introducing the idea of “pan-Indigeniety”, which is as an all-encompassing term that refers to Indigenous peoples as a homogenous group and underpins the key idea that I seek to challenge within performance. Within the contemporary era and the wider Australian public, such a construction has led to generalised assumptions of Indigeneity, and in turn created specific “protocols and ethics” that must be adhered to in order to be considered “Aboriginal” ( 356). Paradies argues that this includes a number of different constructed fantasies, including: exclusivity, cultural alterity, marginality, physicality and morality (357). Morrisey suggests that these elements construct boundaries that “interpolate every Indigenous person” without regard to other facets of identity and subjective experiences “through a plethora of stereotyped images” (qtd in Paradies, 357). Within my performance, I am interested in the fantasy of physicality and the resounding requirement for the presence of culture. Firstly, the Indigenous body is assumed to be characterised by specific racial signifiers that evoke a particular “identity” of “Blackness”. For instance, Paradies notes that physicality, such as skin pigmentation, is “exceptionally important in the recognition and validation of Aboriginal identity” (359). Within my dissertation, I argue that this is partly upheld through the very term of “Black”, which subsequently identifies race through colour. Furthermore, the expectation of performing cultural alterity leaves urban Indigenous people acute with the feeling of ambivalence and alienation. Physicality and culture then are both essentialising and limiting identity frameworks, which need to be challenged in order to emphasise the diverse and contextual nature of Indigeneity, that does not need to adhere to a category of “one-size fits all”. This contestation is at the centre of my work.” The depth of Riana’s analysis is echoed with the strengths of her commanding performance capabilities which also reveal her authenticity, vulnerability, generosity and sensitivity to create a transformative and compelling experience for the audience. Through playing with location, Rianna created a virtual site specific piece drawing on a promenade execution inside the studio space with only three audience member permitted per performance. Through diminishing the fourth wall in Mondays Child, Riana unraveled the more traditional performer audience relationship to create and draw on the magic propensity of a very intimate relationship between performer and audience. Through Riana’s play on dialogue and questions seeking audience responses, she orchestrated different scenarios to play out dependent on audience’s responses. This not only added to the depth and impact of the performance, it heightened the theatrical intimacy and excitement we experienced. Riana is to be congratulated on Monday’s Child. It would be tremendous to see Riana have the opportunity to develop this piece and performed in the future, perhaps there’s a window in the Sydney Festival, Wesley Enoch? Rebecca Harcourt 10



“We need to focus on business strategy and stop looking to policy to find business solutions” Owen Walsh* Courageous vision; articulating the difficult conversations; honouring and building on Indigenous entrepreneurship drawing on 60,000 years of business practice, tenacity and resilience as we move forward to new economies and ways of thinking as a part of a Global landscape filled with opportunities for innovative, consultative and technological approaches coupled with strong business acumen and agility where our Indigenous business leaders will forge growth and success and with what for many will be equally driven by a deeper desire to create sustainable impact to enrich the lives of many. Congratulation to the MURRA Alumna who when tasked by Associate Professor Dr Michelle Evans on what their Leadership contributions would be have launched this seminal initiative the inaugural Indigenous Business Month, launched this morning (1.10.2015) at Customs House in the City of Sydney. Joining Owen and Michelle on the panel at the launch were Jason Eades, a Gunnai man and CEO of PWC Indigenous Consulting with over 20 years of experience across the community, government and corporate sectors and Monica Barone, CEO of City of Sydney. Welcomed by Elder, Aunty Norma Ingram who also shared her thoughts and wisdom with us, the enigmatic Mayrah Sonter, Director of Creative 33 and MURRA alum was instrumental in creating this successful platform this morning and exquisitely emceed the morning’s discussions. The launch revealed enriching debate and discussions, research and practice, illuminating the importance of connectivity, cultural knowledge, collaboration, with respect to the diversity and emerging recognition of the growth in expertise, interests and growing successes of Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs across many industry sectors. As Michelle shared many Indigenous businesses currently have an annual turnover of $1M with many exceeding this. Intuitively entrepreneurial, Owen is developing his own business acumen through hard work, resilience and innovative forethought recognising how approaches and practices in emerging economies in India and China can be applied here fused with the energy, cultural and industry knowledge as well as businesses practices from home; specifically as a proud community connected Aboriginal man who embraces his culture, youth, technology and business through his studies, community and industry experiences. Owen is equally impassioned to encourage more Indigenous young people to embrace business and value the social impact business can create as well as the legitimacy and opportunities of entrepreneurship as reflected through self-determination. During UNSW Indigenous Winter School Owen gave two invigorating lectures in entrepreneurship and information systems as part of the Business Program which captured the imaginations of our participants. To uncover more about their and other Indigenous business student’s journeys at UNSW, I encourage you to watch our recent film Indigenous Success from Winter School to Graduation. Film Link - To discover more about what’s happening during Indigenous Business month across the country check out: Rebecca Harcourt *Owen Walsh is a proud Wiradjuri man and is in his fourth year studying a dual degree in Commerce and Information Systems at UNSW Business School. Owen is an Ambassador for UNSW Business School, an intern with Tourism Australia and will undertake a vacationers program at KPMG this summer th

This article was first published in First Nations Telegraph on Oct 7 2015



“It was such a privilege and joy to meet the Nura Gili UNSW Business School students and alumni who attended the conference. What a wonderful and inspiring group of people.” Dr Luisa Lombardi, Deakin Business School A group of our UNSW Indigenous students and alumni recently attended the inaugural Australian Indigenous Accounting and Business Conference at Deakin University in Melbourne. Special thanks to the personal sponsorship for travel and accommodation from Adrian Williams and to Dr Luisa Lombardi for the sponsored conference places. As second year Indigenous UNSW Commerce student Blake Barratt shared: “Having the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Indigenous Accounting and Business Conference was truly a rewarding experience. This event provided me with the platform to build a range of connections with fellow business students, key figures within the business sector as well as visionary academics. Despite being in its inaugural year, I was blown away by the calibre of the speakers who each made their own significant contribution to the conference through the sharing of their experiences and visions for the future. A particular highlight was the international scope that the conference gave through the diversity of its members present. The international Indigenous speakers from Canada, America and New Zealand all modelled how Indigenous people adapt and be present within the business environment while maintaining their cultural integrity. While there were numerous issues addressed during the two days, the issues of financial illiteracy within Aboriginal communities and the perception of Aboriginal career paths captivated my attention. The underrepresentation of Aboriginal people in business, primarily within Accounting was also a central issue raised during the conference. It was stressed that there is more work required to change the stigma attached to this field as a “white man’s profession”, when in reality Aboriginal people are truly capable.” Dr Luisa Lombardi one of the key instigators of the conference shared that 80% of the speakers were Indigenous, a deliberate strategy to ensure the depth, expertise and experiences of Indigenous people here and abroad, were brought to the fore to provide informative discussions and debate. Elder Aunty Di Kerr provided an insightful and moving Welcome to Country with keynotes from Professor Marcia Langton, who holds the foundation chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne and Mr. Russell Taylor Principal (Chief Executive Officer) at Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). The Conference sessions included: Overseas Indigenous Accounting Associations; the Role of Education in Indigenous success; Government policy for Indigenous economic development; Indigenous Business: success stories; Indigenous Australian accountants: my Story; Governance and Indigenous organisations. 14

UNSW Business School Indigenous Alum Damian Shannon who’s now working in a graduate position with John Holland Group found the the conference sessions very insightful and shared how “it’s always good to get an international perspective”. Keenly, included in the conference feedback, many commented that as a result of interactions at the conference, and as an Indigenous accountant, they now feel valued and supported for the journey they have taken to become a member of the accounting profession. This experience was also echoed by Blake: “The conference was inspiring and motivating and I observed there is a genuine demand for Aboriginal presence within the business environment recognising our innate intelligence, resilience and intuition.” Equally inspired was another of our second year Indigenous commerce students Oliva Metcalfe: “My experiences at the conference were positive: the speakers were knowledgeable sharing much about key issues for Indigenous business. I personally gained much by attending the conference with many issues resonating with me. In particular, the need to develop further the skills of Indigenous people at an early age in school so that they are equipped when entering either the workforce or higher education such as university.” The potential impact of more Indigenous people entering the accounting and business professions also struck a chord with Savannah Joseph: “I went to the conference with an open mind. As a current Indigenous UNSW engineering student looking to transfer into commerce, I wanted to develop an understanding of the importance of accounting and how I can utilise the skills acquired from my studies to improve my community. While at the conference, I was confronted by the lack of Indigenous accountants within Australia, with only 28 registering as practising accountants. Further, one of the key ideas I grasped was how accounting can be used to create change and make a difference.” As Dr Luisa Lombardi research has focused on exactly this, including her PhD: ‘The role of accounting in the financial capacity building of Indigenous Australians’ The CPA research grant project (by Lombardi, L and Cooper, B.J.): ‘An investigation into the role of educators, employers and the accounting profession in providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to enter the field of accounting’ and more recently Lombardi, L and Cooper, B.J. (2015) ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Accounting Profession – An Exploratory Study’, Australian Accounting Review, Australian Accounting Review, No. 72, vol. 25, Issue 1, pp. 84-99. 15

Here at Nura Gili and UNSW Business School we are very appreciative of the opportunity for a number of our Indigenous students and alumni to participate in such an invigorating conference. As our students expressed: “Special thanks to Adrian Williams from AMP Capital for ensuring our presence at this conference through his invitation and sponsorship and special thanks to Dr Luisa Lombardi and Professor Barry J Cooper from Deakin Business School for realising the conference.� Thanks to the following industry partners for their sponsorship and involvement with the conference: CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Gold sponsor: PwC, EYSilver sponsors: KPMG Rebecca Harcourt th This article was first published in First Nations Telegraph on 16 October 2015 Photography by Simon Fox Deakin University.


This year the Walama Muru volunteer group were lucky enough to visit the community of Jerringa on the South Coast. The task we set out to achieve was to repaint the local children’s education centre – we returned with was a life-time’s worth of experience and cultural learnings. Building a new relationship with Jerringa was one of the warmest things a volunteer could experience. Together with the community, in three and a half days we managed to repaint the centre, safe-guard the building from summer-time snakes, repaint the fence, and clean the children’s outdoor play-area.

The community also pitched in and mowed the surrounding grassy areas and painted games on the concrete, and fed us delicious lunches. On the last evening everyone was there to say farewell to our volunteers by throwing a disco inferno party!! We all returned with plenty of laughs and memories and a fantastic new relationship with Jerringa. Jeeves Verma ARC Student Development Coordinator 17

My name is Yuko Takizawa and I am originally from Japan. I am a mature-aged student studying in the third year of my international studies and psychology degrees at the University of California Irvine (UCI) in the United States. I am currently on exchange at UNSW, Australia. I have always had an interest in learning about Australia’s Indigenous peoples. However, I did not get the opportunity to do so in the United States or Japan. When I first arrived in Australia, I learnt that UNSW delivered many Indigenous studies courses which focused on Indigenous people, culture and heritage, as well as politics, history and a range of other topics. I was so keen to study Indigenous studies at UNSW that I decided to study three courses in semester two of 2015. These were ATSI1012 Aboriginal Sydney, ATSI2004 Indigenous Popular Culture and ATSI3003 Indigenous Cultural Heritage and the Environment. Studying these three courses has been a highlight of my exchange, particularly due to the scholarly resources and the associated fieldtrips; these have given me the opportunity to both observe and interact with Indigenous peoples.

For ATSI3003 Indigenous Cultural Heritage and the Environment our Lecturer Dr. Reuben Bolt organised a visit to his community on the south coast of NSW. Here we visited the Booderee National Park, located approximately 3.5 hours drive south of Sydney. We made several stops along the way, including Stanwell Tops, the Kiama Blow Hole, and Huskisson. All three locations were different, yet very beautiful. When we arrived at the Bay of Plenty Lodges we met Uncle Paul McLeod and his son Joseph Brown-McLeod, our hosts for the three days. We visited many sites within the Booderee National Park, learning about Indigenous people and how they manage their culture heritage.

On our first night, Uncle Paul and Joe performed a Welcome to Country. Up early for breakfast the following morning we then visited the Booderee Visitors Centre. We were then taken on a tour by Curator Bernie McLeod, from the Booderee Botanic Gardens, the only Aboriginal owned botanic gardens in the Australia. This visit evoked memories from my childhood. Bernie showed us the way Indigenous people have traditionally used vegetation for medicine, such as the bracken fern for treating mosquito bites, and sarsaparilla as a cleansing medicine. I could see many similarities between Australian Indigenous uses for plants, and how my generation in Japan, use plants. For example, in Japan we use the aroe-no-ha which is similar to the swamp lily; both are used as a medicine to treat burns. This was an eye opener for me, as I did not expect to see this much similarity between Japanese culture and Indigenous culture. From the Japanese perspective, it is important to have conservation places so that we can educate others and future generations, to impart this 18

knowledge so individuals may use it, if they need to. To us in Japan, this is very basic knowledge and skill. However, I have observed over time the slow deterioration of this knowledge as people have become more accustomed to today’s technological advances. On the last night of the field trip we had a campfire where members of Dr. Bolt’s family performed Aboriginal dance and music. Uncle Paul put some white ochre on everyone’s face as part of the campfire interaction. Joe, his sons and nephews performed the traditional dance for the class. It was interesting to see the elements of nature in their dance and music. I could see some links between this and the Bangarra Dance Theatre performance, which I had the pleasure of studying in ATSI2004 Indigenous Popular Culture. I admired the fact that Joe’s sons and nephews had a strong connection to their culture, identity and their community, even though they were at a considerably young age with the youngest around nine years of age. I really appreciated seeing the performance of these traditional dances, and I am sure my fellow classmates were also very appreciative.

The sound of the didgeridoo is very similar to the Japanese instrument the shakuhachi and mokugyo. These instruments are usually used in temples, and for me their sounds are spiritually symbolic, whereby people recognise the moment in a respectful way. The experience enlightened me and I valued being part of the dance and performance. I am grateful that Dr. Bolt took us on this fieldtrip to his home community, giving us an opportunity to experience his culture, and to be included as part of his community for the weekend.

As an international student, I encourage other international students to study Indigenous studies, because this experience has given me a great depth of knowledge about Indigenous peoples that could never have been learnt in the formal classroom environment. I will always remember this experience, and I feel as though I am taking a part of Country home with me. This was the first time I had visited an Indigenous heritage site in Australia, and it was extra special to know that Booderee National Park has won a number of national and international park awards, including the Global Responsible Tourism Award. Yuko Takizawa



Over two and a half thousand kilometres away to the north of Sydney is a tiny island in the outermost reaches of the Torres Strait called Murray (Mer) Island. On the island live a community of 400 people who rely on diesel for electricity, desalination for water and import their food by barge from Cairns, eight hundred kilometres away. The water supply is intermittent, fresh food is prohibitively expensive and the only waste disposal method currently is burning off in the small open landfill, plastics and all. If you were an engineer, what would you do to try and improve the quality of life of the community and the impacts on the environment of this infrastructure? Where would you start? This very question formed the core of the fourth year environmental engineering course, Planning Sustainable Infrastructure. For all of semester 1, 2015, we looked at infrastructure improvements and demand minimisation strategies across water, waste, energy and transport. We researched, we talked to the mayor, we analysed data, and learnt to make assumptions where information was thin. We wrote reports, compiled suggestions and presented to the public at the showcase. For four incredibly lucky students though, this was only the beginning. Sarah Hayes, Felipe Lebensold, Amarin Siri and Danielle Tuazon were given the opportunity by the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering to visit the island during the mid-year break and talk to the community about what we had found. This trip marks the start of a relationship between UNSW and Mer Island, whereby students each year will visit Mer to deepen the dialogue about moving towards sustainable infrastructure. And so it was that the four of us, along with lecturers Prof. Martin Nakata (Nura Gili), Stephen Moore, Prof. Richard Stuetz, came to spend a week in the most remote and beautiful place we had ever seen. It was only as we made our way from Sydney to Cairns, Cairns to Thursday Island, Thursday Island to Mer and as the planes became smaller and smaller that we realised just how far away it was. Geographic isolation poses many challenges and it was on that trip that we realised the imperative of selfsufficiency in such a location. Sustainable infrastructure on Mer isn’t just about reducing carbon emissions, it is a question of independence and standard of living. This is a lesson that Eddie Mabo, whose grave we were privileged to visit, knew deeply and passed on to his community. We have to find solutions that marry the two approaches: rain-water tanks may reduce the load on the desalination plant but the community is infinitely more interested in the fact that it would mean 24 hour supply. A community garden would reduce the need for freighted food and hence transportation emissions, but it needs to be framed in terms of improving food availability. The week flew by, a strange balance of frenetic activity and blissful calm. We ran workshops at the school; we slept in the afternoon. We gave presentations to community groups and interviewed elders; we wandered through endless greenery and paddled in the bright blue ocean (large, close and abundant sharks meant swimming was out of the question). We looked at pumps and wiring and inverters, we learnt to fish and climb coconut trees, we skimmed pebbles and collected shells. We made friends with families, and watched the State of Origin together. We discovered that the colourful houses we’d seen all over the island in fact denoted the owner’s NRL loyalties – lime green and purple houses everywhere indicated the Raiders and the Storm were popular choices. The trip was the most unbelievable experience. What we learnt, above all else, is that engineering does not exist in a vacuum, it is and has to be a reaction to the social and cultural environment it is serving. We all knew this on an academic level, but to see and live and breathe the island for a week was to know it on a deeper, more fundamental level. Walking around, we saw that our lofty ideas dreamed up in a city classroom were too formal, too rigid. The trip gave us a better understanding of the intricacies and sensitivity that being an engineer involves which will be valuable to us for the rest of our lives. Also, we hope that in some small way we have helped to begin a fruitful relationship with the small island community we all fell in love with. Sarah Hayes UNSW Environmental Engineering / Commerce student This article was first published by School of Civil and Environmental Engineering UNSW Engineering


September 27th saw the opening ceremony of the Australian University Games which began a week of 42 universities battling it out in a variety of sports to ultimately finish up on top and be named Overall Champion University. Nura Gili had a number of students representing UNSW at Uni Games this year including Makenzie Russel, Dylan Booth, Grant Maling and Kate Sinclair for a week of fun on the Gold Coast participating in soccer, touch, and athletics among others. Grant Maling (sprinting ahead right, right), studying a Bachelor of Media, admittedly had done very little training for the festival however competed in the 400 metre sprint and beat his own record, finishing the race in 58 seconds. Grant had a lot of fun and has said that he will attend next year’s games for athletics regardless of whether or not he makes his dream of being selected to play for the UNSW netball team at the Australian University Games. Grant has also been selected to play for and represent New South Wales in the Men’s u23’s Netball team.



Uni Games 2015 was a great week. I made lots of good friends and enjoyed representing UNSW� Dylan Booth This was the third time Dylan (front row, third from left) played at Uni Games having twice represented Australia in international competitions as part of the National Indigenous Oz Tag Team. Nura Gili’s Dylan Booth is in his third year studying Commerce at UNSW Business School

Veteran Makenzie Russel has represented UNSW eight times at Uni Games- both Eastern and Australian - and enjoyed her last competition at the recent games. Makenzie is about to sit her final exams for her Commerce degree at UNSW Business School and will be moving to Canberra in the new year having secured a Graduate position with the Department of Education and Training. She will be joined by Nura Gili UNSW Business School alumni Yanti Ropeyarn who also secured a graduate position at the National Library of Australia in Canberra through the highly competitive 2016 APS Indigenous Graduate Programme.


Recently the tables were turned and I was the interviewee- here is my interview with IAA-Indigenous Accountants Australia: Who’s your Mob? I was born on Kaurna country (Adelaide, SA.) Our family’s Celtic and Jewish ancestry is a mix of Scottish, Irish, French, English, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian and Transylvanian. Our grandfather and grand-uncle changed our surname from Harkowitz to Harcourt in the early 1900’s because of anti-Semitism. Our parents instilled in us the importance to respect and value every person, even if you disagreed with them and to fight all forms of discrimination. We were really fortunate because we grew up in a loving family with close family friends of many nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Keenly at Highgate primary school in the 1970s our Social Studies teacher invited many of the local Kaurna families to come and teach us and we also learnt much about the impacts and intrusion as a result of ‘Settler’ and ongoing government policies and practices. Which university do you work for? I work at UNSW Australia at UNSW Business School and Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit What is your position and role at the university? Program Manager Indigenous Business Education and Editor of Nura Gili News What do you enjoy most about your role at the university? Transformation of our Indigenous students as they grow in confidence, agility and business acumen whilst equally continuing to draw on their strengths as proud Aboriginal and /or Torres Strait Islander people. Learning and collaboration to develop and facilitate forums, workshops and extended programs including through our outreach programs with young Indigenous students from years 5- 12 with ASPIRE and/or Nura Gili; with our undergraduate and postgraduate students at UNSW Business School and also with Senior Executives such as our recent partnership with AGSM Executive Education and NSW Public Service Commission delivering the Aboriginal Career and Leadership Development Program. What has been a highlight of your career at this university? Playing a part to help build a strong and proud community of practice, with great leadership by our Indigenous business students and alumni as they continue to foster innovative and impactful ways through business, in its widest sense, to help create prosperous, sustainable and better lives for many.


What advice would you give someone considering to study at university? Believe in yourself, draw on support, ask questions, choose widely, identify where your passions lie, work hard, seek advice, come and experience the opportunities available firsthand through the many programs and avenues available across the country. Such as our UNSW Indigenous pre programs in Business, Education, Medicine, Law or Social Work and /or our UNSW Indigenous Admissions scheme. What advice would you give someone studying a business related degree at university? As above and also navigate the core courses first, especially the more challenging one’s for you, as these are often the cornerstones of your business degree. These provide a solid foundation from which you can build and stretch yourself, whilst pursuing the areas of specialisations which foster your interest and passions and with which you can develop further in your professional career. Build on opportunities to develop new skills and experiences whilst you study, including internships; professional mentoring; engaging with student societies; undertaking international exchanges to study and/or further research and /or participate in conferences. Take your time, work hard, get balance and ensure you get down time. Draw on all the support you can to foster and build your own capabilities and independence. Never underestimate the importance of networking! What do you like to do in your spare time? Catch up with family and friends, walk along the beach, jump in the sea, dance, have fun, travel and be adventurous What is your favourite food? Two of my favourite dishes are Ackee and Saltfish and Curry Goat which were first introduced to be by my former partner who is Jamaican and his family.I was lucky enough to go twice to Jamaica with them and I’ll never forget his Mum’s cooking as it deliciously melted in your mouth. I'm always being asked... to slow down and finish my sentences! I often get overexcited with too many ideas rapidly firing through my mind all at once. Back when I was at university I remember a friend saying if I ever finished my sentences the secrets of the universe would be uncovered! Ironically although I’m an extrovert I also need lots of ‘me time’, quiet space to be still and reconnect . Best bit of advice ever given to you? Back yourself Right UNSW Community Business Forum July 2015


Follow the journey of ten UNSW Law students into Wiradjuri country. Share their enriching, confronting and provocative experiences as they explore the legal and social realities of our First Australians. A documentary that empowers students to affect change and strive for Social Justice in pursuit of their future endeavours. Yindyamarra: The Wiradjuri word for Respect Screening Date: 27 October Where: The Law Theatre Time: 6.00pm, the film will begin showing at 6.30pm

To view the trailer: Producer: Teela Reid Director: Khushaal Vyas Film Crew: Michael Ouzas, Isobel Blomfield, Sherman Du Volunteer Presenter Crew: Christine Maibom, Nanak Narulla, Anusha Thomas, Atharva Karandikar and Nick Coffman Music: Raghav Iyer All gold coin donations will go towards the UNSW Pre-Law program. See More



UNSW Australia has three campuses located in Kensington (main campus), Paddington (Art and Design) and Canberra (Australian Defence Force Academy). The main campus is located in Bedegal country and situated near an 8000 year old campsite. This campsite was a place where the Indigenous people of that country would gather and meet to teach their culture, knowledge and stories to their next generation of leaders. In 1949, UNSW was established providing the opportunity to pave a long history of teaching and research excellence and to gain the reputation for graduating the brightest and most highly qualified students in the country. With nine prestigious and award winning faculties, over 300 undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs being taught and more than 50,000 students, from 120 countries, the campsite traditions of gathering, meeting, teaching and sharing are being carried from the past in to the present.

Prior to 2004 Nura Gili was known as the Aboriginal Education Program (AEP) and the Aboriginal Research and Resource Centre. The AEP was established to provide Indigenous Australians studying at UNSW with the support needed to fully succeed in their studies. With the increasing number of Indigenous Australian students enrolling at UNSW and the need for improved academic and student support services, the AEP and Aboriginal Research and Resource Centre merged and became Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit. As a leader in Indigenous education, our purpose is to enrich Australia culturally and professionally. Nura Gili strives to enhance the capacity of Indigenous communities and individuals to engage in all aspects of Australian society - ensuring Indigenous knowledge, culture and histories are embedded in all aspects of the UNSW community. We provide a range of support services, Indigenous Studies programs and aspirational and pathway programs allowing us to be recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in academic and research excellence.

It’s important for us to provide a space that’s inspiring and creative, a space that will give you the best possible start to your higher education. In 2012, with the support of the Balnaves Foundation, we were able to build a state-of-the-art, central, innovative teaching and learning facility located in the heart of UNSW. At Balnaves Place, you will have 24 hour access to modern facilities with the most up to date technology, free printing facilities and private rooms for group and individual study in a calm and relaxing environment. Our centre has been designed for you. 28

Nura Gili News: If you would like to contribute ideas, news, letters and / or articles please contact the editor: Email: Telephone: 0478492075 If you would like to contribute to Indigenous scholarships for students at UNSW and/or Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit please feel free to make initial contact with the Director of Nura Gili Professor Martin Nakata B.Ed Hons PhD Telephone :+61 (2) 93853120 Email: - Prof Nakata's Webpage

If you would like further information on Nura Gili’s programs, courses and facilities you are welcome to come and visit and/or contact us: Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit Balnaves Place, Lower GrounDFloor Electrical Engineering Building UNSW Australia NSW 2052 Email: General Enquiries;+61 2 9385 3805

Balnaves Place – Home of Nura Gili was made possible thanks to a generous donation from The Balnaves Foundation, a private philanthropic organisation established in 2006 by Neil Balnaves AO to provide support to charitable enterprises across Australia.

UNSW CRICOS Provider Code: 00098G | ABN: 57 195 873 179


Nura Gili News Edition 24 Oct 2015  

It’s been a superb month here at Nura Gili and UNSW with an abundance of stories reflecting established and up and coming Indigenous thought...

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