The winners of the four 2022 Wathaurong Community NAIDOC Awards were announced at the Flag Raising & Community Day held at Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative on Monday 4th July, 2022.
The Flag Raising event marked the start of NAIDOC Week, which began on Sunday 3rd July and runs until Sunday 10th July, 2022.
The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up – calls on each one of us to continue to rally around our mob, our Elders and our community. There must be a genuine commitment by all of us to to Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up and support and secure institutional, structural, collaborative and co-operative reforms.
It is also time to celebrate the many who have driven and led change in our communities over generations – they have been the heroes and champions of change, of equal rights and even basic human rights.
At Wathaurong, we are about strong community, strong culture, strong country. This year’s Wathaurong Community NAIDOC Award Winners exemplify these values and we congratulate all of them on their awards.
Nedok Yoongga (Elder/Respected Person)
Joint Winners – Uncle Alfie Oram & Aunty Naomi Surtees
UNCLE ALFIE ORAM was nominated as a great role model for the community – a man who get things done. Uncle Alfie can always be found helping organise activities for the men’s group, or cooking the BBQ at any Wathaurong community event.
AUNTY NAOMI SURTEES was nominated because she is always there to support and advocate for community. Not only is her work with the Orange Door so important, but Aunty Naomi can always be found at community events sharing culture, and puts in many volunteer hours to help with women’s group activities and much more.
Ngarrwa Ngitj (Community Person)
Winner – Renee Howell
RENEE HOWELL was nominated for her amazing work as the female Aboriginal Liaison at Barwon Health. In her role, Renee shows her deep connection and community spirit by always going above and beyond to support patients and their families.
Many community members have seen first-hand Renee stepping out of her own family time and gatherings outside of her work hours on numerous occasions to call or check in on patients and talk to their families.
Renee is incredibly supportive for families and staff at the hospital appreciate Renee for sharing her knowledge and educating them, as well as the comfort, support and advocacy she provides the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
Koolay Goopma (Young Male Achiever)
Winner – Mikali Harrison
MIKALI HARRISON was nominated for always going above and beyond in his role in the community, as a person and an employee of Wathaurong. Described as having an uplifting attitude and a kind heart, Mikali helped many of our community members through the COVID pandemic, whether through delivering food, driving to appointments, or helping with the vaccine rollout.
Moordeemoondeek Goopma (Young Female achiever)
Joint winners – Jordyn Flagg & Piper Knox
JORDYN FLAGG was nominated for being a leader in the community. Growing up in the Wathaurong community, she has always been around and is always giving back. Jordyn is an active part of her community through work, community events and meetings. She has been approached on various occasions to provide mentoring to young Aboriginal girls to encourage them to reach their fullest potential. In her previous job roles with RAJAC and Victoria Police, Jordyn has played an instrumental role by being involved in many community policing initiatives. Walking between culture, history, collective trauma and Australian or western systems, Jordyn is a force of strength for other young women.
PIPER KNOX was nominated for being an incredible role model to our young mob. Finishing her VCE even when her whole family was devastated with sudden sorry business and loss of her younger brother, Piper has moved straight into uni for midwifery and specialising in Aboriginal Health. Piper is also a senior member and mentor for the younger children in Dhungala Children’s Choir. She has beautifully represented our community in many performances. Piper is also on Barwon Health’s Consumer Advisory Committee and was a representative in Youth Parliament for the Bill on First Nations Education in schools. Piper proudly strengthens her connection to culture and community through cultural dance and mentoring opportunities, and is the first to reach out and support others in the community who are experiencing difficult times.
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