Always was, Always will be – NAIDOC week 2020

10 minutes
Share
hero image

NAIDOC Week this year begins on 8th November. Originally, NAIDOC stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. Every year it’s a celebration and opportunity to recognise the diverse cultures, accomplishments, and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year’s theme is "Always Was, Always Will Be" - which recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.

We recently caught up with a couple of Westpac Group employees to get their thoughts on what NAIDOC Week means to them and how money management and education can play an important role in helping to sustain the caring for land.

  • RJ Lea, Lena Stella Vera Kropinyeri, Kyah Warren and Nellie Hirschausen are all Indigenous Connection Bankers working at our Adelaide call centre designed to help and support remote and indigenous customers.
  • Aja Price is a Personal Banker at a Westpac branch and was recently accredited as a Westpac Financial Wellbeing champion - indigenous communities to deliver financial education workshops in her local area.
  • Michael Mieni is a proud Ngemba, Wangkumara and Barkindji man and is an IT Project Manager within Superannuation/BT/Westpac and Co-Chair of Brothers and Sisters, one of ten Westpac Employee Action Groups.

RJ Lea, Trainee Indigenous Connection Banker

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?

NAIDOC means that I can learn, express, and explore my passion for my colleagues and my own culture.

How do you celebrate the week?

I celebrate it with my colleagues amongst my team, going to events that showcase the culture of the Indigenous peoples in Australia and being able to connect with the community and to give my knowledge to people who ask.

This year’s theme is "Always Was, Always Will Be". How can money management and education play a role in helping to sustain and care for the land?

Being able to educate our customers helps them to be independent and confident to bank on their own. Being able to have an in-depth conversation on how to save can also help our customers better use their funds towards their community or a goal of theirs.

 

Lena Stella Vera Kropinyeri, Indigenous Connection Banker

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?

I am a very proud Ramindjeri woman from the Fleurieu peninsula and Kangaroo Island. Every year I make it a goal to march the streets for treaty for change. Attending these significant events helps me connect with family and share stories with my mob. National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) is probably my most favourite celebration of the year, next to Christmas. Growing up, my family and I would attend big family gatherings and events throughout the week.  NAIDOC week has turned into much more than just one day of significance and is celebrated amongst the wider Australians in all states, businesses, and local communities throughout the week. NAIDOC week is usually celebrated annually on 7-14 July, however this year, due to COVID19,  it will be celebrated 8th – 15th of November 2020.

How do you celebrate the week?

Growing up I would attend the NAIDOC ball alongside my grandmother Marjory Anne Tripp (AO) who sadly passed away in 2016. Later that year, I had the pleasure of attending the annual NAIDOC ball in Adelaide in her place whilst completing my studies at the University of Adelaide. The annual NAIDOC Ball awards and recognises the outstanding contributions that Indigenous Australians make, to improve the lives of Indigenous people in their communities and beyond.

This year’s theme is "Always Was, Always Will Be". How can money management and education play a role in helping to sustain and care for the land?

Money management plays a big role in providing sustainable outcomes when assisting our remote Indigenous businesses and individual customers. English is not always a first language known in communities and it is important that this is understood, so that we can provide the right type of assistance when communicating with them.

 

Joshua Hazel Chester, Indigenous Connection Banker

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?

NAIDOC Week is something I am lucky enough to live every day. Celebrating who I am 365 days a year. NAIDOC Week helps throw a focus on indigenous culture and learning, which is a real positive. This week also helps bring to light some negative problems or issues facing Indigenous people but also helps celebrate Indigenous achievements.

How do you celebrate the week?

I always like to wear some Indigenous inspired polo shirts during this week to really spark up a conversation. Usually people like my shirt and we talk about it. Spending time with family and catching up with friends for a BBQ is always good too. Unfortunately, I do not get an opportunity to attend many bigger events. I do like to participate by reading peoples stories or listening to new and upcoming musicians or viewing different artwork. There are some great artists and musicians coming out from some of the remote communities in Australia.

This year’s theme is "Always Was, Always Will Be". How can money management and education play a role in helping to sustain and care for the land?

Our younger generation are our future, and as the theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ suggests, by learning about money management and having that knowledge/education taught to all young people, we can help care for and sustain the land and ourselves in bigger and better ways, but that all starts with delivering the right education and the courage to step up and make a difference.         

Nellie Hirschausen, Indigenous Connection Banker

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?

To me NAIDOC is a week of raising the platform on Aboriginal people across all sectors of the community.  It gives rise to celebrations of the oldest living/surviving culture in the world.

How do you celebrate the week?

I am usually out in the country, either in Port Lincoln or Ceduna. I attend most of the community events, either as a participant or I facilitate them. In Port Lincoln, my favourite event is participating in the march and going to the family day cookout. For as long as I have been alive, I’ve been a part of it. The cookout is always held down at Mallee Park. It was once a mission, and now it houses our local footy team’s clubroom. At Mallee Park we’ve produced some brilliant AFL footballers; I guess there’s something in the water. We have a space called the ‘Wombat Pit’. It has 2 big fire pits, one for meats, the other for camp tea, kangaroo stews and dampers. Port Lincoln’s NAIDOC cookout is known across SA as the best cookout of the week. There are activities for kids on the footy oval, we provide warm shelter for our elders, the men cook our traditional meats and women look after the stews and damper. Service providers, both GOV and NGOs, attend on the day, schools in the town attend, including the little ones in kindy. A great way to engage with community over food and cups of tea. I am not sure what I will do now I am in the city. I will participate in whatever I can, as well as rising to the occasion to actively promote and advocate for my community and people.

This year’s theme is "Always Was, Always Will Be". How can money management and education play a role in helping to sustain and care for the land?

To provide a blanket approach to this question will not support the required outcomes when thinking of future generations, sustaining land and cultural obligations, and caring for land. In my opinion, one aspect to foster and sustain growth of Aboriginal communities that benefits the many facets of Aboriginal culture, is to develop a culturally appropriate educational resource around financial literacy. A financial resource that is designed specifically for an Aboriginal audience, catering  to urban, regional and remote people; developed and designed from the lens of Aboriginal people to address what they view are the issues from their perspective.

 

Kyah Warren, Indigenous Connection Banker

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you? 

To acknowledge and celebrate one of the oldest continuing cultures in the world that is a part of our country. An opportunity to share stories of our history and achievements with all of Australia.

How do you celebrate the week?

Participating in activities and events

This year’s theme is "Always Was, Always Will Be". How can money management and education play a role in helping to sustain and care for the land?

It is important to educate our customers on money management, such as being aware of funds and savings. This will help them become motivated to achieve their financial goals.

 

Michael Mieni, a proud Ngemba, Wangkumara and Barkindji man, IT Project Manager, Superannuation/BT/Westpac, Co-Chair of Brothers and Sisters, one of ten Westpac Employee Action Groups.

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?
To me, NAIDOC Week is the primary week throughout Australia where we get to take some time to acknowledge and celebrate First Nations culture, history, and peoples. Throughout the week, I remember and pay respects to the many brothers, sisters and elders who walked before us and contributed towards passing down knowledge to ensure our way of life continued from 65,000 years ago.

How do you celebrate the week?

Most NAIDOC Weeks I split between participating in events in the community, as well as a volunteer for the events and activities we play within.

This year’s theme is "Always Was, Always Will Be". How can money management and education play a role in helping to sustain and care for the land?

For money management, I would ensure organisations with wealth management have clear investment strategies in place to ensure money is being allocated to companies/organisations who have a higher sustainability profile/operation. For education, there is already some great examples in the community around coastal and rural areas around fire management (back burning) etc.

 

Aja Price, Personal Banking Advisor

What does NAIDOC Week mean to you?

NAIDOC has always held a special place in mine and my family’s heart. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate our culture, our family, and our history.

How do you celebrate the week?

If I was back home in Townsville, I always went with my family to the town’s NAIDOC celebrations, where they would have market stalls, traditional food stalls, presentations, and performances. However, while I have been in Newcastle, I have participated in my son’s school celebrations by cooking up traditional food for the kids to sample. This year due to COVID19 this can’t happen, so I am going to do a cook up for my Branch and I will discuss this year’s theme and what NAIDOC means to me.

This year’s theme is "Always Was, Always Will Be". How can money management and education play a role in helping to sustain and care for the land?

This year’s NAIDOC theme wants all Australian’s to embrace the First Nations 65,000+ years true history and recognise their land management skills and sustainability of the land. They want all Australian’s to celebrate that we have the oldest continuing culture on the planet and understand that their sovereignty was never ceded. We need to keep the First Nations cultures and traditions alive through education, as it is important in the recognition of what First Nations people did for this country’s sustainability. First Nations people have been here since the dawn of time and will always be.


author thumbnail image

Lisa Gissing

From Melbourne to Perth to the Tiwi Islands, from Launceston to Port Moresby, Lisa has helped many individuals, communities and businesses to build financial confidence for over ten years. From developing and delivering face to face workshops, to facilitating webinars and creating educational tools, she is committed to delivering education with impact, flexibility and sensitivity tailored for each audience. She is responsible for delivering on Westpac’s Reconciliation Action Plan financial education commitment. In 2016 she was runner up in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards recognising her work around Inclusion and Diversity. Her story is featured on the Westpac Careers website as an example of people helping people and she is also here to help you.

Was this helpful?