Newslines Radio Special Broadcast: 2012 National NAIDOC Awards
- Trevor Ellis
- Karla Grant
PRESENTER: Hi, I’m Trevor Ellis and you’re listening to part two of a special Newslines Radio program on the 2012 National NAIDOC Awards held in Hobart.
The annual awards is an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in our community to join together to celebrate the outstanding achievements of Indigenous Australians, their contribution to our community and to our nation.
Before the awards ceremony got underway, Newslines spoke to some of the guests about what NAIDOC means to them.
VOX POP 1: It means Aboriginal people coming together and celebrating their culture and the Aboriginal ways.
VOX POP 2: I’m a Tasmanian local. I was born on Cape Barren in the Bass Strait Islands. It’s things like this like NAIDOC Ball and even our own local ball, catching up with people and just seeing everybody. It’s just a grand occasion. It’s great.
PRESENTER: In this program we will look at the winners of the Youth of the Year, Artist of the Year, Scholar of the Year, Apprentice of the Year and Sportsperson of the Year awards.
This year’s awards were presented by actor Aaron Pedersen and TV journalist Karla Grant.
The Youth of the Year Award recognises the achievements of our young people aged between 16 and 25. Let’s hear from MC Karla Grant.
GRANT: Well now it’s time to present some more of the 2012 National NAIDOC Awards. And Aaron, you mentioned our young people, which is appropriate because our next award is for our Youth of the Year. To present the award, please welcome Dr Tom Calma AO.
CALMA: Well it gives me great pleasure to do the award and announce the 2012 National NAIDOC Youth of the Year Award and it goes to somebody who I think we’ll see a lot of in the future, Benson Saulo.
PRESENTER: Benson Saulo is a born leader who has the ability to engage and encourage not only youth but people of all ages.
Last year Benson was the first Indigenous youth to be elected as a United Nations General Assembly Youth Delegate and in April this year, he became the National Director for the Indigenous Australian Youth Leadership Academy.
Danika Nayna caught up with Benson after he was presented with his award.
NAYNA: Benson, from primary school captain to winning a National NAIDOC Award, some kids probably wanted to be a footy player and you want to be a politician. So what’s gotten you to this point?
SAULO: Who told you that? Actually I wanted to be a footy player. I wanted to be a pro skate boarder as well. I also wanted to be a horticulturalist. It’s been a long journey. It hasn’t been an easy journey as well. But it’s also been a great journey all the same.
NAYNA: What do you think makes a good leader?
SAULO: I think the definition of being a leader is skewed. It’s not always the person who’s out in front; it’s the person who can lead by example. But it’s also the person that draws people to them and draws great people around them. For me, I also view leadership as being able to create room behind you. I guess being in the position that I am I’m having the absolute privilege to represent Australian youth, pushing that envelope but also creating space behind. Now we’ve got two Indigenous ambassadors for UNICEF and it’s just a great cohort of young leaders that are coming up. It’s great.
NAYNA: You’re doing amazing things and we’re really proud of you. Now that you’ve got this are you just going to go back and show it off or is this going to just boost you for the rest of your life?
SAULO: Awards are wonderful because really it’s recognition of the hard work that you’ve done. I try not to let these things kind of rule my life. I don’t do things because I won an award; I do things because I love it. And I’m really loving life, which is nice.
PRESENTER: The Artist of the Year is open to musicians, performing artists and visual artists of all kinds. Past winners have included photographer Wayne Quilliam and musician Warren H Williams. Here’s MC Aaron Pedersen.
PEDERSEN: Now the next award is for our Artist of the Year. To present the award is an incredibly talented artist who, for those of you who don’t know, is the painter of the artwork that is an inspiration for our stage set here tonight. It is my pleasure to welcome to the stage, Rosalind Langford.
LANGFORD: The National NAIDOC Artist of the Year for 2012 is Stephen Page from Bangarra Dancers.
PRESENTER: As the director of Bangarra Dance Theatre and a leading choreographer, Stephen has been a major contributor to Australia’s cultural landscape for 21 years.
Graduating for NAISDA in 1983, Stephen began his career dancing with the Sydney Dance Company and in 1991 was appointed Artistic Director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre.
Stephen has choreographed for the Australian Ballet and the feature film The Sapphires,as well as directing the Indigenous sections of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
I caught up with Stephen for a chat about his work with Bangarra and what inspires him.
PAGE: You know I always just think of all the fellas who have come before us and all those storytellers that have inspired me, all those elders in communities that have entrusted myself and Bangarra with their stories to take it out there in this contemporary expression in the mainstream. To have a job as a caretaker of stories in this twenty first century.
ELLIS: Now you talked in your speech about we have our NRL footballers, we have our AFL players, but it’s so important that we have this as well, the storytelling and the culture, that side of things.
PAGE: I just think it’s underrated, the whole music, dance, just performing arts in general. I just think it’s such a huge part of our culture that I just think it needs to be respected in a way where it’s celebrated in all its forms.
ELLIS: You have an enormous body of work with Bangarra. What’s been your, not favourite but, what’s inspired you the most, that you’re most proud of?
PAGE: The most proud of would be the Sydney 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony. A thousand Indigenous people brought together, from Yumba, from Torres Strait, from the Koori kids throughout New South Wales. I think that’s just bringing a true representation of our culture on that stadium, with a true sense of spirit, to billons of people around the world. I think that was one of my greatest moments.
PRESENTER: Hi I’m Trevor Ellis and you’re listening to Newslines Radio. In this program we are looking at all the winners from the 2012 National NAIDOC Awards.
The Scholar of the Year Award recognises achievement in secondary or tertiary studies. Let’s hear again from MC Karla Grant.
GRANT: And now I reckon one of the most important things for everyone, and especially Indigenous youth, is education. Learning the ways of our past and learning the skills necessary to get ahead in the modern world are essential. So the next award is significant, the Scholar of the Year Award. And here to present it is Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue. Please make her welcome.
O’DONOGHUE: Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to announce, tonight, the Scholar of the Year goes to Sarah Bourke.
PRESENTER: At Radford College in Canberra, Sarah’s academic talent was evident. She was listed on the 2002 Radford College Academic Honour Roll and in 2007 was selected to attend the National Youth Science Forum at the Australian National University.
Sarah went on to complete a double degree in science and arts at the Australian National University and is now completing the Honours Program, researching biological anthropology from an Aboriginal perspective.
Sarah gave Newslines some advice on how to get through university studies.
BOURKE: Well I think it’s mostly been about not so much studying hard but studying smart. That is, trying to keep focused and making sure you pick something at uni that you’re really interested in, not something that people are telling you that you should do, because being interested in the subject is the real key to your success at uni.
PRESENTER: The Apprentice of the Year Award is open to people who have completed an apprenticeship in the 12 months prior to the awards.
Here is MC Aaron Pedersen.
PEDERSEN: Our next award is for our 2012 Apprentice of the Year. To present this award is Lynette Riley.
RILEY: So tonight, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I announce the Apprentice of the Year for the 2012 NAIDOC Awards. And the award goes to, Michael Clinch.
PRESENTER: Growing up in the Koonibba Aboriginal Community in South Australia, Michael was inspired by his grandfather who told him he could be anything he wanted to be if he put his mind to it and was committed. Michael watched his grandfathers and uncles fixing cars for the community and from a young age, he knew he wanted to do the same.
Michael recently completed his apprenticeship as a motor mechanic with Repco in Adelaide.
PRESENTER: We all love our sport and this year at NAIDOC we were lucky enough to celebrate two winners. Again here’s Aaron Pedersen.
PEDERSEN: Well we’re on to our last award, or again, should I say awards, because in this category, Sportsman of the Year, I can announce that we couldn’t split the difference. So we’ve got two winners for 2012. And this gentleman who is coming up here to make the announcement is somebody who has been a role model in my life for quite a while. Professor Mick Dodson, I welcome you to the stage.
DODSON: The first 2012 National NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year Award goes to Vanessa Wilson.
PRESENTER: Vanessa Wilson is a star of the Netball South Australia League Association, regarded as one of the benchmark state competitions in Australia.
She started playing netball at the age of 10 at the Garville Club, gained All Australian Honours as a state schoolgirls player by 1996, and captained the Garville State League Reserves Side to a premiership in 2001.
Vanessa was also a key contributor to the Oakdale Club claiming their first premiership win in 2009.
Spreading her love for netball, Vanessa is program director and head coach in the junior development programs of the South Australian Nunga Junior Netball Corporation.
DODSON: Folks, I also have the great honour to announce that the equal Sportsperson of the Year for 2012 National NAIDOC goes to Joshua Robinson.
PRESENTER: Joshua Robinson was born in Toowoomba, Queensland. At only 15 years of age, he is already a gifted sportsman and has been representing Queensland in athletics since 2005.
This year at the National Youth Championships in Sydney, Joshua took out five gold medals and set a new state record, running the 400 metre sprint in just 49.31 seconds.
His immediate goal is to compete in the Athletics World Junior Championships in London next year.
As well as being a gifted runner, Joshua recently signed up with the Manly Sea Eagles Club in the National Rugby League.
I spoke with Joshua after he had just accepted his award.
ROBINSON: It’s just a big achievement and I’m over the moon right now to achieve this award. I know there’s been past great sportspeople that have won this award so it’s a privilege to have my name in history with them.
ELLIS: How important is your family in getting this award? How important were they in driving you to footy games, or to touch?
ROBINSON: This is like a privilege for them. It’s so important to them because of all the hard effort they put in. Mum, she has to have her lunch break at three o’clock to get me out of school then take me to training and then go back to work til 6 o’clock at night, so it’s a big deal with athletics and stuff. My parents always commit. If I didn’t have them I wouldn’t be where I’m at today, so I’d just like to thank them.
PRESENTER: Well that wraps up our look at this year’s inspiring winners from the 2012 National NAIDOC Awards held in Hobart.
For more information on NAIDOC and the award winners, go to www.indigenous.gov.au. You can listen to previous programs there and read our Indigenous Newslines magazine, as well as friend us on Facebook.
I’m Trevor Ellis thanks for listening to this special Newslines Radio program.
Now let’s finish up with some music from the NAIDOC Awards. Here’s singer songwriter Emma Donovan.