Tagari lia – supporting Tasmanian children and their families
The Tagari lia Children and Family Centre in Tasmania is making a real difference to local children and their families.
The centre officially opened in Tasmania during NAIDOC week celebrations last year and was featured in the Closing the Gap: Prime Minister’s Report 2013.
“Tagari lia” is the Tasmanian Aboriginal word for family and is one of two Children and Family Centres being established in Tasmania under the National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Early Childhood Development.
During the official opening, local Aboriginal elder Jo James delivered the Welcome to Country and a dance group performed songs and traditional cleansing dances to an audience of more than 250 people.
The local community contributed to the opening by sharing their stories and paintings at the event. Traditional foods including mutton birds and wallaby patties were shared among the families in attendance.
One attendee noted: “It was a truly moving opening. There were very strong images of children and their parents at the centre in the sandpit – a reminder of who this centre is for; the Aboriginal dancers and the didgeridoo player, the Aboriginal and community team that ran the whole day, the three flags flying in the breeze, the strong connection to country through the naming, knitting and images on the glass.
“I look forward to the concepts of collaboration and integration continuing to grow and develop.”
The centre – designed in consultation with the local community – is bright and modern, and features a sculpture by artist Tim Whiteley.
The steel oxidised Family Tree sculpture is intended to reflect the connection with the earth and the ochres used by traditional people, and stands proudly at the entrance of the centre.
Tagari lia prides itself on meeting the needs of the local community and is constantly evaluating the success of its services. The centre has adopted an Aboriginal Elder who works very closely with staff to provide cultural advice and support and is considered one of their most important volunteers.
The centre is making a real difference to the lives of children and their families and staff have received positive feedback from the community.
A local Aboriginal volunteer and parent of one of the children stated, “My son loves to come to Tagari lia to play and interact. Also, I get to have some me time.”