NAIDOC HONOURS: 16 deadly locals making a difference
1. Pillars of community recognised with lifetime achievement
RESPECT, resilience and compassion.
If nothing else, those are the three things Maryborough woman Harriet Vea Vea would like young indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders to learn growing up.
Aunty Vea Vea was one of four recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award for men and women above 25 presented in the annual NAIDOC Week awards at Scarness Park's Family Fun Day on Tuesday.
A Wadja woman from Central Queensland, Ms Vea Vea came to Hervey Bay from Rockhampton about 13 years ago.
From her first day, the pillar of the community has not stopped working for the betterment of her community.
Ms Vea Vea spent four years at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service and then eight years at Maryborough State High School.
"I just love this community," she told the Chronicle after accepting her award in front of a crowd of a few hundred people.
"Standing on stage next to these inspiring people I never cease to be amazed by their achievements. Through my work at the high school I have seen a lot of people achieve their goals and mentored them."
Mark Singo, also from Maryborough, was recognised for his lifelong commitment to sharing Butchulla culture and stories.
Hervey Bay's Marj Speedy is described by her peers as a tireless and selfless supporter of the community who is always the first on the ground when help is needed.
"For me family is the most important thing," the organiser of the Lilly Pilly Choir said.
"This is a wonderful event, NAIDOC Week for me is about sharing our culture and this event is doing just that."
Growing up in Hervey Bay, Stevan Ober is a proud Torres Strait Islander whose family was adopted by the local indigenous community.
The Volunteer Marine Rescue skipper of almost two decades was recognised for his passion for Torres Strait Islander health.
Mr Ober has also visited communities around Queensland to present up-skilling workshops, particularly in remote communities
"The community has shown their faith in me and I will always find a way to give back," he said.
"The Aunties and Uncles in our community have taught me so many key lessons and values growing up."
2. Becoming a 'voice' to promote culture
KUNURANG Krew was born out of a cultural need in 2017, says founder Susan Tobane.
The Maryborough group was recognised with Hervey Bay's Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers coordinator Conway Burns for embodying the 2019 NAIDOC theme of "Voice, Treaty, Truth".
After participating in an cultural immersion event in New Zealand in March last year, Kururang Krew continued to nurture cultural spirit in song, dance and teaching the Butchulla language.
"It's all about identity and having strong cultural roots to be able to contribute positively on a personal and professional level in the community and in family," Ms Tobane said.
Mr Burns is also a project officer for Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation and runs the junior ranger program in schools.
3. Going above and beyond for others
HERVEY Bay's Shelly Howden and Maryborough's Sharly Murdoch go above and beyond their roles at work to improve the lives of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Jointly awarded Community Person of the Year, the women were described as leaders in their communities.
Heavily involved in community events and promoting culture, Ms Howden said her passion had always been enhancing her community.
"I am a proud Butchulla woman from the Owens clan," she said.
"I live, studied and work in helping improve lives."
Ms Murdoch works both in community promotions as well as closing the gap with the primary health care service.
She is currently organising the first Well Women's Yarning Circle in Hervey Bay.
4. Meet our business game-changers
FRASER Coast businesses committed to providing services and resources for Aboriginal and Tores Strait Islanders as well as contributes toward reconciliation have been recognised.
Galangoor Duwalami Primary Healthcare Service collected the award for NAIDOC week Business Organisation for Maryborough as a result of collaborations with health and wellbeing partners working to contribute to health policy and reform to Close the Gap.
Open for just 18 months, Hervey Bay's Nullawokka Gallery not only features local products but also promote Indigenous food and runs cultural workshops.
5. Youth role models leading by example
FROM digital innovation to kicking career goals, the winners of the Young Male and Female Leaders Award cover all bases.
Hervey Bay's Rose Robe, 20, is not only working in her dream job a decade earlier than expected but the Deadly Choices officer is humble on and off the sporting field.
Zane Allsopp from Hervey Bay impressed the judges with his media skills, especially drone coverage of K'gari, communicating with all ages in the digital age.
Maryborough's Katrina Baker completed the Community-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teacher Education Program at Maryborough State High School and is going on to study teaching at university.
Maryborough State High school's Walter Pickles, 17, volunteers at homework club and mentors young people in the Aboriginal and Tores Strait Islander community.
6. RECONCILIATION: 'It's all about respect'
FOR Mark Staib, it doesn't matter what race or skin colour you are - everyone deserves respect.
And so does local Butchulla country.
A recipient of the Naidoc Week Reconciliation Award that recognises non-indigenous individuals' contribution to reconciliation, Mr Staib shared the honour with Maryborough's Martine Britton.
As Hervey Bay PCYC's indigenous sport and recreation coordinator, Mr Staib works to provide opportunities from discos to sporting events.
Ms Britton is described by her peers as working hard to unite the community within Maryborough.