Hedland home to national NAIDOC winner
Esteemed Hedland education and indigenous advocate Maureen Kelly has just been honoured as Australia’s Female NAIDOC Elder of the Year at the national NAIDOC Awards held in Hobart.
The prestigious ceremony, which saw Mrs Kelly win the award jointly with fellow nominee Margaret Lawton from Queensland, showcased some of the country’s most dedicated indigenous members including, among several winners, Australian footballer and youth advocate David Wirrpanda who was named Person of the Year.
Of winning the award, Mrs Kelly said she was very humbled.
“It makes a difference to my family supporters, friends and elders who have guided me along the way to know that I have listened and learned from them,” Mrs Kelly said.
“There are many leaders and achievers in our community who deserves to be recognised; maybe others will step up and nominate others who are deserving.”
Mrs Kelly would like to see a mother’s, father’s and carer’s award for NAIDOC too, knowing many people in our community and all over the country who deserve it.
Her extensive professional and life experiences have included participating in and speaking at international conferences on many topics of indigenous empowerment and culture building.
Just last year she attended the indigenous conference WIPCE in Cusco Peru and returned very moved by learning more about the experiences of Aboriginal peoples of the world.
In Port Hedland the company Mrs Kelly runs, Sing-Kenken Solutions, builds community engagement, leadership training, financial literacy, parent and community engagement and school partnerships, among many pursuits to improve the pathways for indigenous people.
“I would like to think I would be able to attract some good employment opportunities for my business from this award,” she said.
This award follows on from Mrs Kelly’s nomination as Australian of the Year earlier in 2012 and winning Hedland’s NAIDOC Elder of the Year award in 2011.
Mrs Kelly was the only West Australian award recipient at the Hobart event last week.
She is not only a parent, but a grand and great grandparent too.