Perfect weather greeted the Wawi Cultural Day on Sunday to mark the closing of the inaugural Wawi Festival by Wagga’s NAIDOC Committee.
The week-long festival celebrated local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture, starting with the casual NAIDOC ‘Yarn Up’ gathering at Marrambidya Wetlands.
At the cultural day at Wollundry Lagoon, there were traditional performances, food and drinks and artefacts on show, including a life-size Wawi – the Rainbow Serpent.
“There’s been different performances and various activities during the day, including possum skin-clothes workshops and storytelling," committee member Ash Pengelly said.
As well, there were various service providers, including CSU Indigenous Student Services and Anglicare’s Lifetime Learning program.
Ms Pengelly said the week had “been success after success”.
“We had the high tea on Monday based on the 2018 NAIDOC Week theme of ‘Because of Her, We Can’,” she said.
“We also celebrated our female elders for all the hard work they do.”
Last Wednesday, the committee held a cultural tour of Aboriginal Significant Sites, where about 50 people attended.
“The feedback for that was amazing, particularly about the cultural education” Ms Pengelly said.
On Friday night, the committee held a ball and awards night.
The feedback for that was amazing, particularly about the cultural education.Ash Pengelly, Wawi Festival committee member
“It was really well attended, where we handed out awards to six local Aboriginal people and one non-Aboriginal person for their contributions to our community,” Ms Pengelly said.
Artist Tyronne Hoerler, who received the Young Person of the Year award, said the even was a positive influence on the community.
“It’s great because we need to do more and today, I can see all the smiles on the kids’ faces,” Mr Hoerler said.
Mr Hoerler held a painting demonstration as part of the cultural day event and said he was more than happy to help.
“The kids get amongst it and paint by themselves,” he said.
The Wawi Festival is set to be an annual cultural event.
“It’s the very first time that we’ve done something like this; it’ll be back bigger and better next year,” Ms Pengelly said.
The 2018 NAIDOC awards
- Young Person of the Year: Tyronne Hoerler
- Sportsperson of the Year: Stephen Smith
- Caring for Country Award: Peter Ingram
- Community Person of the Year: Leanne Sanders
- Appreciation Award: Dr John Rudder
- Arts and Culture Award: Lorraine Tye
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Joyce Hampton
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