Bond University stage surprise honour for trailblazing Indigenous women for NAIDOC Week

July 9, 2018

Bond University staged a surprise video screening to honour five outstanding Indigenous women in the lead-up to NAIDOC Week.

Bond University Fellow Aunty Joyce Summers, tireless community worker Aunty Maureen Newton, Tweed teacher and author Aunty Kath Lena and Bond PhD candidate and lawyer Dani Larkin were invited to a campus morning tea to launch the annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander observance celebration which runs nationally from July 8 to 15.

What they didn’t realise was that they were the ones being celebrated.

In line with this year’s NAIDOC Week theme – ‘Because of Her, We Can!’ – the University had secretly filmed family members, friends, colleagues and students of each honoree outlining how these women had paved the way and changed outcomes for the next generation.

After surprising the women by showing the moving and tearful tributes at the morning tea, the event MC, Bond’s Indigenous Cultural Support Officer, Narelle Urquhart, was surprised herself when an unexpected final video featured a series of students sharing how Narelle had changed their lives.

 “The women we have honoured are trailblazers and activists who have not just inspired us, but have made it possible for us to live the lives we live,” said Narelle.

 “Between them, Aunty Joyce, Aunty Kath and Aunty Maureen have been instrumental in establishing just about every Indigenous service in the Gold Coast and Tweed regions.

“They’ve advocated for better health care, housing, education and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and they’ve been at the forefront of the fight for equal rights and justice.

“It’s because of their hard work and dedication that we have the services that we have … that our children are well educated and have access to healthcare … that we are connected to our culture.

“We also wanted to honour our emerging leaders by including Dani Larkin who is a wonderful role model and mentor for our Indigenous students on campus, constantly encouraging them to be proud of their history and heritage.”

The honour role would not have been complete without the inclusion of Narelle who is a second mother to Bond’s Indigenous students.

“I feel really honoured and blessed,” she said.

“I thought the surprises were over but was told there was one more video – and there were my students up on the screen, talking about me.”

The Bond University NAIDOC Week celebratory video can be viewed on Bond’s YouTube Channel.

The morning tea heralds the start of a series of NAIDOC Week events at Bond University.

It was followed on Friday 6 July by the launch of the 2019 Indigenous Scholarship Program, attended by key corporate sponsors and community supporters who have collectively contributed more than $2million towards Indigenous education since the University’s focussed Indigenous Education Strategy was introduced six years ago.

Bond University’s NAIDOC Week activities also include:

  • Sunday 8 July
    • Runday Funday with Health Sciences & Medicine - 8-11am
  • Monday 9th July
    • Knowledge Sharing Nyombil Centre - 11am-12pm
    • Bones of Contention, Level 3 meeting room (4_3_34) - 12-1pm
  • Tuesday 10th July
    • Flag Raising, Adco Amphitheatre - 9.30-10.30am
    • Basket Weaving, Nyombil Centre – 11am-1pm
  • Wednesday 11 July  
    • Wednesday By the Water Indigenous Cookup & Painting, Ornamental Lawns – 12-2pm
    • The Future for Indigenous Women Panel, University Club - 5.30-7pm
  • Thursday 12th July
    • Native Flower Bouquet Class, Nyombil Centre - 11am-1pm
  • Friday 13th July
    • NAIDOC Day, Musgrave Park - All Day
  • Sunday 15th July
    • End of NAIDOC Week Celebration and Film Festival, Lawn area outside Dons Tavern  - 3-7pm