Three people in front of a mural

Healthy partnership: Nathan Briggs and Jamie Dowse from Werin Aboriginal Corporation and MNCLHD's Network Aboriginal Health Manager Warren Ahoy.

NAIDOC Week keeps the fires burning across the district

Jul 11, 2024

Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) teams proudly joined other organisations and the community to celebrate NAIDOC Week this week.

NAIDOC Week is a time to recognise and honour the history, rich culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

From cultural activities to health programs, we are committed to celebrating and learning together.

At Wauchope District Memorial Hospital and Coffs Harbour Health Campus, flag-raising ceremonies of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags marked the beginning of the celebrations.

Macksville District Hospital hosted a significant event organised by the Aboriginal Health team, which included a smoking ceremony led by Aunty Cheryl Donovan, a Welcome to Country and a morning tea.

Coffs Harbour was a hub of activity, with dozens of organisations coming together for another highly successful Aboriginal Health Forum. 

The forum’s highlight was the annual Koori Cook Off, a friendly yet competitive event won this year by the NSW Police Force. 

Bellinger River District Hospital and Dorrigo Multi Purpose Service also participated in the celebrations by hosting a morning tea, where staff gathered to respect, acknowledge and celebrate the First Nations peoples’ heritage.

At Kempsey District Hospital numerous local organisations came together with MNCLHD staff enriching this year’s event.  Uncle John Kelly cleansed the crowd with a smoking ceremony as the gathering reflected on the importance of cultural recognition and achievements within the healthcare space.

MNCLHD Aboriginal leaders spoke at events on what NAIDOC Week means and the work we all do towards the recognition of our First Nations people.

“Acknowledging our people is not just about wearing the [Aboriginal design] shirts or the badge,” said Aboriginal Health Worker Adrian Daley in his acknowledgement of Country on Birpai land.

“It’s about the work we do every day bringing healthcare to our communities. We have Aboriginal people in all sorts of roles in the district, people we can all look up to and for our young people to aspire to. I feel privileged to live on Birpai Country and work alongside these people.”

Director Aboriginal Health and Primary Partnerships Robyn Martin thanked the team at Port Macquarie Community Health for contributing to NAIDOC festivities on Tuesday, whether it was organising people, setting up, bringing in home-cooked food or flowers from their garden.

Robyn said the NAIDOC Week theme, ‘Keep the fire burning! Blak, Loud and Proud’ manifests in different ways across the district.

“It’s our people learning and connecting with our partners in the community like Werin [Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre], it’s doing the work to launch our Aboriginal Health Strategic Framework, it’s standing by your Aboriginal colleagues when they call out racism, it’s about the models of care we provide our people, and it’s about the people we walk alongside and work with daily in the services we provide to the community. These are the dots that join together to make a difference,” Robyn said.

Hastings Macleay Clinical Network Aboriginal Health Manager Warren Ahoy spoke at the flag-raising at Wauchope District Memorial Hospital.

“The theme is about being proud of who you are,” Warren said.

“For me, it’s also about acknowledging where you come from and the people in the past who rallied and marched so that we have a voice.”

Special thanks to all MNCLHD staff who attended these celebrations, particularly the Aboriginal Health teams, whose efforts and dedication ensured the success of these events. 

Click on the photo below to view a gallery.


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