More than 100 people enjoyed the winter sun at the Bushman Hill Indigenous Precinct in celebration of NAIDOC Week 2021 on Saturday.
The crowd was captivated by 11-year-old Middleton Public School student Tyrece Robinson’s impressive didgeridoo playing. He opened the program with a special message in Wiradjuri language of “Respect to me, Respect to you, Respect to this country and Respect to our elders”, and then proceeded to play the didgeridoo beautifully with only ten months of learning behind him. Tyrece also joined the River Spirit Dancers showcasing some traditional dances accompanied by excellent explanations.
Another highlight of the day was the NAI-DOC Award ceremony conducted by Deputy Mayor Barbara Newton and Aunty Ka-ren Hawken to recognise the outstanding contributions that Indigenous residents in the Parkes Shire make to improve the lives of other Indigenous people, to promote Indigenous issues in the wider community, or the excellence they’ve shown in their chosen field.
Torin Hando received the Community Person of the Year award and Matty Price from Parkes High School was named Youth of the Year.
Torin said he was shocked to be nominated, but pretty proud of himself. He has been recognised as being an inspiring young leader in the community, his involvement in supporting the youth and his commitment and success working on drug, alcohol and mental health issues in the community.
He works full time as an Aboriginal Health Worker at the Peak Hill Aboriginal Medical Service, and runs a boys group in Peak Hill and a homework group in Parkes. He has about 16 kids in the weekly boys group to help keep them off the street and teaching them about respect. “I am very happy to be doing this work in my home town.”
His message to young people is to never give up. “There are always barriers along the way, but there are always ways around them.”