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Proudly presents


6th World First Nations Traditional Knowledge


Date: 25th, 26th, 27th August, 2023

Venue: 129 Sutherland Drive

Taromeo, Queensland, 4306


(Say it Loud, Say it Clear, We were Always Here!!)


The 6th World First Nations Traditional Knowledge Gathering is centred around these key themes as outlined;

1. LORE: Traditional Lore and Customary Practices; this session will include dialogue around the importance of maintaining our Lores and Customary Practices for the betterment of our First Nations Communities here and around the World.


2. KNOWLEDGE: First Nations Knowledge and Ways of Being; this session will involve the collective sharing of First Nations Knowledge and Ways of Being, our epistemologies, how do we know what we know? It will incorporate the wisdom handed down from our Ancestors.


3. CULTURE: Making meaning of our Cultural Stories, Songs, Languages and Dances; this session will explore our cultural stories, songs shared through language and dance.


4. MEDICINE & HEALING: Traditional Bush Medicines & Ways of Healing; this session will explore Traditional ways of Healing and through ancient Knowledge & Wisdom from our Elders and Ancestors.


5. SPIRIT: Wellness Pathways for our Spiritual, Social, Emotional & Psychological Health and Wellbeing; this session will encompass the core components for health and wellness utilising Traditional Knowledge Systems.


6. LAW: Cultural Ways of Knowing & Cultural Ways of Doing in Law & Justice; discussions and dialogue in this session will examine core components of Traditional Knowledge & Traditional Ways of Doing to address issues surrounding Law and Justice.


7. ENVIRONMENT: Dialogue in this session will encompass ways in which to care for Mother Earth, drawing on the wisdom of our Ancestors, and looking at our old ways of Knowing, Seeing, Being and Doing. Discussions will also involve the current local, national and global situation in light of climate change and its impact on our Lands, Water, Rivers, Waterways, Islands and Oceans. 


8. CARING FOR COUNTRY: Delegates will learn about our Permaculture Food Forest and Community Garden, and they will be given the opportunity to plant Native plants, bush medicines, bush foods, fruit trees, organic herbs and vegetables

**Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other First Nations People are warned that this website contains images of Loved Ones that participated in our gatherings, workshops and conferences who are now deceased.  We honour them and pay homage and utmost respect to them and to all of their Loved Ones.** 


This year 2023 marks the 6th World First Nations Traditional Knowledge Gathering. Here are scenes from our previous events; showcasing all of the beautiful people who have presented and those who have been involved in putting this event together and making this a wonderful time of caring and sharing of our Traditional Knowledge as First Nations Peoples of the World. 

****Check out our promotional video from previous Gatherings, click on this link;



The World First Nations Traditional Knowledge Gathering will be held out on Country. We are encouraging people to come, bring their tents and camp there, and use the facilities that we will be providing on the land.


Bed & Breakfast, AIRBNB, Hotels & Motels are located at nearby towns which are just 10 to 20 minutes away from the Gathering site; these towns are Blackbutt, Moore, Linville, Yarraman and Nanango.  Accommodation for caravans and vans are also available at the Blackbutt showgrounds where there are hot showers and toilet facilities.


**Check on Google Maps for the exact locations.




Who should attend:

Scholars, Educators, Researchers, Elders, Community Members, Counsellors, Social Scientists, Botanists, Cross-Cultural Educators, Social Workers, Community Development Workers, Human Service Workers, Health Workers, Traditional Healers, Holistic Practitioners and Natural Therapists

Cost: $300... (Full Price for 3 days)

Early Bird: $250... ( Early Bird Registration and payment must be received by 30th June, 2023)

Presenters Fee: $200  

Elders & Students Fee: $100

All Meals & Refreshments are included

(Gathering Dinner complimentary for all delegates)

Registration​ will be accepted and confirmed upon Debit Card Payment via Bank Transfer to:

Commonwealth Bank of Australia


BSB: 064-138

ACCOUNT NO: 1063 2400


FOR CREDIT CARD PAYMENT VIA PAYPAL ~~~ PAY HERE [There are 6 payment options, choose one]

Please click on the 'Buy Now' button below for Full Conference Registration & Payment


1. Full registration & payment

2. Early Bird registration & payment

3. For 2 Days attendance

4. For 1 day attendance

5. Elders & students fees

6. Presenters Fees

Malu Mai Wellness

Consultancy proudly presents our Special Guest Speakers 

Dr. Fiona Wirrer-George

Director and Principal Consultant to Arnya Pulway

Tribal affiliation / Lineage: Alngith-Liningithi (Weipa), Mbaiwum-Trotj (Sudley), and Wik Apaleech (Wik Homelands) Languages: Napranum Home Language (Creole), Alngith/Liningithi, and English


Dr. Fiona Wirrer-George is a descendant of the Alngith, Wik & Wik-Way, and Mbaiwum Nations of Western Cape York through her mother’s lineage and currently resides on her traditional homelands in Weipa.

She is a First Nations methodologist and researcher specializing in reconciliation, integrating cultural systems, and culturally integrated methods of healing and capacity building.

Dr. Wirrer-George has over 50 years of lived experience of Western Cape culture and social systems and is one of the last remaining carriers of the Alngith and Liningithi language, culture, legends, and stories. She is the first Western Cape (Wik, Alngith, and Mbaiwum) person to graduate with an academic PhD and she has over 30 years of literature experience including Whispers of this Wik Woman, which won the prestigious David Unaipon award in 2004.

In 2019, Dr. Wirrer-George was the recipient of the prestigious Indigenous Research Training Program Stipend (RTPSI) for her PhD research topic – The Call of Lineage: A Living Epistemology, which was completed in 2021 through James Cook University in Cairns. She has a background in education and the creative industries and has developed a number of frameworks and programs that merge creative expression as a culturally integrated modality of voice.


Artist Bio

Fiona Wirrer-George Oochunyung is a Western Cape York-based artist. Tribal affiliation is to Mbaiwum/Trotj, Alngith/Liningithi and Wik Apalich Nations. Fiona’s background is in Performance Theatre, Choreography, Literature and Academic research.


She draws from Western Cape epistemology, ontology and axiology to determine her creative vocabulary and modes of expression.


Artist Statement

I draw from the epistemology of Wik and Wikway systems. What we know, how we know and what is determined of value according to the systems and frameworks of Lore. My knowledge bank is the result of lived experience as well as intentional teachings carried out by primarily my maternal grandmother in context. The amalgamation of process, song, dance and relational connectivity frames and governs knowledge acquisition, utilization and depiction. My work is also primarily contemporary in genre. It is an auto-ethnographical approach to reception and interpretation.  The land from which I was maternally born from feeds my creative foundations as well as remains in dialogue with process unfolding.


Educational Background

• Bachelor of Education: Primary: James Cook University (2003).

• Master of Education: Major in School Guidance & Counselling: University of Queensland Technology (2012).

• Doctorate in Philosophy: First Nation Methodology/Auto-ethnography: James Cook University (2021). (PhD Exegesis: The Call of Lineage: A Living Epistemology).



• Diploma in Dance: Naisda, Sydney, NSW (1990).

• Cert IV in Workplace Training & Assessment: Southbank Institute of Technology (2007).

• Cert IV in Small Business Management: Mission Australia (2013).

• Grad Cert in Research Methodology: James Cook University (2017).



• A Living Epistemology, James Cook University, 2022

• Ebony: Strong Heart, Garratt Publishing, 2014

• Double Native, University of Queensland Press, 2012

• Jindah Murray: Wind Dancer, Oxford University Press, 2011

• On Country – Stories of Nyrlotte, University of Queensland Press, 2006

• Whispers of this Wik Woman, University of Queensland Press, 2004



In addition to her academic work, Dr. Wirrer-George has represented Australia in Canada and Europe with her creative and literature works. Notable tours include:

• Honoring words 2003

• Hosted in Vancouver

• Represented Australia in First Nations literature

• Ars Electronica Festival 2005

• Hosted in Austria

• Artist in residence

• Cultural exchange

• Talking stick 2006

• North America’s premier First Nations arts and culture festival

• Hosted in Vancouver

• Contributor

• Cultural exchange

• Performer

• PhD Research in Canada 2017

• Comparative analyses

• Honorary stipend

• Cultural exchange


Additionally, Dr. Wirrer-George regularly contributes to panels and public discussions including the Wik vs QLD documentary hosted by the Australian journalist Kerry O’Brien. Other panels and interviews include:

• AIATSIS Summit May/June 2022. Navigating the Spaces in Between. Panelist. Sunshine Coast, Australia

• First-nations methodologies

• Arnya Songline Methodology

• Perspectives Exhibition Launch April 2022. Aboriginal Art Co. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

• Contributor/Artist

• University of Stuttgart 2021. Germany

• (Un)Belonging: In Search of New Representations: An Australian Studies Symposium

• Guest Speaker

• Indigenous Methodologies

• Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2016. Cairns, Queensland, Australia

• Indigenous methodologies. Cairns, Queensland, Australia

• National Anthropological Society 2018. Cairns, Queensland, Australia

• Wik Cha’parah: Multi-modal Performative Arnya Lecture (2018)

• The Cairns Institute, James Cook University. Cairns, FNQ, Australia

• Ngograchaahn Songline Dreaming: Multi-modal Performative Lecture (2019)

• Idiwirra: A Living Epistemology: Multi-modal Performative Lecture (2021)

• Schools up North, Cairns, FNQ, Australia

• Advisor

• Time Trials Digital Resource

• Wik vs QLD Documentary 2019. Cape York, Australia

• Television documentary

• Panel discussions


Whilst Dr. Fiona Wirrer-George has been actively involved in academia since 2012 she has also operated as a freelance educator, workshop facilitator, public speaker, and creative performer for the past 30 years. Throughout her creative career, she has choreographed for globally recognized events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Australian Indigenous Fashion Week and she has also contributed her skills and knowledge to academic and community focused organizations. 

Examples have been listed below and further information on her current work and research can be found on her website at

• Intertwined: Choreographer/Performer Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia (2018)

• Wandan (Choreographer CIAF:2017)

• Jana Jaral (Choreographer/Performer CIAF: 2016)

• Leadership: Coordinator of Women’s Collective (My Pathways, 2016)

• Deputy Mayor: Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council (2016-2017)

• Lecturer: James Cook University, Cairns, Australia (2016-2018)

• Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (Choreographer/Performer VAMFF: 2016)

• Birrimbi Dulgu Bajal: Cairns Indigenous Art Fare (Choreographer CIAF: 2015)

• QLD Education, Aurukun 2014

• Blak to Front (2008)

• Whispers of this Wik Woman: The Play Kooemba Jdarra (2007)

• The Murri School, Brisbane, Australia (2004 – 2008)

• A Bastard’s Tale: Talking Stick Festival (Vancouver, Canada 2006)/Artist in Residence, (Kollmitzberg, Austria 2005)/Magdalena Festival, Shiela’s Shorts, Brisbane, Australia 2001


Phone: 0449746176


Linkedin: https://aulinkedin.comfiona-wirrer-george-199235219




Mr Gerry Turpin, Mbabaram, Bachelor of Science (Botany)

Senior Ethnobotanist

Australian Tropical Herbarium

Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre


Gerry is an Mbabaram man from North Queensland with familial links to Wadjanburra Yidinjii, Nadjon and Kuku Thaypan. He currently manages the Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre at the Australian Tropical Herbarium, in partnership with James Cook University, Department of Environment and Science, and CSIRO. 


Gerry has worked with many Traditional Owner and Ranger groups in Queensland and other states. As a First Nations ethnobotanist Gerry has a strong cultural commitment to facilitating effective partnerships that support Indigenous communities to protect, manage and maintain their cultural knowledge on the use of plants. 


Gerry works in the area of Indigenous Biocultural Knowledge (IBK) recording and documentation, Two-Way Science (IBK & Western Science working together), Education and Training, and Cultural and Intellectual Property. Currently, he is undertaking a Masters Degree on Ethnobotany and the Biological Activities of Mbabaram Medicinal Plants. 


In 2013, Gerry was awarded the first ever science award at the 2013 National Indigenous Deadly Awards for best scientist or science Project of the Year category.


Video links showcasing Gerry's work and contribution to First Nations Communities throughout the Country:


TEDxJCUCairns -


Traditional Knowledge and Biodiscovery


Ms Sandra King (Order of Australia Medal, O.A.M) Magandjin (Brisbane) Quandamooka, Bundjalung and South Sea Islander Nations, Managing Director of Sandra King Management, Renowned Aboriginal Fashion Parade Director, Trainer, Presenter, Event and Project Manager and Motivational Speaker. Reconcilition Action Plan Coordinator, Anglican Church, Southern Queensland.

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Sandra is a Magandjin (Brisbane) born woman of Quandamooka, Bundjalung and Tanna Island (Vanuatu, South Pacific) ancestry.  Sandra is recognised and acknowledged as an Elder in the community.


Sandra King Management aims to achieve the greatest possible impact upon the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community by delivering practical, inspiring, marketable and engaging projects. Sandra King is a former Aboriginal model who directs, manages and presents Indigenous events, fashion parades, model training and community programs. Sandra's involvement with modelling began when she was 14 years of age. She is known throughout the community for passing on her knowledge and guidance while engaging in cultural discussions with Elders, professional Indigenous business men and women and the community.

Her programs and work experience are many and varied, including Black to Basics program for disadvantaged women and youth, Deportment, Personal Empowerment Program (PEP Talk), Leadership Programs, Indigenous history presented to teachers and Stolen Generation discussions.

Events involving Sandra's professional services have included breaking down the barriers in the arts and modelling and fashion industries, reconcilliation, directing Indigenous parades, managing and coordinating Indigenous performers and artists in local, state, national and international events.  



Sandra is the founder of the well-known annual Black, Bold & Beautiful Indigenous Women’s Luncheon since 2009.  Her latest successful Black, Bold and Beautiful Event was held in March 2023 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, where 600 people were in attendance at this magnificent event.


Sandra is currently the Reconcilliation Action Plan Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Queensland, based in Magandjin (Brisbane).  At the Gathering, Sandra will share her journey in researching her family's history and its importance for all First Nations People to do so.

For more information about Sandra's extensive community work, visit

Dr Sharlotte Tusasiirwe, Social Work lecturer at Western Sydney University, New South Wales, Australia

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Dr Sharlotte Tusasiirwe is a First Nations African woman tracing her ancestry from the Basingo clan

of Banyankore/Bakiiga/Bahororo tribe of Western Uganda, East of Africa. Our totem is the Murara

cow and our friendly bird is the Ibis.

Having been born and socialised in a village community, I have the lived experiences of what it is like to have the extended family and community at the centre of preventing and responding to any social problems. However, after going to universities in Uganda, Sweden, and Australia, to study Social Work, I was challenged to see that our Indigenous knowledge systems and the Indigenous ways of helping I grew up experiencing were at the periphery of what was defined as ‘social work proper’ or professional social work. 


I have thus been researching and publishing in the area of decolonisation of social work and I am passionate about seeing culturally appropriate and respectful social work practice and education around the world. I am currently a Social Work lecturer at Western Sydney University, and I am interested in the areas of Community-led as opposed to community-based initiatives; African spirituality; Indigenous epistemologies; international social work, among others.


As a mother of two children, I have been experiencing the challenges of bringing up African children

in the diaspora, in a way that values and centres their ways of being and doing and cultural

knowledge and values, and their natural identity in terms of skin colour tone, kinky curly hair etc.


Together with other African parents, families of alliance have been established where conversations

and village-like upbringing of children is being attempted, amidst the challenges.

Amidst such turbulences and threats to culture and identity, such First Nations traditional

knowledge gathering provides a safe space to yarn, revalue, encourage each other, heal together,

nurture and validate the strengths in the lore, knowledge, culture, healing, spirituality, etc. Don’t

miss to be part of the big story. See you there.

Mr Henry Ndala Yao Tribe (Yao language) South of Malawi, Southeast of AFRICA

Social Worker / Lecturer, School of Social Work, Australian College of Applied Professions, Melbourne Campus, Victoria, Australia.

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Henry is a Social Work Practitioner and Lecturer in the School of Social Work at the Australian College of Applied Professions in Melbourne. He lectures in Social Work Theories (Bachelors & Masters Programs) and Australian Society (Postgraduate Certificate).



Henry has been a Social Worker for the past 17 years and has worked predominantly in the areas of Child Protection and Youth Justice in Auckland, Aotearoa / New Zealand, Meekatharra, Western Australia, Port Augusta, South Australia and in Sheparton, Victoria.  


In Aotearoa, Henry was the Unit Manager in the Department of Child, Youth and Families.  In Australia, Henry worked as a Child Protection Team Manager and Senior Child Protection Practitioner.  In Malawi, Henry worked as a Junior Clinical Medical Doctor, and supported individuals and families in their medical and health needs.  He also worked as a Medical Researcher in communicable diseases, and social diseases.



The country of Malawi was a British Protectorate for over 120 years. Malawi became independent from the British Protectorate in 1964. Unlike other countries in the African Continent, Malawi never went to war to get their independence from the British. Malawians fought in the 1st and 2nd World War on the side of the British. In this case they are considered as a peaceful country and also known as the warm heart of Africa. 


The Yao Tribe originally migrated from Mozambique in Southeast Africa. His people have a Matriarchal system where the women are in charge and are the leaders who make important decisions for the family, and because of this matriarchal system there are much less family violence than the rest of the country where there is a patriarchal system. For example, when a man marries a woman, he must then move in with the women’s family and live with them in their household and follow their rules. Henry grew up in this system, there is no lobola payment (bride price). Henry will share with you his cultural stories and journey from Malawi to Australia.

Madonna Thomson Jagera Nation

Indigenous Cultural Integrity and Governance Specialist (Goori Society & South East Queensland eco-systems)


Cultural Affiliations - Goori Society:

Jagera/Yagara, Mununjali, Minjunbul,

Migunburri, & Gidabul Nations


Madonna Thomson is a member of the Jagera People and is a grand-niece of the late Senator Neville Bonner. Madonna has worked with Aboriginal Communities in South East Queensland with a particular focus on developing and sharing traditional knowledge about management of the State’s natural resources and environment.



Lived experience and knowledge in:

• Goori laws & customs

• Engagement practises

• Cultural governance, competency & safety

• Cultural heritage & protocols

• Indigenous cultural and ecological

• intellectual property

• Native title negotiations & processes

• Right-way science (native botanicals

• research, Indigenous applied ecological

• practices & community engagement)

• Indigenous business development


Madonna has worked extensively for more than 20 years in native title, cultural heritage and natural resource management. Madonna was instrumental in developing a regional engagement framework, in consultation with the Traditional Owner groups of South East Queensland. The engagement framework guided government and community engagement with Traditional Owner groups for seven years, creating a more effective process and mechanism for meaningful engagement, based on community principles.


Madonna has presented at numerous international, national and state conferences on Indigenous engagement and governance in Native Title, Cultural Heritage and Natural Resource Management.

For more than 12 years, Madonna has been involved in the facilitation of

Aboriginal engagement in Natural Resource Management programs at state and national levels. She is adept at the negotiation of Indigenous Land Use Agreements and Cultural Heritage Management Plans/Agreements. Madonna creates and builds corporate and governance models, facilitates organisational capacity building and advises on accountability and business management.


As managing director of Jagera Daran, Madonna is an experienced founding operator of a successful and respected Queensland Indigenous cultural heritage business as well as a co-owner and Director of Nyanda Cultural Tours.  It’s been a natural progression into the agriculture, ecology & tourism sectors, with so many new and fantastic employment opportunities being generated for Aboriginal people across these sectors. 


Madonna is looking forward to further contributing to an extraordinary Aboriginal legacy for the Brisbane area.

Madonna is one of the founding members of the recently incorporated Independent Indigenous Tourism Operators of Qld (IITOQ), which is designed to showcase, support and promote Indigenous tourism businesses across Indigenous cultural tourism, environmental tourism, food, hospitality, retail and the arts.


She is also the chair of the University of Queensland Indigenous Enterprise Group (the IEG is comprised of Indigenous native food business across Australia), working with chemical engineering students and food scientists in the ethical research of Australian native foods. Madonna assists researchers in connecting with Aboriginal communities and businesses for the purposes of translating scientific research in the development of research informed food products, that Indigenous communities and families can use to enter into the native foods industry.



0435 795 337


Dr Stephen Corporal {Eastern Arrernte} BSW, BA (Psych), Prof Cert IR, MSocPol, Grad Cert ILR, PhD, JP (Qual)

Deputy Chair of the Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) Northern Territory Workforce Development. Stephen is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Data Science, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane. Sessional Tutor in Health Needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (QUT).

Dr Stephen Corporal is an Eastern Arrernte man with close family and cultural connections to many other First Nations people.  He was born in Townsville and resides in southeast Queensland. 

Stephen is currently the Deputy Chair of the Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) Northern Territory Workforce Development. Dr Corporal works at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Data Science. He is also Sessional Tutor in Health Needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians based at QUT.

Dr Corporal recently completed a PhD titled “Identity, roles, and expectations influence on Indigenous university students when building the Indigenous health workforce” at Griffith University. He was a Lecturer, Researcher and Student Supervisor at the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University.  He was actively involved in the Griffith University Health Executive to develop and implement strategies to increase recruitment and retention of First Nations students. 


Over many years, Dr Stephen Corporal has been actively involved in grassroots community work as the Coordinator of the Welfare section at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Services and worked as Counsellor / Welfare Worker for 10 years. He was the Chairperson of Gallang Place Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Counselling Services and an active member over 20 years. 


Stephen has contributed significantly to community as a Board of Director on various organisations in the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for many years before completing his Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) degrees at the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2003. 


Dr Stephen Corporal was the President of the Social Work Alumni at the University of Queensland from 2006-2007.  He was the 2003 UQ Social Behavioural Sciences Valedictorian and President of the Social Work Students Association (SWSA)at the University of Queensland. Stephen was also the Indigenous Postgraduate Representative for James Cook University Postgraduate Student Association and the Indigenous Peoples Liaison Officer on the Council of Australian Postgraduates Association.


He also completed a Masters of Social Policy at James Cook University and a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Leadership and Research at the University of Melbourne, Victoria.

Dr Stephen Corporal also worked as the Senior Student Support Officer at the UQ Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit from 2005 to 2009 and he was the Indigenous Recruitment Manager at the University of Queensland School of Medicine until 2011. 


Stephen has worked tirelessly in academia and for community and is a highly respected  member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. 

Ms. Iris Silva Brito, Social Worker & Lecturer: Australian College of Applied Professions, School of Social Work, Melbourne Campus, Victoria, Australia.

Hi, I am Iris Silva Brito. I was born in Brazil. I have a Native African and Portuguese heritage. My African Ancestors/ relatives lived the horrors of colonization and the slavery period in Brazil in the late 19th Century. In fact, my grandmother from my father’s side was born in a slave compound, and my father worked as a slave in the early 20th century.

I am the eldest daughter of a family of 6 children. I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters. I grew up in Bahia- Brazil. Now, I am an Australian citizen and very happy living in this magnificent land.  I have a great interest in education, social policy, community work, public administration, and sciences. I have worked extensively in the public, private and non-government sectors as a Social Worker.


Over the last seven years, I have been involved in the education of the next generation of social workers with Noritta Morseu-Diop at the Australian College of Applied Professions - Discipline of Social Work. My search for and appreciation of knowledge comes from my parents who have dedicated their lives to the education of children living in economic poverty in the northeast of Brazil.


I am currently part of the board of governance of two inspiring organizations - Live and Learn Environmental Education and ATEC. These organizations draw my passion for working towards sustainability, social justice and human rights around the world.


I will see you at the Gathering, then, I will share with you a little more of my life story. See you there.

Dr Rumbidzai Nyanhoto, Shona woman of the Karanga tribe from Gutu in the Masvingo Province of Zimbabwe. National Academic Lead, Field Education at the Australian College of Applied Professions, Australia.

Dr Rumbidzai Nyanhoto is a Shona woman of the Karanga tribe from Gutu in the Masvingo Province of Zimbabwe, in Southern Africa. Our totem is Gumbo (animal leg).


After both of Rumbi's parents passed away at the age of 9, she was raised by extended family from the maternal side, the wonderful Manyika people of the Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe.


Having been raised by extended family Rumbi believes so much in the African saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.   She is passionate about building healthy relationships that contribute to building communities that promotes child and family wellbeing. Dr Nyanhoto has been active in the African community in providing couples relationship building education.


Dr Nyanhoto has extensive practice experience including clinical social work, family therapy and Child Protection. After practicing as a social worker in both the African and Australian context, she has seen the need for decolonising social work practices and acknowledging Indigenous ways of preserving families.


Dr Nyanhoto is an educator and researcher in the field of Social Work. Her publication record profiles peer reviewed journal articles exploring issues related to families and children, decolonization of social work education and social justice.


She is looking forward to sharing her story with you.

Mrs Jessie Mordey (Nee Ketchell) Torres Strait Islander Artist, Dauareb & Komet Clans, Meriam Nation and Wakaid Clan from Badhu (Badu) Island in the Torres Strait Archipelago, Far North Queensland, Australia.

My name is Jessie Mordey (Nee Ketchell), I was born and grew up on Tamwoy Town, Waiben (Thursday Island). I am a descendant of the Dauareb and Komet Clan and including the Kemer Kemer Meriam Nation and Wakaid Clan from Badhu (Badu) Island.


I was always interested in drawing but only recently started painting. My artwork has a contemporary flare to it but the story on the canvas still connects culturally to my Torres Strait Islander heritage. I bring the sky and the sea together reflecting my family & totemic animals. I have always loved the stars and interested in space. As a child I loved lying on the island mat gazing into the night sky looking for satellites and falling stars and be in awe with all that was above me.

I would like to showcase and share the stories handed down from my Ancestors through my artwork so that the viewers will be able to make connections and learn about Torres Strait Islander Culture.


• 2022 -2023 Iscariot Media – Brisbane

Provided Torres Strait Pattern Designs for organisation documents 

- Community Cultural Guest, Kondy Park Kindy

Torres Strait arts and craft with staff and children

• December 2022 Merging Of the World Exhibition

• 2018 Hervey Bay Sunshine Coast -Uni – Assisted in an interview/video for Teaching Modula, 

“Cultural awareness and how to emerge into community

• 2017 Griffith University South Banks Brisbane Cultural Guest Speaker (Art Students)

• 2016 – 2023 Iona Catholic College Brisbane Torres Strait Totem workshop

• 2008 - 2023 Cultural Support Officer – Primary & Secondary -  showcasing Torres Strait cultural arts and crafts

and assisting schools with NAIDOC Week Celebration (Island cooking, guest speaker, traditional games and cultural arts and crafts.


Jessie Mordey (nee Ketchell) Artist Statement

Maluilgal (Badhu - Wakaidal) and Meriam (Mer - Dauareb Clan and Komet Clan)

Zomered Style – ‘Mipla Totem’ will be showcasing my original artworks, as well as prints and merchandise with my art. My artwork has a contemporary flare to it but the story on the canvas still connects culturally to my Torres Strait Islander heritage and storyline. I depict my totemic animals to gaze back at the viewers with curiosity and to have this presence of mythical creatures from our stories. They are floating somewhere between the sea and the sky.

“Zomered” is a village on Mer (Murray Island) that belongs to the Passi family. 



My late grandfather; Sam Passi was the head of the Passi Clan and it was he who gave me that name. I am his eldest grandchild and my elders (Ata, Athe, Aka, Ama, Dad, Aunties and Uncles) call me Zomered and not Jessie when I visit Mer (Murray Island).

Mipla Totem” is a reference to my connection to family-line; a sense of belonging and my identity through totems that has been passed down from my ancestors. Currently I am drawn to my Turtle Totem. I have inherited the Waru/Nam/Totol Totem from both my father and mother’s family-line. Torres Strait Islanders believe, we connect spiritually to our totems and we take on their characteristics. Turtle symbolises; stamina, strength, home, sense of belonging and longevity. No matter where our journey may take us, we will always return home. Just like the turtles returning to their birth place to lay eggs for the birth of a new generation.

My artwork brings the sky and the sea together. As mentioned above, as a child I loved lying on the island mat gazing into the night sky, looking for satellites and falling stars and be in awe with all that was above me. The background in my artwork is inspired by Nebulae in space. A nebula would illuminate deep space in spectacular explosion of colours and shapes. Whether it’s a birth of a star or the end of one, the colours and patterns are breath taking. These beautiful colours exist in deep space and the deepest part of our oceans. The stars that fill the dark sky, the sea and sea animals have strong connection to Torres Strait culture, traditional stories and belief. As a Torres Strait Islander, I feel connected to these elements.

In our Torres Strait Island culture, the stars represent a guiding system for the changes of seasons on the land and sea, for gardening, hunting and to guide us on our way home. Our stories are also written in the stars. I am a direct descendant of the Dauareb Clan from Mer (Murray Island). The story of Tagai belongs to the Dauareb Clan. My Great Great Grandfather Aiet Pasi shared the Tagai Story with British Anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon. This story was recorded in Haddon’s 1888 -1898 Anthropology Report.

Torres Strait Intricate Patterns:

I would like to acknowledge that, the intricate patterns I use are influenced by patterns used on artefacts and clan body art in the Torres Strait. These patterns showcase the very essence of our identity and how unique these symbols are.  It’s a visual reference to our Torres Strait Islander heritage.  


Jessie will showcase her artwork at the Gathering and she will share her story with you.

Bio – Dr Vanessa Lee-Ah Mat, (PhD) Meriam and Yupangathi Nations

Dr Vanessa Lee-Ah Mat, (PhD) is a First Nations Woman by genealogy, has 28 plus years of qualifications and experience spanning a multifaceted career.


From the authority of her grandmother, Vanessa has led the facilitation of Indigenous cultural connections across public health, research, policy development, and more recently digital technology (metaverse, AI, NFT’s, and Web 3).


Vanessa received an Australian Government award for Outstanding Citizen in the Torres Strait for leadership in 2005. Dr Lee-Ah Mat’s leadership contributed to changing First Nations public health policy as the 1st executive office bearer, of the National Public Health Association of Australia (2011 to 2015).



From her concept, ‘Culture in Treatment’ a process of drawing on cultural connection to prevent suicides among Indigenous people presented at a conference in Canberra, the NSW department of health were able to platform implementation of the concept across NSW connection.aspx


Vanessa presented to the United Nations Women’s, Pacific Gendered Communities Forum, as the 1st Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander co-chair of ILGA Oceania, on the lack of Articles in UNDRIP allowing for the separation of women and LGBTQI data, in world data sets, leading to global awareness.


In 2021, Dr Lee-Ah Mat received the Griffith University First People’s Health Alumnus Award for global leadership.

Vanessa is a co-founder of the first Indigenous data sovereignty and governance network in Australia. In 2015, Dr Lee-Ah Mat was introduced to the blockchain.



Vanessa became the Cultural Chair for Walking Between Worlds (WBW), 2021, to amplify First Nations voices through NFT’s. She co-authored a Discussion Paper, 2022, on preservation and protection of First Nations People’s culture in the Metaverse.


In Feb. 2023, Dr Lee-Ah Mat became a full-time broker facilitating connections between Indigenous and

non-Indigenous organisations on information, digital technology (AI, Web 3, Metaverse, cryptocurrency), capabilities, engagement, research, governance and education, in her Black Lorikeet Cultural Brokering and Consultancy business.


For more information on Dr Lee- Ah Mat's work, click on the links below;

Bio – Dr Vanessa Lee-Ah Mat, (PhD) Meriam and Yupangathi Nations

Biography: Danny Morseu is of the Dauareb Clan of the Meriam Nation & the Wagadagam Clan of Mabuiag Island with family ties to Erub Island in the Eastern Torres Strait. He was born on Thursday Island and spent his childhood in Tamwoy Town, a reserve at the back on Thursday Island, where he grew up without running water or electricity. He started playing basketball at school and developed his career in the National Basketball League (NBL).


Danny attracted the attention of NBL Coach Brian Kerle after playing a match against Kerle’s club, the Melbourne-based St. Kilda Saints on tour in Queensland. Kerle convinced Danny to move to Melbourne in 1977, where he played in the St. Kilda’s championship winning teams of 1979 and 1980. Danny played 217 NBL games in total, winning another NBL championship with the Brisbane Bullets in 1987. Danny played for the Australian team at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.



He was the first Torres Strait Islander born and raised in the Torres Strait to represent Australia at the Olympic Games. He also played twelve world cup matches for Australia and was inducted into the NBL Hall of Fame in Sydney 2002. Danny Morseu has been instrumental in the induction of many young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in basketball on a local, national, and international level. Patrick Mills and Nathan Jawai are just a couple of his success stories.


Danny is currently the ambassador for Indigenous Basketball Australia in the Torres Strait and is also a mentor for the Australian Institute of Sport in supporting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes to achieve their goals, vision, and dreams.


He is currently the Regional Manager for Department of Treaty, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Communities, and the Arts in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area of Cape York.

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