NAIDOC week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NPM hosted a NAIDOC week event to acknowledge and recognize the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Nations and pay our respects to those who have walked before us. Our Projects cooridator Juliette Syemour arranged for four guest speakers, Joshua Durcau from Cushman and Wakefield, Samantha Rich from Design Inc, Yawun Mundine and Jarrod Eastwood from Wehbar Electrical to come and meet with our staff.  The event was an opportunity to find out more about their cultures, communities and recognise our shared history.

To give a bit of an insight into the speakers:

Samantha Rich is a Design technician for Design Inc, prior to this she was working at SJB for three years.  Where she worked on a range of Mixed-Use and Multi-residential Projects. Previously she has worked at Lend Lease where she had the opportunity to work on several cultural projects with the Indigenous community and organisations where she developed insight into working on culturally sensitive design and incorporating the needs of Aboriginal Australians into the design of spaces.

She has a special interest in changing the design and construction industry to involve a closer collaboration with the traditional owners and custodians of the land including educating the current and future practitioners, to understand the value and necessity of consulting with the indigenous communities to understand their knowledge and perspectives on the land in which we build.

She is currently an active External RAP Advisor for Frasers Property and is also working with the AIA Reconciliation Working Group to implement strategies towards Reconciliation within the practice of architecture and the broader built environment.

Yawun Mundine is a proud Wiradjuri / Bundjalung man who grew up around the Dubbo and Sydney regions. He holds over 10 years of experience working in the electrical industry on projects of various sizes across both commercial and residential properties. With a passionate commitment to working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Yawun strongly believes in closing the gap by providing training and employment opportunities to young indigenous.

By creating more job opportunities at the apprenticeship level, Yawun emphasises how this will provide brighter and more viable futures for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Transferring his knowledge and experience in the industry to the next generation allows Yawun to establish a strong connection and make a positive impact on the present and future indigenous people.

We had four other guest speakers from numerous backgrounds and we were privileged to hear about their experiences. Our theme of the Naidoc event at NPM was ‘what have you always wanted to know but haven’t had the opportunity to ask an indigenous person,’ we requested our staff to write down any question they had for our guests to discuss. We also had Indigiearth catering come into the office which gave our guests and staff the opportunity to taste kangaroo and crocodile! The outcome of the event was positive, our visitors shared stories and we were able to see similarities within our own experiences. Connections were made rather than differences and this meant that our staff were able to go away and tell others what they had learnt. Story telling is important so that the history of the indigenous people will continue to grow and we can work towards a shared future.