Bios of NAIDOC Award Winners lutruwita 2014

Tasmanian NAIDOC Awards 2014

Aborigine of the Year: Ronnie Summers

Aboriginal Elder Ronnie Summers has a long and proud record in Aboriginal music, art and culture. He has worked as an Aboriginal Heritage Officer and is a renowned sharer of stories of land and heritage. He continues to promote Tasmanian Aboriginal music and art and is a role model to many. He appears on the Island Coes CD of Cape Barren music, is the subject of the book, Ronnie: Tasmanian Songman and sings Songlines of the Moonbird written by his wife Dyan, on the Aboriginal Education DVD of the same name released for schools just last year.

Now living on Flinders Island and in poor health, Ronnie made a special effort to attend the award ceremony in Launceston this year.


Aboriginal Scholars of the Year: Jacqui Spotswood and Jayden Monaghan Joint Winners

Jacqui Spotswood’s achievement shows what is possible with hard work and commitment to a second chance at education. Jacqui made a bold move when she enrolled in the TAC’s tertiary education course while caring for a young child and not having done any study for many years.

Jacqui left school at grade 8 with very few academic skills. It took very many hours of reading and writing as well as research in the field for Jacqui to complete her advanced study of the Ringarooma catchment area in the north-east of lutruwita. Patience, perseverance and dedication are just some of the qualities shown by Jacqui in her studies.

Jacqui will be awarded the Diploma in Conservation and Land Management (specialising in Indigenous Land Management) at an awards ceremony later this year.


Jayden Monaghan (grandson of Launceston’s Suzanne Maynard) is an outstanding achiever at his High School where he won the position of Head Prefect after interview. He also completed the Outward Bound National Aspiring Leader’s Summit in Canberra. Jayden has achieved elite status in school Army Cadets becoming dux of his class at a senior leadership course in Darwin. In 2013 he was also awarded the prize for Dux of his school and has received awards for leadership, teamwork and academic excellence as well as winning a tertiary education bursary. He mentors other young people including at his former primary school.

Jayden’s intention is to study engineering at Military College.



Aboriginal Youth of the Year: Jacob Maher Maynard

Primary school student, 9 year old Jacob Maher Maynard, set an example for the whole Aboriginal community in Tasmania when he organised a Sorry Day event on truwana/Cape Barren Island this year. Jacob is in grade 3 at pakana tunapri primary school. He chose Sorry Day as his area of interest for independent study. The only assistance he received was a morning tea provided at the Cape Barren Community office where his work was presented. He researched his topic, including by designing questions and interviewing in a spirit of great trust Aboriginal Elder and Stolen Generations advocate, Annette Peardon AM, and made a speech to the whole community when presenting his project on truwana. His project is now featured in TAC offices as well as on truwana/Cape Barren Island.

Jacob also practices traditional culture by going mutton birding each year on Big Dog. He has won back to back awards for his birding and is shaping up as a true islands boatsman as well as motor biker. He participates in the school sports on Flinders Island each year and is a willing participant in unloading the barge which services the island in the early hours of the morning each month. He was also part of the production of a Quit Smoking advertisement that appeared on Tasmanian television during National Drug & Alcohol Week; featured in 3 video clips of cultural activities for NITV; and has a crown titled ‘Scrub Warrior’ in the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston. At his young age, he already shows characteristics of leadership, resilience, compassion and passion for community as well as skills in advocacy, organising, and the arts.

Jacob’s award was presented at a gala night on truwana/Cape Barren Island.


Aboriginal Sportsperson of the Year: Coorinna Burges

At around 5 feet tall (155 cm), petite Coorinna Burgess is already making a name for herself in weight lifting. Aged 24, Coorinna (daughter of Harney) took up the sport as an extension of her interest in health and fitness, having been a keen netballer. A non-drinker and non- smoker, Coorinna believes firmly in maintaining a healthy mind in a healthy body. She weighs in at 51 kilograms but when preparing for stage work and exhibitions her weight increases to around 56 kg of pure muscle. Coorinna trains every day and practices strict healthy eating (except for the occasional reward meal on Sundays).

After only 3 years in the sport of natural body building, Coorinna won a place in a stage event in Melbourne and is working towards her second stage event later this year. She is a member of the International Natural Bodybuilding Association. Having appeared on stage in the ‘Fitness’ category, Coorinna is now preparing for the ‘Bikini’ stage category where confidence and grace are added to characteristics such as overall fitness, abdominal sections and skeletal symmetry.

Coorinna’s early success in her chosen sport demonstrates outstanding qualities of self-discipline and commitment.


Tasmanian NAIDOC Ball Award Winners:

Belle of the Ball: Warena Burgess

Beau of the Ball: Nick Jones

Matron of the Ball: Edwina Shaw

Old Coe of the Ball: Graeme Gardner