NAIDOC Awards 2022

A strong pakana woman who has deep commitment to family, culture, and country, was announced Aborigine of the Year for NAIDOC 2022.

Announced at the flag-raising events across lutruwita, Sinsa Mansell was recognised as a leading aspiration for all members of her community.

A photograph of Sinsa Mansell during a performance with bull kelp

With a long record of cultural arts development and achievement, nationally and internationally, she is a great role model and mentor to young people, community, culture, and heritage. Her deeply emotive performances celebrate the community’s history and stories, specifically the courage and culture of Tasmanian Aboriginal women following the brutal invasion of lutruwita. 

Through performance, dance, and workshops, Sinsa raises greater awareness of her rich heritage and promotes respectful cultural protocols and practices.

Most importantly, Sinsa has volunteered her time, skills, and knowledge to the community across lutruwita.

  • She stands in front of thousands of people at rallies advocating for the community’s rights.
  • She performs traditional ceremonies to farewell ancestors as they return to their final resting places.
  • She showcases language and connections to country.

Sinsa’s devotion, creativity, achievements, and leadership make her a worthy winner of this award.

Special Achievement Awards were announced and presented at the NAIDOC Ball by Graeme Gardner, Chair of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

Nunami Sculthorpe-Green was presented with the first Special Achievement Award for the launch and success of Blak Led Tours, which is an independent Aboriginal-owned and operated tourism business in lutruwita/Tasmania. Starting with the sell-out tour, takara nipaluna / Walking Hobart, Nunami is curating unique and authentic Tasmanian Aboriginal experiences across lutruwita/Tasmania. The success and expansion of her business has meant that she has been able to offer training and work to other Aboriginal tour guides.

A well-known festival director and artistic curator was recognised for her achievements, particularly from the success of the bi-annual festival Nayri Niara on lunawuni/Bruny Island and establishing the arts and healing organisation at the Long House in nipaluna/Hobart. Ruth Langford provides celebratory and safe cultural spaces at events and exhibitions, which feature music, song, art and dance. She has hosted events, retreats, workshops, and experiences designed to connect people with community, culture, country, and themselves. A real success of Nayri Niara is the mentorship program for the festival. Young people are provided training and experience in project management to further their skills and achievements.

A grassroots level community supporter and mentor, Aunty Wendal Pitchford has been recognised for her campaign to have a memorial built to recognise the black war. She’s been at the forefront of this idea and has spoken on the community’s behalf with the RSL and other organisations, along with her son Nathan. She has also helped to mentor young artists in building their successful careers.

Long-time activist and inspirational leader Aunty Cheryl Mundy was announced as the final Special Achievement Award recipient. Through a tireless campaign, she has raised awareness of the Aboriginal children who were taken away from places like Wybalenna, and sent to the orphan school in New Town, nipaluna / Hobart, as a punishment. Truth telling is a critical process to healing, and Aunty Cheryl has managed to do this sensitively through broadcasting, artistic expression, public forums and videos.

But it’s not only this work that we recognise. Aunty Cheryl has had decades of activism within the community, and her songs, truth-telling, cultural respect, and honour is an inspiration to us all.

We thank all the people who took the time and effort to nominate these amazing community members.