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Palawa businesswoman recognised with AgriFutures Rural Women’s Development award

Callan Morse -

Proud Palawa women and emerging business leader Kitana Mansell has been acknowledged for excellence in businesses as part of the 2023 Tasmanian AgriFutures Rural Women's Awards.

Ms Mansell, who manages Tasmanian Aboriginal inspired food business Palawa Kipli, received the development award, designed to to assist in providing professional development for aspirational business leaders.

She was one of four award finalists which provide rural women with financial and practical support to implement their visions for primary industries and rural Australia, whilst also enhancing their leadership and representative capacity.

Ms Mansell said she was humbled to receive the award which acknowledges her efforts to make traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal foods accessible to the community.

"To be reconsigned for my hard work and my contribution to my community to showcase our cultural foods in Lutruwita / Tasmania, makes me so proud," Ms Mansell told National Indigenous Times.

"It reminds me why I'm so passionate about Palawa Kipli (Tasmanian Aboriginal food) when I receive these particular awards."

Having taken over the business from her cousin in 2019, Ms Mansell has grown Palawa Kipli into a successful business that offers a Tasmanian Indigenous food catering service whilst remaining grounded in its roots, maintaining a bush foods tour operation on Aboriginal land at Risdon Cove.

Kitana Mansell (second from the left) alongside Tasmanian Women in Agriculture Vice Chair Chris Bishop, Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water and Minister for Women Jo Palmer, Encouragement Award winner Belle Binder, AgriFutures representative Jen Galloway, Development Award winner Tamar Cordover, overall winner Melissa Duniam and Westpac's Lynetta Bennett. Image: AgriFutures.

"It's great to have rest of the world come on this journey with me as a young 22 year old learning my cultural knowledge and reviving Aboriginal food in Lutruwita / Tasmania," Ms Mansell said.

Through both a traditional way and sustainable modern way by eating and sharing Aboriginal food, the feedback I receive on our tours of the cultural experiences, the stories we share and the food flavours are so rewarding."

Although Palawa Kipli focused on offering traditional Tasmanian Aborigine cuisine, Ms Mansell said she intends to utilise the development opportunity available to her as a AgriFutures award recipient to experience First Nations bush foods culture and learn about other successful Aboriginal business enterprises across Australia.

"I want to be able to use this opportunity to travel ...to learn about bush foods from other First Nations people and businesses who work in my industry to receive more bush food knowledge, advice on being a food business manger at a young age and receiving mentoring opportunities," Ms Mansell said.

"But most importantly to continue to learn from my community by attending community on-Country trips that I can now come along to, as it will be feasible to take some time off delivering Palawa Kipli services without it effecting the business financially while I'm away."

Ms Mansell was one of four Tasmanian AgriFutures Rural Women's Award finalists alongside Belle Binder and Tamar Cordover and overall winner Melissa Duniam.

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