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Dr Naomi Mayers honoured as 2023 NAIDOC award finalists announced

Callan Morse -

The National NAIDOC committee has announced Dr Naomi Mayers OAM as the 2023 National NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient ahead of the 2023 NAIDOC Awards Ceremony, which will be held next month.

Dr Mayers is a Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri woman, leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and was an original member of the ground-breaking music group The Sapphires.

She has been a tireless advocate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the nation, working with them to build a healthier future.

One of 28 NAIDOC Week award finalists this year, Dr Mayers has dedicated her career to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and health reform and established the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Services, a model which has since been adopted nationally in Aboriginal Health Services.

The finalists span 10 categories, selected from a pool of almost 200 nominees.

Australia's first Indigenous surgeon, Professor Kelvin Kong, is a NAIDOC Person Award category finalist. (Image: The University of Newcastle)

They include renowned educator, artist, and public speaker Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM, award winning writer, director and producer Rachel Perkins, and Australian cricketer Ash Gardner.

National NAIDOC Committee co-chair Dr Lynette Riley the finalists all exemplify the spirit of NAIDOC.

"The National NAIDOC Committee is very fortunate to be able to read the stories of so many of our people who are achieving remarkable results and working tirelessly to support their communities," Dr Riley said.

"It is an honour to be entrusted with selecting these incredible finalists".

In addition to the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award, award categories include the NAIDOC Person Award, Female Elder Award, Male Elder Award, Youth Award, Innovation Award, Education Award, Creative Talent Award, Sportsperson Award and Caring for Country and Culture Award.

Former North Melbourne and Port Adelaide footballer Daniel Motlop is a finalist in the Innovation Award category. (Image: The Advertiser)

National NAIDOC Committee co-chair Steven Satour said recognises Indigenous people who make positive contributions to their community.

"National NAIDOC Week Awards seek to recognise and honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who really understand their community and work to create positive change" Mr Satour said.

"Each year we receive nominations from all over the country, from big cities to small communities, and today we pay tribute to every single one of those people."

The National NAIDOC Week Award winners will be announced at the National NAIDOC Week Award Ceremony on Saturday 1 July 2023 in Meanjin (Brisbane).


2023 NAIDOC Week award finalists

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Aunty Dr Naomi Mayers OAM

Person Award Category

Professor Kelvin Kong

Murrawah Johnson

Megan Krakouer

Female Elder Award Category

Dr Aunty Bilawara Lee

Aunty Dr Matilda House-Williams

Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM

Male Elder Award Category

Pastor Dennis Phillip Jetta OAM

Tom Slockee

William Tilmouth

Youth Award Category

Brodie Murray

Courtney Burns

Mitchell Harrison-Currie

Innovation Award Category

Dr Rhett Loban

Daniel Motlop

Passing the Message Stick

Education Award Category

Aurora Education Foundation

Bubup Wilam Aboriginal Child and Family Centre

Professor Jacinta Elston

Creative Talent Award Category

Aaron Fa'Aoso

Dr Anita Heiss

Rachel Perkins

Sportsperson Award Category

Ash Gardner

Donnell Wallam

Indi Cooper

Caring for Country and Culture Award Category

Lala Gutchen

METRONET Noongar Reference Group

Talei Elu


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