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Kitana Mansell, Palawa Kipli recognised for business excellence at Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards

Callan Morse -

Proud Palawa woman Kitana Mansell has been recognised for tourism and hospitality excellence at the recent Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards.

Ms Mansell, the business development manager of Palawa Kipli, received the prestigious Spirit of Tasmania Tourism and Hospitality award at the annual awards ceremony on Friday.

Palawa Kipli, Tasmania's first Aboriginal inspired food business, has gone from strength-to-strength since Ms Mansell began managing the the business' operations in 2020.

Ms Mansell said she believes the success of Palawa Kipli can in part be attributed to the business offering a diverse range of services to clients and customers.

"Through our services we are showcasing Tasmanian Aboriginal culture through food, tours and history, as well as the future of what Tasmanian Aboriginal food cuisine will become," Ms Mansell said.

Having catered for approximately 1000 events over the last three years and after recently launching Kipli Takara Tours, a bush tucker tour branch of the business, Ms Mansell said an increasing number of interstate and international tourists to the state are showing interest in Palawa Kipli's offerings.

"We've only launched our tours in the last six months, so we're just starting to notice that a lot more people that look up Tasmanian Aboriginal food or Aboriginal tours when they're travelling down here find our tours," Ms Mansell said.

Ms Mansell is passionate about educating others about traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal cuisine. (Image: Brand Tasmania)

Ms Mansell said she intends to grow Kipli Takara Tours, which operates on Aborignal land at Risdon Cove whilst continuing to offer catering services at various events in Tasmania throughout the year such as Hobart's Dark Mofo winter feast, which Palawa Kipli will again attend in 2023.

However inviting guests out on Country to experience authentic Aboriginal food is where Ms Mansell's passion truly lies.

"We've just launched our cultural dining experiences that we add to the (Kipli Takara) tours for people to book, if they want to take it to the the next level of Aboriginal food," Ms Mansell said.

"The (Kipli Takara) tour comes with modern Tasmanian Aboriginal food, which is a platter and some native sodas.

"And the cultural dining experience is a six course meal, followed by the Kipli tucker tour."

Ms Mansell has lofty ambitions for Palawa Kipli after recently attending the World Indigenous Tourism Summit in Perth, where she rubbed shoulders with some of the the world's most successful Indigenous business entrepreneurs including The Sioux Chef Mission founder Sean Sherman.

"There was so many representatives at the conference that we're using native ingredients from their regions," Ms Mansell said.

Ms Mansell was also a finalist in the First Nations Peoples Achievement Award category, which was won by Jamie Graham-Blair (left). (Image: supplied, Awards Australia)

"(Sherman) has really inspired me, he's like the biggest inspiration that I've met," Ms Mansell said.

"Hopefully in the future, I can get in touch with him about receiving some mentoring and learning about how he's been able to get all of the land that has been returned to his people back to being full of native ingredients."

Ms Mansell received a prize package valued at more than $2,500, part of which is admission to a leadership and mentoring programme.

She said she plans to use the training to up-skill herself in the tourism and hospitality industry to continue to grow both Palawa Kipli and Kipli Pakana.

"If I didn't have the passion for it, then it would just be a job. But this is my whole life, Ms Mansell said.

"It's everything that I put my heart and soul into every single day until I go to sleep."

Ms Mansell was one of two Indigenous Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards in 2023, with proud Pakana man Jamie Graham-Blair the recipient of the First Nations Peoples Achievement Award.

Award winners alongside Tasmanian premier Jeremy Rockliff. (Image: Awards Australia)

2023 Tasmanian Young Achiever Award winners

Paige Salter - Colony 47 Courage to Grow Award

Isabella Dewar - Spirit Super Connecting Communities Award

Gavin Yi Feng Quek - Heather & Christopher Chong Community Service & Volunteering Award

Mila Skingle - TADPAC Print Service to the Disability Sector Award

Hamish McKenzie - Motors Tasmania Sports Award

Liz van Dongen - St.LukesHealth Healthier Communities Award

Jamie Graham-Blair - Dental South First Nations Peoples Achievement Award

Kitana Mansell - Palawa Kipli - Spirit of Tasmania Tourism and Hospitality Award

Ryan Davis - First National Real Estate Leadership Award

Courtney Hill - Dare Darlin - Strategic Alliance Network Small Business Achiever Award

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