Over 1200 primary school students from 25 Schools throughout the Nepean area, along with parents and community, attended the NCNS 8th Annual NAIDOC Cup on Friday 22nd June at the Hunter Fields at Emu Plains.
NAIDOC Cup is a free combined schools gala day for Aboriginal primary school students and their friends. The day is a celebration of Aboriginal culture as well as a great opportunity to show off the natural athletic skills of our Aboriginal kids and their friends. 70% of the participants are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
As Joy, NCNS Managing Director noted, “Aboriginal kids often excel at sport, and by utilising this strength, we can increase engagement with school and civic life – promoting values such as teamwork, and skills such as communication.”
Staff and volunteers arrived at the Hunter fields early in the morning rugged up in jackets and beanies, trying to keep their icicle like fingers from falling off whilst trying to set up for the day.
Those lucky enough to man the BBQ’s, used the heat to warm their icy cold hands.
The aroma of sizzling sausages and onion teased our nostrils as we tried to keep our minds on the task at hand. There was no time for mucking around when racing against the clock, knowing that hundreds of children would be arriving any minute.
Without delay, busloads of children began to appear and flocked together on the previously bare, dew drenched fields that were now filled with a sea of faces that were eager to begin the day.
A welcome to country was given by Uncle Greg, followed by a smoking ceremony performed by Uncle Wes.
Although the day began as a cool, crisp morning, we were soon comforted by warmth and light from the scorching sun who until today had been absent. In stark contract to the rest of the week, there was not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day!
The older students were eager to begin the Oz Tag and Netball competitions, while the Joeys needed their tummies to be filled before they began rotations of their activities for the day.
The joeys got to celebrate their culture while learning and having fun. In the Art & Craft tent, children were each given a pack filled with items for them to create their own designs while also being educated on the Aboriginal history that went along with each item. See info sheet here.
Koomurri provided an exhilarating show with a didgeridoo, song & dance, Aboriginal art and face painting. We had children coming up to the info desk all day asking where they could get their face painted, not just the Joeys but the older students as well.
Larry Brandy, a Wiradjuri man from Condobolin, had kids captivated while narrating his animated stories in the Storytelling tent.
Children also got the chance to have a go at Aboriginal Dance while enjoying performances from Walan Mahlee, our Aboriginal girls & boys dance groups facilitated by Brad & Teagan Pittman.
After a serious day of friendly competition, Donna (NCNS) & Mitchell (PHN) announced the winners and presented trophy for the NAIDOC Cup to the winning teams.
Netball Juniors – Kingswood Park Public School
Netball Seniors – Braddock Public School
Oz Tag Juniors – Werrington Public School
Oz Tag Seniors – Werrington County
Lawrence from Australian Unity presented the sportsmanship awards.
This year our volunteer referees for Netball and Oz tag were decked out in awesome uniforms thanks to Australian Unity.
We would love to thank all the schools and teachers for participating and supporting this year’s NAIDOC Cup.
A massive thank you to Australian Unity – Wangary, Westfields Penrith & Uniting for the financial support that helps make NAIDOC Cup possible.
Thank you so much to our partners and volunteers for their time and hard work; Platform Youth Services, West Connect Domestic Violence Service, Primary Health Network, Penrith City Council, Emu Plains Lions Club, Glenmore Park High School and Cranebrook High School students. We value your support and time.
Lastly thank you to all the kids for showing respect, being responsible by playing fair and friendly on the day.
NAIDOC Cup is a massive day that is growing larger every year. We are always looking for volunteers, partners and sponsors to help make this day possible. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us at email@example.com