Recognized Influential Community Leaders | Prime Minister of South Australia

The joint winners have received the NAIDOC Premier Award for their outstanding community achievements.

As part of the NAIDOC Week celebrations (July 3-10), Jeffrey Newchurch and Kunyi June Anne McInerney were recognized for their significant achievements in improving the lives of Aboriginal people in South Australia.

With 2022 marking its fourteenth iteration, the NAIDOC Premier Award this year’s winners join a prestigious list of winners that includes Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner AM, Uncle Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien AO, Joyleen Thomas PSM, Wendy Edmondson and Josie Agius.

Mr Newchurch, a Narrunga/Kaurna man, currently holds a number of influential positions in the community, including being a member of the Kaurna Cultural Heritage Advisory Group in the City of Holdfast Bay, an advisor to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Women’s and Children’s Hospital and a member of the City of Adelaide Reconciliation Committee. He is also a mentor to many Aboriginal youth.

He was instrumental in Puti’s success in Kaurna Yerta (Bush in Kaurna Land). His leadership and direction were instrumental in ensuring that the project was modeled on Aboriginal ideals and that the services were appropriate for community members.

Ms McInerney, a Yankunytjatjara woman, is a qualified nurse, midwife and has a BA in Aboriginal Studies from the University of South Australia.

A respected and admired artist, Ms. McInerny addresses concepts such as healing and reconciliation, producing vibrant works that represent our country’s unique landscape.

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An extraordinary collection of more than 70 works of art and stories by Ms. McInerny was published and later exhibited at the Migration Museum entitled My Paintings Speak For Me. The exhibit traveled across South Australia, educating and reaching the hearts and minds of many.

Ms McInerny now has three children of her own and has also fostered or provided respite for over 40 Aboriginal children, providing them with a loving and safe space to grow and thrive. She is a quiet achiever with a huge legacy.

Other finalists for the NAIDOC Premier’s Award included Dre Ngatokorua and Mona Olsson.

In addition to the premier NAIDOC award, the Dr. Alice Rigney Award, Peyton Aspel was presented with an award signifying outstanding young Aboriginal men and women dedicated to their education.

A senior at Avenues College, Peyton is an active participant in the school’s cultural programs and is also a talented athlete who is part of SAASTA’s elite Netball Academy.

The awards were presented today at a ceremony at the Adelaide Convention Center as part of the NAIDOC Week celebrations.


Quotes

Attributed to Peter Malinauskas

I congratulate both Jeffrey and Kunyi for what they have accomplished in speaking out, sharing their cultural knowledge, and driving awareness and change. Their voices will continue to be heard.

They are extraordinary South Australians and deserving of the Prime Minister’s NAIDOC Award.

Attributed to Kyam Maher

The theme of this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations is ‘Stand Up! Stand! and introduce yourself! and Jeffrey and Kunyi have done just that, in their efforts to improve the lives of Aboriginal people in South Australia.

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Kudos also to Peyton Aspel for showing the kind of dedication to her education that is sure to lead to a bright future.