The Dungala Kaiela Oration has been held in front a live audience for the first time in two years, with the speech drawing comparisons between the Australian Indigenous and Maōri educational experiences.
The 14th oration was delivered on Wednesday, August 31 on Yorta Yorta Country at the the Rumbalara Football Netball Club by Professor Wiremu Doherty, chief executive of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, a Māori tertiary organisation in New Zealand.
“Generally speaking, gaining a tertiary qualification is seen as good,” Prof Doherty said.
“By gaining a tertiary qualification you make yourself employable, adding to the gross domestic product of the economy, playing your part in citizenship for the country.”
An educationalist and academic of Tūhoe and Ngāti Awa descent, and a former principal of the first kaupapa Maōri language immersion school, Prof Doherty explored the notions of Indigenous knowledge, prosperity and productivity.
He highlighted non-Eurocentric tertiary education systems as a key element to promoting and empowering Indigenous knowledge.
The annual event is jointly sponsored by the Kaiela Institute and the University of Melbourne.
It aims to encourage a shared vision for the people of the Goulburn Murray region, as promoted by the Goulburn Murray Regional Prosperity and Productivity Plan.
Paul Briggs, from Kaiela Institute, said the oration highlighted the importance of cultural identity.
“It’s timely for us to have Prof Doherty here, shining a light on the importance of broad knowledge and deep understanding of our cultural identity,” he said.
“The value of our culture is integral to the future of Australian society in order to sustain us.”
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said the event provided an opportunity for people to hear from Indigenous people who were experts in their field.
“This year, we are delighted to again be able to attend the Dungala Kaiela Oration in person on Yorta Yorta Country, and the opportunity this provides to hear and learn from one of the world’s respected educational experts in Prof Wiremu Doherty,” he said.
Dungala Kaiela – Defining Goulburn Murray
Image Credit: Shepparton News / Murray Silby