January 26, 2022
Australia Day chance to reflect post-invasion
It’s Australia Day, or as many Aboriginal and Torres Island people call it, Invasion Day.
National Māori Authority chair Matthew Tukaki, who spent many years working in Australia and supporting Aboriginal initiatives, says while it’s a day many of the Lucky Country’s indigenous people feel their luck ran out, there are positive signs.
Aboriginal people have developed a vast range of programmes, from groups where men can talk about the challenges in their daily lives, to training on Sydney Harbour for young people to join the maritime trades, to the annual Aboriginal Digger’s March from Sydney’s Redfern to Hyde Park that draws thousands of people out each Anzac Day.
“What you are doing with is these programmes being led by Aboriginal people is you are building that shared understanding. We would call it whakawhanaungatanga where we each understand each other’s background, and to a large degree Australian business and industry are now involved, the government certainly is,” Mr Tukaki says.
He says a positive story for this year’s Australia Day is the federal government buying the copyright to the Aboriginal flag from Indigenous artist Harold Thomas and making it freely available for public use, ending a longstanding battle with the flag’s licensing agent.