Jeffrey Newchurch and Kunyi June Anne McInerney are the joint winners of this year’s Premier’s NAIDOC Award in recognition of their outstanding achievements in improving the lives of Aboriginal people in South Australia.

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

Jeffrey Newchurch and Kunyi McInerney

Winner - Jeffrey Newchurch

Jeffrey Newchurch is a Narrunga/Kaurna man who has worked with many committees and working groups providing cultural knowledge in a range of areas. This includes:

  • working with the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Women’s and Children’s Hospital as an advisor
  • being a member of the City of Holdfast Bay’s Kaurna Cultural Heritage Advisory Group
  • representing the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation as a member of the City of Adelaide Reconciliation Committee
  • working with government in the repatriation of the “Old People” back to Kaurna Land
  • ensuring that the Puti on Kaurna Yerta (Bush on Kaurna Land) project was modelled on Aboriginal ways and thinking, and services were fit for purpose for community members
  • mentoring young Aboriginal people involved in the Kaurna Youth group.

Winner – Kunyi June Anne McInerney

Kunyi McInerney is a Yankunytjatjara woman, qualified nurse and midwife and accomplished artist. Kunyi is a respected and admired story teller, drawing upon her experiences as a member of the Stolen Generation. She presents her stories through art in a way that speaks to the honesty of our nation’s history. Kunyi’s paintings are vibrant, full of expression and depict the unique landscape of our country.

A collection of over 70 pieces of art and stories by Kunyi was published and exhibited at the Migration Museum titled “My Paintings Speak for Me”. This exhibition has travelled across South Australia, educating and reaching the hearts and minds of many.

Kunyi has three children of her own and has also fostered or provided respite to more than 40 Aboriginal children, giving them a loving secure space to grow and thrive.

Dr Alice Rigney Prize

Peyton Aspel, a year 12 student from Avenues College, was awarded the Dr Alice Rigney Prize. This prize recognises a young Aboriginal person dedicated to their education in either year 10, 11 or 12.

Peyton is an active participant in cultural programs at the school. She is also a talented sportswoman and is part of the SAASTA elite Netball Academy.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners.

Read more about the Premier’s NAIDOC Award and previous award winners.