Longer festival a deeper ex­pe­ri­ence

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

Be­neath the orange hues of a ris­ing moon, tra­di­tional own­ers Mait­land Parker, Alec Tucker and Wayne Stevens sang in their lan­guage as more than 300 guests lis­tened in the stun­ning sur­rounds of Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park.

It was a breath­tak­ing mo­ment that summed up the Kar­i­jini Ex­pe­ri­ence for 2016 — a per­fect blend of cul­ture and na­ture com­ing to­gether for a week of ac­tiv­i­ties lauded by the hordes of peo­ple who made the trip to the park for the festival.

The fourth in­stal­ment of the Kar­i­jini Ex­pe­ri­ence was like start­ing over again, as or­gan­is­ers took a leap of faith in turn­ing the week­end event into an eight-day “cul­tural im­mer­sion”.

Nin­tirri Cen­tre chief ex­ec­u­tive and festival or­gan­iser Sarah Kemp said host­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence over eight days had turned the event into some­thing spe­cial.

“We have been blown away by the num­bers of peo­ple who have been go­ing to all the events,” she said.

“The most touch­ing mo­ments I have seen in­volve chil­dren. To see them learn­ing and get­ting in­volved is amaz­ing.

“We have had such an in­cred­i­ble team of vol­un­teers, spon­sors and staff to pull this all to­gether, ev­ery­one has put in 200 per cent.”

Talk­ing to peo­ple in the park re­vealed the true scale of the festival, with pa­trons high­light­ing var­i­ous events from the culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence and Opera in the Gorge to the fam­ily-friendly IMF Deadly Fun Run and kids’ art work­shops.

Ban­jima elder Mr Parker said be­ing in­volved in the Kar­i­jini Ex­pe­ri­ence had been a great plea­sure.

“A lot of peo­ple still ask me where I come from and where I live, and when I tell them I be­long to the coun­try here, I’m born here — they’re very jeal­ous,” he said.

“From when it first started as a din­ner four years ago to this, it shows you what can be done and achieved in bring­ing peo­ple to­gether.

“It was just a cen­tral place to give the peo­ple some­thing, to un­der­stand our own cul­tures and

what keeps us very strong.”

Mr Parker sin­gled out Wayne Steven’s arte­facts, Pa­trick Churn­side’s sto­ry­telling and Deb­o­rah Cheetham’s work with the chil­dren as high­lights of his week.

IBN cor­po­ra­tion chair­woman Lor­raine In­jie said the group was pleased with the in­crease in indige­nous par­tic­i­pa­tion and en­gage­ment.

“I think the high­light for me, as with many peo­ple, would have had to be the open­ing of the ex­pe­ri­ence, where the Ban­jima peo­ple were able to share parts of our cul­ture that nor­mally isn’t open to the pub­lic,” she said.

“When­ever there is an op­por­tu­nity for Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple through­out the Pil­bara to en­gage and par­tic­i­pate in the wider com­mu­nity and share the cul­tural and lin­guis­tic her­itage, I think they should start to take up those op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It’s more than an op­por­tu­nity for our el­ders to pass on their knowl­edge to the younger peo­ple, but also to share that with the wider com­mu­nity and peo­ple are very much em­brac­ing it.”

Ms Kemp said the week-long school hol­i­day festival for­mat was likely here to stay for fu­ture years.

Pic­tures: Tom Zaun­mayr

The Moon­rise Lounge plays be­neath a sky de­void of city lights.

Pic­ture: Diane Bartlett

Diane Bartlett's shot of Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park dur­ing Tom Putt's pho­tog­ra­phy work­shops.

Alec Tucker, Wayne Stevens and Mait­land Parker sing to­gether as the moon rises in Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park.

Frank Yamma was a high­light for many at the Moon­rise Lounge.

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