Students at Albert Park Public School in Lismore performed a dance as part of NAIDOC week.
Students at Albert Park Public School in Lismore performed a dance as part of NAIDOC week. Jasmine Burke

Hangi meal for NAIDOC

NAIDOC Week Celebrations are happening around the country, and one Lismore school is doing something a little different.

Lismore's Albert Park Public School's principal, Jenni Smedley, said the kick-off for NAIDOC week started with acknowledgement to country.

With events planned for the whole week, this year saw a different tradition and cooked the school's lunch in the ground, known as hangi.

Hangi is a traditional New Zealand Maori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven.

"It's a Maui tradition but we blend it with the fact that it's an indigenous way of cooking in the ground - it was used by some of our indigenous people early on,” Ms Smedley said.

"The school does the hangi about once every five years, and it's the second time since the school's been there they have cooked the hangi during NAIDOC week.”

Ms Smedley said NAIDOC week held high significance for the Albert Park Public School.

"We have about 30% indigenous Aboriginal students. I think NAIDOC is becoming more significant in schools because we teach it and have the perspectives within our curriculum.

"It's that cultural awareness and appreciation for letting all the kids and community know about it, not just our indigenous kids.

"We try to put a lot of Aboriginal perspective into everything we do and the kids look forward to and really appreciate the week,” she said.

Local businesses such as Anderson's Butchery and Farmer Charlies gave supplies for the hangi.

NAIDOC Week, running from July 2 to 9 this year, is about celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

This year's theme, "our languages matter”, aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that indigenous languages play in cultural identity.


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