Reconciliation Australia opens nominations for third Narragunnawali Awards

by Freya Lucas

February 23, 2021

Reconciliation Australia has announced that nominations for the third Narragunnawali Awards, which recognise exceptional commitment to reconciliation in education, are now open. 


Narragunnawali (pronounced narra-gunna-wally) is a word from the language of the Ngunnawal people, Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waterways of the area on which Reconciliation Australia’s Canberra office is located.


The Narragunnawali Awards are Australia’s first and only national reconciliation in education awards for schools and early learning services, and come with cash prizes of $10,000 as well as media and promotional opportunities for the winning school and early learning service that displays exceptional commitment to reconciliation.


Recognising the role of exceptional educators is especially important, Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine said, as the State of Reconciliation in Australia Report consistently asserts the role of education as a driving force in the reconciliation movement.


“If we are to move forward, reconciliation must happen where we live, where we learn and where we work, and schools and early learning services are at the heart of this,” Ms Mundine said. “Education is critical to how we understand and think about the world and about reconciliation; the earlier we have these conversations the better.” 


“These awards showcase the huge amount of substantive work occurring in schools and early learning services, not only through teaching about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures in the classroom, but also through building relationships across education settings and their local communities.”


“While there is still some way to go, awareness, understanding and active inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and perspectives, is moving into the mainstream – reconciliation in education is becoming an increasingly well-embedded expectation of the profession.”


Across the country, approximately 25 per cent of all schools and early learning services have registered on the Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education program website, Of that 25 per cent, 1,200 of these have a current education Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).


Ms Mundine encouraged those schools and early learning services that strengthen community relationships and build respect, and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories to apply for an award.


“Celebrate your successes, challenges and share your reconciliation stories; this is what these awards aim to do,” she said.


In 2019, when the awards were last held, Forbes Preschool, NSW were recognised in the Early Learning category.


Applications for the 2021 Narragunnawali Awards can be made here, and should be submitted prior to 30 April 2021. 


To see information on previous award winners from 2019  and 2017, click on the links shared. For access to 2021 media and digital assets, see here