We launched our Innovate RAP plan during a meaningful and memorable ceremony during our Team Day on May 14, 2018.

Marie Taylor, our Aboriginal Elder in Residence, started the event with a traditional smoking ceremony – an ancient Aboriginal custom in which native plants are burnt to produce smoke to ward off bad spirits, acknowledge ancestors and pay respect to the land and sea of country.

This was followed by the official launch of our Innovate RAP by Mario Gallo, Holyoake’s General Manager Operations.

Marie then placed a branch in the middle of the room to symbolise a campfire around which we all sat for a yarning session with Marie and Aboriginal Elder Sam Dinah.

Sam Dinah is a respected Aboriginal Elder of the Najumooning tribe, and one of the oldest members of the Stolen Generation. Despite the tremendous pain, Sam shared memories of being forcibly removed from his family all those years ago. His thoughtful reflections and original songs about the Stolen Generations moved many to tears.

Our RAP launch event concluded on high note with two young Aboriginal men from Baldja Moort who captivated us all with their vivid descriptions of Aboriginal culture and skilful renditions on their digeridoos.

The Innovate RAP is yet another expression of Holyoake’s commitment to a meaningful reconciliation and to recognise the culturally unique and valuable perspectives that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people bring to our organisation, services and teams.