How lucky are we at Wanta to have Indi on board. She has been with us for all of 2023 and has fitted in brilliantly in Ngukurr, in particular guiding the students there to open their very own operating coffee shop ‘Bagai Barista’. Thank you for all of your hard work, Indi, we can’t wait to see what else you have planned. We hear about Indi and some of her fantastic achievements to date here:

I would like to Acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land in which I currently live and work and the lands that I have lived and worked on previously. I acknowledge Elders, past, present and emerging. I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had throughout my life to learn on Country.

Main neim Indi, Mi jidan la Ropa

My name is Indi and I live in Roper/Ngukurr.

G’day! My name is Indi, and I am lucky enough to be the current Director of the Ngukurr WANTA Academy Program! I have had the most amazing first year with WANTA with learning so many new things that have challenged so many prior ways of thinking and living and have had the most incredible opportunities and met some pretty amazing people.

I originally come from Wurundjeri Country in Naarm/Melbourne of the Kulin Nation, being born and raised in and around the inner suburbs such as Richmond, where I lived across the road from the Punt Road Oval, the home of my team the Richmond Tigers and from the MCG hence my enjoyment of AFL! I moved to Ngukurr in January 2023, this was my first time ever in the NT. Growing up I always had a love of being outside and being active, playing basketball and tennis, and loving walks and outdoor experiences with my family. After school I moved to Bendigo to study a Bachelor of Outdoor and Environmental Education and had the most epic three years doing some amazing trips, such as a 21 day hike around Kosciuszko National Park and a 16 day sea kayak tour in the Whitsundays and cross-country skiing in the wilderness of the Bogong High Plains. I learnt a lot about myself but still ‘ummed and ahhed’ about what I wanted to do for a career. After graduating in 2020, I spent the next two years being an Outdoor Education freelancer, leading school groups and private tours on some awesome adventures that had us hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, sea kayaking and more! I love being outdoors and find myself calm and happy just walking around the bush. During my degree I had the opportunity to study a subject called Teaching Indigenous Learners that was taught by an incredible Dja Dja Wurrung woman. Whilst I had already had the urge to work in a remote community, this subject opened my eyes more to so many different ways of learning and understanding that I would have never known. All of these experiences in my life have made the move to Ngukurr, a remote community, and into my role in WANTA a little bit easier than it might have been otherwise, as well as moving with my partner who is a teacher at Ngukurr school!

Every day in Ngukurr looks different. We start our mornings in the Academy Room at 7.30am with students enjoying playing pool, playing video games or reading before they start their school at 8.00am. At 8.15 we get started on my favourite part of the day which is operating Bagai Barista, where we guide students through being baristas, taking coffee orders from teachers and school staff (and sometimes visitors), making the coffees and hot chocolates and then delivering them. Not only is this my favourite part of the day because I get a delicious coffee, I love seeing the passion that the students have for making these coffees and the skills that they have perfected throughout the year. With the soon opening of the Bagai Barista Cafe, I can’t wait to see the surprise on locals and visitors’ faces when they can get a proper good coffee in Ngukurr. Throughout the rest of the day we get to run sessions in the Academy room and have more students have fun during their break times and after school. When I am back at home I like to wind down by going for a run, going to footy training, or knitting and crocheting! One of the harder parts of the year was getting flooded in for four weeks in Term 1. Whilst our experience was nothing like in Kalkarindji, it was definitely still a challenge!

WANTA has allowed me to facilitate some incredible experiences with the Ngukurr students, one being hiking the Jatbula Trail with 4 Ngukurr students and 5 Kalkirindji students. This experience was always going to be an awesome experience for me given my Outdoor Education background, but also because giving these students an experience that not many people get to do – because of the difficulty just to get a booking on the trail – makes me feel so proud of the students and grateful for what I get to do for work!

I love living in Ngukurr, having met some incredible people, learning language and building on my cultural understanding, and going fishing in awesome places. Playing AFL with the local team has allowed me to become more involved and meet even more people and watching the community beam with pride when the Ngukurr Bulldog’s Men won their Grand Final made me feel very proud of where I get to live. But living here you certainly have to love animals, recently we welcomed 4 newborn kittens into our house from their camp cat mum, another completely new experience for me, but it’s been very cute watching them grow bigger each day!

I am honoured to be able to call Ngukurr home and to have the incredible job that I have. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of all the other WANTA and Ngukurr School staff so I thank them for helping me get through each day, as well as my family who have come to visit and always listen to be babble on the phone to them and their continuous support of me no matter how far away I may be.