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As a national organisation, we acknowledge the traditional owners of the land across Australia and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. Our office is located on the lands of the Wurundjeri peoples. The conference will be held on the lands of the Larrakia Nation.








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The Lowitja Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC is an activity of the Australian Government CRC Programme.


Peter Yu.jpg

Peter Yu

Peter Yu is a Yawuru man from Broome in the Kimberley region in North West Australia with over 35 years’ experience in Indigenous development and advocacy in the Kimberley and at the state, national and international level. Peter was a key negotiator on behalf of the Yawuru Native Title Holders with the Western Australian State Government over the 2010 Yawuru Native Title Agreement and is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Yawuru Corporate Group.

He has been an advocate for the social, cultural and economic advancement and well-being of Kimberley and other Aboriginal communities for his entire career. He has been instrumental in the development of many community-based organisations and initiatives which have had an enduring influence on the Kimberley region. He was Executive Director of the Kimberley Land Council during the 1990s and had a national leadership role negotiating the Federal Government’s response to the 1992 Mabo High Court judgement on Native Title.

He is currently the Chair for the Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) to the Northern Ministerial Forum, Chair of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA), Deputy Chair of the AFL Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Deputy Chair of Broome Futures Alliance Ltd, Council Member of the Governing Board of the Australian National University and Committee Member for the Western Australian Aboriginal Water and Environment Advisory Group.

professor tahu kukutai

Tahu Kukutai (Ngāti Tiipa, Ngāti Kinohaku, Te Aupōuri) is Professor of Demography at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, The University of Waikato.  

Tahu specialises in Māori and Indigenous demographic research and has written extensively on issues of Māori population change, Māori identity, wellbeing and official statistics.  

Tahu is a founding member of the Māori Data Sovereignty Network Te Mana Raraunga ( that advocates for Māori rights and interests in data. She is also Co-Chair of the Research Data Alliance International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group and co-edited (with John Taylor) Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an Agenda (free download: Tahu has undertaken research with and for numerous iwi (tribes), Māori communities, and Government agencies, and provided strategic advice across a range of sectors. Recently she was appointed to the Census 2018 External Data Quality Panel and the Child Wellbeing Strategy Reference Group that is informing the development of the New Zealand Government’s first child wellbeing strategy. Tahu has degrees in History, Demography and Sociology from the University of Waikato and Stanford University. She was previously a journalist.

DR abhay bang

Dr Abhay Bang MD, MPH, D. Sc (Hon), D. Lit (Hon.) grew up in Mahatma Gandhi’s Sevagram ashram. He is a physician and an internationally well known public health expert. For the past 30 years, he and his wife, Dr Rani Bang, have lived and work in a tribal district, Gadchiroli, in Maharashtra. He is the founder director of SEARCH (Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health), Gadchiroli. 

His work on childhood pneumonia and home-based newborn care (HBNC) has shaped global policies. HBNC has now been scaled up nationally in the National Rural Health Mission, and in several other countries. He was a member of Government of India’s High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage (2011), of the High Level Committee on Tribal People (2014).  

He was Chairman of the Expert Committee on Tribal Health, Government of India. (2013-2018). The Committee, under his leadership, has recently produced the first comprehensive report – Tribal Health in India: Bridging Gap and Roadmap for the Future. 

He has received nearly 70 national and international awards. The Government of India recently honoured him with ‘Padmashri’.


Published and edited Australian Short Stories magazine 1982-1999, winner Prime Minister’s Literature Award for Young Adult fiction (Fog, a dox) 2013, Australian Literature Award 1999, Radio National Short Story 1998, FAW Short Story 2010, and, in 2018, was awarded the Australia Council for the Arts’ Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

Books include: Night Animals, Shark, Ocean, Bloke, Cape Otway, Convincing Ground, Little Red Yellow and Black Book.

Bruce is of Yuin, Bunurong/Tasmanian heritage. He is a Board member of the Aboriginal Corporation for Languages. Lives in East Gippsland.

His latest novels are, Bloke, published by Penguin in 2009; Chainsaw File, Oxford 2010; Fog, Magabala 2012; and Mrs Whitlam, Magabala 2016. Dark Emu, a history of Aboriginal agriculture was published by Magabala in 2014 and won the New South Wales Premiers’ Book of the Year Award in 2016 and was performed as Bangarra Dance Theatre in 2018.

Bruce was awarded the Lifetime Achievement in Literature Award by the Australia Council in 2018.


Dr. Julia Kim is a public health researcher and global health and sustainable development specialist who has worked extensively in Africa, and Asia with NGOs, academia and UN agencies. At UNDP and UNICEF in New York, she led global teams focused on addressing cross-cutting health and development issues including gender, violence, HIV and socio-economic inequalities.

She is currently the Program Director of the Gross National Happiness Centre Bhuta, a national NGO which aims to apply the principles and practices of GNH, Bhutan’s unique development approach, through action in the spheres of health & wellbeing, business, education, and civil society. GNH views Health as being profoundly interconnected to 8 other domains (e.g. Community vitality, Time Use, Cultural Diversity & Resilience) and aims to measure these at the national level. Julia holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Manitoba, and is a Specialist in Internal Medicine & Community-Oriented Primary Care (Tufts University) as well as Public Health in Developing Countries (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Bruce Blankenfeld became involved with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) in 1977 by volunteering on Hōkūleʻa training sails and with construction and repair of the wa‘a kaulua in drydock. Since then, he has voyaged thousands of miles throughout Polynesia, Micronesia, Vancouver, Alaska, Japan, and most recent World Wide Voyage. Through extensive training and experience, while sailing more than 100,000 miles, he became a master navigator and captain – using traditional, non-instrument methods. He led Hōkūle‘a’s recent, extensive renovation, and is currently the Vice Chair of the PVS Board of Directors. Mr. Blankenfeld is a popular and inspiring lecturer on Polynesian navigating, voyaging and wayfinding.

Bruce is a fisherman who remains active in the paddling community as a paddler, coach and president of the Board of Directors of Hui Nalu Canoe Club. He is a long-time kayaker and works fulltime as a stevedore for McCabe, Hamilton & Renny. Bruce lives on the island of Oahu and is married to Lita. They have two children and two grandchildren.