Tennis NT has officially launched their Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), part of its wider Indigenous tennis strategy in Wugularr Beswick.
The unveiling was held alongside a community event in conjunction with Sunrise Health Service and included a Welcome to Country by Wugularr Beswick Elder Esther Bulumbara and community activities.
The development of the RAP is designed to promote the inclusion of all Territorian’s within tennis, and reiterates a commitment to positively participate in achieving equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Northern Territory.
Endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, the RAP provides a framework to plan, implement and report on Tennis NT’s commitments to reconciliation using the three core pillars of relationships, respect and opportunities.
Tennis NT CEO Sam Gibson said, “Tennis NT is incredibly proud to be launching our first Reconciliation Action Plan. For several years we have had a strong focus on creating meaningful connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across the NT. Our RAP solidifies this and is a crucial part of our organisation’s commitment to bettering our understanding, and improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities through tennis.”
“A really important part of our work in this space is developing strong relationships with communities like Wugularr and other likeminded organisations. It is our belief that tennis can play a strong role in enhancing the opportunities provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders across the Territory. We feel the launch of our RAP, along with the work we’re doing across the NT in conjunction with a variety of key stakeholders is providing a template for similar work to be done across the country. This is something we’re very excited by.”
Sunrise Health Service Team Leader Sam Bigwood also added, “This event was developed to unite our communities with a fun event, as they walk together towards a brighter future. We see our partnership with Tennis NT as a great example of the positive impact sport can have within the community.”
Tennis NT’s RAP is a key component of its broader Indigenous tennis strategy. The strategy includes the Racquets and Red Dust program which is supported by Jacana Energy. The program has been created to provide sustainable opportunities through tennis for Indigenous youth across the Territory, and to contribute to Indigenous health and education outcomes.
Tennis NT’s Indigenous Programs Leader Anzac Leidig sees firsthand the positive impact tennis has in remote communities.
“This program is not just about forehands and backhands; we’re really trying to foster a connection with the sport and generate a greater outcome for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For me, hearing that Indigenous youth are coming to school to make sure they don’t miss out on tennis is amazing.”
The Racquets and Red Dust, part of Tennis NT’s Indigenous tennis strategy, focuses on five areas including:
- Introductory Programs
Tennis NT is undertaking the delivery of tennis in remote areas of the Northern Territory with a focus on an introduction to the sport, as well as providing a means to assess best practice delivery in remote areas. In 2021, the Tennis NT Remote Indigenous program ‘Racquets and Red Dust’ will visit more than twenty different communities to introduce, deliver and develop tennis in the NT.
- Teacher and Community Education
A key component of the program is to provide both formal and informal training and support those engaged in the delivery of tennis within both communities and schools. The support will be tailored to each community to ensure deliverers have the knowledge, confidence and right equipment and resources to support the delivery of the first step of the program.
To ensure players have an opportunity to go further than introductory programs in a structured and meaningful way, Tennis NT will support the development of intra and inter-community competitions, regional carnivals and talent camps. This pathway culminates in the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival held annually in Darwin.
- Partnerships and Community Connections
Tennis NT is focussed on creating meaningful connections with the communities the program is delivered in, as well as partners who enhance our ability to deliver quality outcomes.
- National Alignment
Tennis NT continues to support and enhance a national framework to further support Indigenous Australians through providing opportunities and leadership across the country.
Tennis NT’s Reflect RAP features commissioned original artworks by Larrakia artist Rochelle Fejo depicting significant Saltwater animals which are important to the Larrakia Saltwater Peoples and was designed by long-time local Darwin graphic designer Debbie Curtis of Floodlight Creative.
Image: Wugularr Beswick Elder Esther Bulumbara & Tennis NT CEO Sam Gibson