About Ngurra Kujungka
Ngurra Kujungka Inc is the Western Desert’s first community driven regional sport and recreation organisation, awarded for tailored programs delivered to improve health, sport, recreation and employment outcomes for the people of the Western Desert.
Martu Council Members
Ngurra Kujungka is a not for profit, incorporated body directed by a board of Martu men and women members representing each community of the Western Desert in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia. The Council meets regularly to oversee the development of the organisation, voting on key decisions determining the programs and direction of Ngurra Kujungka.
The sport and recreation programs deliver many benefits to the Martu people throughout their communities, with health outcomes a key focus. A range of programs have been developed to increase physical activity, provide sporting career pathways, educational benefits and community engagement.
Strong support from Western Desert communities and stakeholders continues to ensure the evolution of remarkably successful initiatives such as the Martu School Holiday Program and Western Desert football and softball leagues. The Martu Youth Festival brings together families from the most remote desert regions during a week long celebration of music, culture and sport, with broad community engagement and the involvement of elite sporting organisations seeking talented players for development.
Programs have broadened significantly, developing in a relatively short time to incorporate children’s sport with health, music, art and lifestyle activities. New, ongoing stakeholder and partnership relationships are constantly sought and forged to continually stimulate the activities within the programs. Ngurra Kujungka’s range of sport and recreation
related initiatives provides enormous potential for the Martu people through general health benefits, specific training,
employment, skills development, and exposure to unique sporting opportunities.
Ngurra Kujungka is an effective, consultative, collaborative, adaptable, resourceful organisation committed to achieving its Vision: ‘A healthier, happier, safer, community driven, economically independent future for the people of the
We believe all Martu can embrace who they are,
and can define their own future.
A healthier, happier, safer, community-driven, economically independent future for the people of the Western Desert.
‘Palya, pukurlpa, ngampurrpa, ngurralu katiku, walyjalu kurrurnpa martukujanampa
Ngurra Kujungka will utilise sport, art, music and culture as vehicles to drive improvements in health, training, employment, education and community
development outcomes for the people of the
Ngurra kujungkalu palyalku sportpa, artpa, musicpa, kamu jukurrpa mutukayuru jipalkuya ngapi healthpa, trainingpa, warrkamu, educationpa, ngurra, palyalku, pakalku manku, palyarrikujanampa martuka pirrajanuku’
The success of Ngurra Kujungka can be attributed to its deeply rooted foundations in community engagement and collaboration. Community driven development recognises lived experience, knowledge and expertise in local environments, populations and circumstances.
Community driven engagement became firmly established in the Western Desert in 2008, when experienced locals and community development specialists collaborated to identify pathways for Martu people to meaningfully engage in the design of future
By acknowledging and exploring the value of community Ngurra Kujungka embodies a committed engagement with the people of the Western Desert. This commitment and community ownership ensures greater confidence by external agencies andpotential partners, and a range of benefits for all stakeholders.
Ngurra Kujungka has established strong foundations to ensure the continuing evolution and development of an effective, sustainable sport and recreation program to provide broad health benefits and development opportunities for the communities it serves.
Many strong, unique and ongoing partnerships have been forged, generating a range of valuable opportunities for the Martu people, harnessing an intense level of community driven engagement and investment. Key stakeholders extend to local, state and federal government departments, charitable organisations, industry partners, sporting and other organisations.
Ngurra Kujungka is achieving measurable success in the development, growth and management of Martu sport and recreation, and continually reviewing the objectives of increased participation and opportunities to improve health, education, training, employment and community development outcomes for the people of the Western Desert.
Mike McMonigal - Program Manager
As Program Manager, Mike McMonigal draws upon a significant career in sport management and liaison. Previously Mike was the High Performance Manager of Surfing WA for many years, qualifying as a Level 2 High Performance Coach and Level 1 Judge before creating a high performance program for WA’s best junior competition surfers. Mike collaborated with various key stakeholders including Surfing Australia, sports scientists, professional surfers, elite coaches and parents to provide the best training opportunities for these talented athletes through professional national and international pathways.
Seeking a fresh challenge Mike found one in the vastly different landscape of the Western Desert communities, adapting his skills to create links and pathway opportunities for Martu boys and girls living in one of the most remote desert locations in the world. As Program Manager, Mike oversees program development and daily operations, working closely with the Martu Council of Ngurra Kujungka – the Western Deserts first community driven regional sport and recreation organisation. Mike’s role is to ensure strategic objectives are met, including program direction, financial management, sponsorship and key stakeholder relationships.
The sport and recreation programs continue to deliver many benefits to the Martu people throughout their communities. Health outcomes remain a key focus. Important programs have been created and developed to increase physical activity, provide sporting career pathways, educational benefits,sustainable employment, and community engagement.
Mike regards the Martu School Holiday Program as a particular Ngurra Kujungka highlight. These programs are consistently commended by WA Police, school principals and community members for engagement of Martu girls and boys in productive and enjoyable activities that have led to increased participation in physical and emotional health, social experiences, sport, and the development of new skills. This program provides important opportunities for Ngurra Kujungka to collaborate with a variety of regional and community stakeholders and to develop partnerships and relationships.
The School Holiday Program links into other unique programs such as opportunities for talent identification and skills development with state sporting associations and elite sport organisations. The program continues to evolve, now offering a greater range of sports and a variety of activities including nutrition, cooking, health and hygiene, arts, crafts, educational activities, music, cultural experiences
Mike’s future focus is to maintain momentum in the engagement of Martu communities, and the ongoing development of sustainable programs to bring opportunity to the people of the Western Desert.
Adam Norton - Senior Indigenous Sports Development Officer
Senior Indigenous Sports Development Officer Adam Norton is known for his tenacity and ability to adapt Ngurra Kujungka’s programs to maximise their benefits throughout the Martu communities of the Western Desert.
Adam’s ability to engage with Martu of all ages is critical to increasing program participation numbers.
Adam brings a diversity of experience from previous careers, having worked nationally in sport for the AFL and coaching at a senior level before commencing at Telfer in mining.
Adam’s role is extremely diverse, including organising programs for Martu communities, facilitating these programs with Indigenous staff, stakeholder engagement, management of small grants and much more. Adam’s role is important as he works directly in communities. He engages with Martu people of all ages, developing trusted relationships with them and connecting stakeholders to ensure constant program relevance and development. The Martu rely on their connection with Adam as a professional contact and a friend/adviser in community to ensure the maximisation of opportunities for them through education and sport.
Adam is extremely proud of the progress and development of Ngurra Kujungka’s programs. Staff numbers have increased with the introduction of traineeships tailored for Martu. The introduction of an all-school athletics carnival has received enormous, positive support as an annual event and the important School Holiday Program continues to evolve and grow. Multiskilled staff have been employed to diversify the program which has led to murals and music workshops as regular inclusions. Ngurra Kujungka’s engagement and connection continues to flourish throughout communities during every school holiday period.
A highlight for Adam is the generation of new opportunities for talented youth in AFL and athletics, and his key goal for Ngurra Kujungka in the future is to increase Martu employment.
Demi Okely - Female Indigenous Sports Officer
Female Indigenous Sports Officer Demi Okely is intensely passionate about sport, particularly AFL, and her ambition as a Ngurra Kujungka Female Indigenous Sports Development Officer is to see Western Desert girls playing AFL Women’s in the near future.
Demi combines her industry experience (previously with BHP Billiton & Department of Human Services) with outstanding sporting skills and knows firsthand about the commitment and training necessary to succeed, having played many NAIDOC softball and netball games before she became a star performer for Fremantle Dockers. Currently Demi is kicking goals for Peel Thunder Football Club.
Demi is convinced that a passion for sport can potentially change the lives of young Aboriginal people. Her experience in working with young players and exploring sporting pathways led her to follow Ngurra Kujungka’s Facebook page, where she found the opportunity to build on her passion as a sports officer, coach and mentor to other Indigenous players. She is highly regarded by all aspiring Martu players, with her natural, effortless rapport as a peer and mentor.
Demi has high expectations for the enthusiastic Martu players and encourages them to embrace all the opportunities that Ngurra Kujungka provides whilst continuing to maintain their cultural background.
A Ngurra Kujungka highlight for Demi was the 2019 Western Desert Shield that featured 40 Western Desert boys playing on Optus Stadium before the AFL game. Showcasing their talent for thousands of spectactors was an incredible experience made possible by Ngurra Kujungka’s skills development and partnerships with organisations such as West Coast Eagles, Naitanui Academy, V Swans, Softball WA, Basketball WA, Western Australian Cricket Association and WA Athletics.
Between the 1970s and 2000s opportunities for sport and recreation remained limited in the remote Western Desert region of WA. Despite a strong desire for inclusion by Martu men, women and children, sporting and recreation opportunities were sporadic, with little coordination and direction.
Any sporting activities generally focused on Martu men, with very limited options available to Martu women and children. Few opportunities arose for Martu people to express their views and engage in the design of sport and recreation programs for their own communities. Many talented and enthusiastic Martu people were unable to learn, train, play, compete or participate in a meaningful way.
A unique partnership was established in 2008 between Newcrest Mining Limited and the State Government's Department of Sport and Recreation to address this sport and recreation deficit in the Western Desert.
The partnership established a base of operations at Telfer mine site, selected for its proximity and accessibility to Western Desert communities. The position of an Indigenous Sports Development Officer was created and funded by this unique collaboration between industry and state government.
Objectives were identified:
To develop and provide opportunities to meet the desire of the Martu people to participate in sport and recreation:
To understand the wishes and capacity of Western Desert communities;
To seek and collaborate with suitable stakeholders to create and manage an effective, sustainable sport and recreation program tailored for the people of the Western Desert.
Outcomes were targeted:
To provide opportunities for broad health benefits and
community development specifically for the people of the Western Desert to encompass new options for employment, recreation, and sport.
In 2009 Martu community members, key internal stakeholders such as school principals and community
coordinators, key external stakeholders including State Government services together with community
organisations, and community development and sport and recreation specialists were consulted to ascertain
direct benefits to Western Desert communities and to identify pathways to meet the target outcomes.
Following consultation it was agreed that a regional program, if managed to minimise community disruption and stakeholder overload, had the potential to unlock major improvements in health, training, employment, education, community and social outcomes.
It was agreed that, with the direction and support of key stakeholders, a Martu Council comprising
representatives from each Martu community be established to lead the development of the program.
It was recommended that a schedule of events be prepared to provide forward notice for stakeholders, and that communication between the Martu Council and Western Desert stakeholders remain consistent and comprehensive.