Local Government Regional NAIDOC Awards


NAIDOC Awards 23 - banner with sponsors

The Local Government Regional NAIDOC Awards celebrate the contribution and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven local government areas.  

Congratulations to our winners and thank you to everyone who attended this year's Awards ceremony.

View photos of the Awards ceremony: NAIDOC Awards 2023

To help us with planning next year's event we'd like you to complete a short survey: Event Feedback - NAIDOC Awards 2023


The Illawarra based Local Government Regional NAIDOC Awards has been hosted annually for over 10 years by the four local government areas of Shoalhaven, Kiama, Shellharbour and Wollongong. The awards are an important time to celebrate achievements of our local First Nations people and to reconnect and collaborate as a community.

Organising Committee

The Local Government Regional NAIDOC Awards committee is the driving force behind our annual awards event.

The committee is made up of Aboriginal and non Aboriginal respresentatives from Shoalhaven, Kiama, Shellharbour and Wollongong councils, who support the host council to develop the awards in accordance with the wishes and expectations of our Aboriginal community Aboriginal representatives include, the four council's Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers and representation from the host council's Aboriginal Reference Group or local Aboriginal community.

The awards are a not for profit event with all funds going directly into the award night.

Critical funding for the awards comes from each of the four participating council's, business and community sponsors, ticket sales and small State and Federal NAIDOC Week grants. Through the valuable support of our sponsors the committee continues to resource this invaluable event and ensure ticket prices remain affordable for our Aboriginal community members and free tickets are provided to our local Aboriginal Elders.


The sponsors for the 2023 Awards are as follows:

  • Blue Scope Steel
  • Big Fat Smile
  • Southern Youth and Family Services
  • Calderwood Valley
  • Barnardos
  • NSW Ageing and Disability Commission
  • Fiona Phillips MP
  • Pademelon Press
  • Murra Southern Hire
  • ECTARC Early Childhood Education Services and Training.

Our regional NAIDOC Awards are a great way for your business to show support and celebrate the achievements of First Nations people in our local community.

Please contact our Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer to discuss sponsorship opportunities:

Ph: (02) 4232 0444
Email: council@kiama.nsw.gov.au


Nominations for the 2023 Regional Local Government NAIDOC Awards were for the following categories:
  • Aboriginal Elders of the Year
  • Aboriginal Community Representative of the Year
  • Aboriginal Young Achievers of the Year
  • Aboriginal Community Volunteer of the Year
  • Aboriginal Organisation or Project of the Year
  • Outstanding Contribution to Reconciliation (First Nation or Non-First Nation).

Our nominations are now closed. However, we will post here next year with new details for nominating.

We recommend subscribing to updates at the bottom of this webpage, if you'd like to be notified when nominations open.

Awards Ceremony

The Local Government Regional NAIDOC Awards Ceremony celebrates the contribution and achievements of Aboriginal communities in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and the Shoalhaven. 

The ceremony attracts more than 200 members of the Aboriginal community, their Elders and other dignitaries, as well as members of the wider community, community services, government and corporate sector.

Kiama Council proudly hosted the Awards in 2023 at The Pavilion Kiama.

NAIDOC Awards artwork

Naidoc artwork - painting by Jodie Stewart

Artist: Jodie Stewart

Painting: “On Country – Where the mountains meet the sea”

The painting represents the mountains meeting the sea and the local Aboriginal totems in our regions. The four circles represent the community connection between Wollongong, Shoalhaven, Shellharbour and Kiama. Communities  who gather to celebrate the NAIDOC Awards to recognise and showcase our Koori talent and culture.

The middle white plain circle represents the meeting place of the NAIDOC awards where we all gather to celebrate together.

The whale is the Aboriginal totem “Birri Birri” that is the totem for the three councils of Kiama, Shellharbour and Wollongong, and the black cockatoo is the totem for the Shoalhaven (the Black Cockatoo means“camping” or “Nowra”).

The colours represent the Wodi Wodi people of the Dharawal Nation as we are Saltwater People living on the East Coast and these colours represent the ocean where we gather our food to this day.

Aunty Jodie Stewart was recognised as Aboriginal Elder of the Year (Female) in the NAIDOC Awards for 2022.

Aunty Jodie is a descendant of the Wodi Wodi people of the Dharawal Nation, a Saltwater Woman, growing up on the coast with her family, the well respected and well-known Stewart family.

Jodie has been recognised for her role at Southern Youth and Family Services in Shoalhaven, supporting families and young people. She is also a board member and Director of the Gerringong Housing Aboriginal Corporation.

A talented artist, Jodie has had her works displayed in Wollongong, Kiama, the Shoalhaven and overseas. She is the first Aboriginal female artist to be contracted to design the St George Illawarra Dragons rugby league jerseys.