The Pacific Cultural Collection Advisory Panel was established in July 2019 with the goal of increasing and improving communication between the AM and Pacific communities in NSW.
The Panel consists of up to 8 members, comprising a broad cross section of the NSW Pacific community, including grass roots community representation and business and cultural experts. The Panel will include two Australian Museum staff and up to 6 Pacific community representatives. Members are selected every three years via a call for nominations - advertised and promoted to the NSW Pacific community through local and community media, networks and organisations. Members will live, work or study in the Greater Sydney area, demonstrate skills, knowledge and experience in actively serving local cultural community, and be recognised as a Pacific Islander by descent, identity or community acceptance.
The Panel will provide advice on the strategic direction of the Australian Museum’s Pacific Collection by way of:
- Advising on the access and display of the Pacific Collection
- Addressing matters of importance to the Pacific Communities of NSW in relation to the Australian Museum’s Pacific Collection.
- Promoting an increased knowledge and understanding of the strong relationship between Pacific culture and society in the wider Australian community.
- Affirming the Museum’s programming of Pacific cultural exhibitions, events and programs.
- Providing input to policy development in relation to the access and display of the Pacific Collection.
- Providing networks and contacts to actively promote and facilitate connections between the Pacific community and the Australian Museum.
Advisory panel members
The Panel has five representatives from within the NSW Pacific community.
The inaugural members of the Panel are:
Waskam Emelda Davis
Emelda has been a strong activist for the decedents of the thousands of Australian South Sea Islander (ASSI) people. South Sea Islanders today are descendants of those Melanesian and Polynesian island communities that were co-opted into serving as indentured laborers in Australia’s Blackbirding trade of the 19 Century. For the better part of thirty-years, Emelda has acted in a leadership role for thousands of Australian South Sea Islanders people based in Sydney (Port Jackson). Emelda is the President of the ASSIPJ.
Mal is the Chairperson of the NSW Council for Pacific Communities (NSWPC) and has been an active member of the NSWCPC since its establishment in 2003. She holds several positions both within the South West Sydney Region and at State level. Mal is Co-Chair of this Advisory Panel.
Steven is at present a Research Assistant and archivist at Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures with University of Sydney. He holds a similar post at the Centre for Excellence of Dynamics of Language with Australian National University for PNG Tok Pisin Project. He is a Melanesian culture advocater and the President of the Sydney Wantok Association in NSW.
Myles is from New Zealand/Aotearoa and is a Maori Cultural Advocator. He has been involved as an Assistant Maori Language Teacher in the Mt. Druitt area, NSW and is currently engaged with the Australian Museum as a Move Assistant under Project Discover. He a fluent speaker of several languages including Maori, English, Spanish and several others.
Michael Mel (Ph.D)
Michael is an advocate for indigenous cultures and is a performer and writer. He has been involved with the Australian Museum as a cultural liaison/facilitator on numerous occasions consulting on exhibition development. He has also curated exhibitions and performed in museums. He is now serving at the Australian Museum in the role of Manager for Pacific and International Cultural Collection. Michael is Co-Chair of this Advisory Panel.
Rita was born in Papua New Guinea. Her ancestry goes back to one of well noted path-finder business woman, known popularly as Queen Emma of the South Seas. She is a cross-cultural advocator and communicator and is involved in several roles including an Executive Committee Member of the Oceanic Art Society.