Community News

The 2019 Lower Clarence NAIDOC Debutante Ball participants line up for the official photo. Images: Jessie Dean

NAIDOC Debutante Ball – such a proud occasion for all involved

On Thursday night July 11 we held our 1st Lower Clarence NAIDOC Debutante Ball at the Yamba Bowling Club.

Our wonderful committee Noeline Kapeen, Glenda McPhail, Dianne Chapman, Genelle Purcell, Frances Belle Parker, Talarna Gardiner, myself Mia Randall (with the backing of my amazing boss Aneika Kapeen) had been organising this event for the past six months, each having a roll and responsibility.

Frances had the job of painting the artwork and the tireless job of hand sewing the sash, ties, pocket squares, scarfs and table runners for the ball.

Aunty Glenda and her mate Jenny Keys along with Monique Turner from Yamba Wedding and Events had the job of making our venue an amazingly beautiful place.

Here are a couple of responses from some of our beautiful debutants of the night.

“At the 2019 NAIDOC deb ball I felt proud that I was able to participate in such an amazing event and felt honoured by the outcome and all the people that attended, as it showed how many people were looking forward to the event. The NAIDOC debutante ball meant a lot of things although the main reason for me was for my culture and showing how far we have come and how far we still need to go. It also meant people coming together and connecting with one another, which was exactly what happened. This debutant ball would not have been able to happen without all of Mia Randall’s hard work. It turned out to be the best night I have ever had even though I was a little nervous at first and I’m so glad that I did it.” – Raeyah Kapeen.

“Last night was such a beautiful evening and the most amazing experience ever and one I will never forget. I honestly felt so proud doing my deb in front of all my family and friends and being able to do it was so empowering. To me it’s about the community and our family celebrating our rich culture and heritage as its NAIDOC week and about having a positive influence on the younger generation also watching them go into adulthood.”- Taleyah Hippi-Laurie.

I was totally blown away walking into the venue and seeing all our hard work come to life and to see the room light up like a fairy wonder land was amazing. On top, to see our kids dressed up; the girls were so stunningly beautiful, and our boys were all so handsome. Our flower girls and page boys were amazing.

They all did such a great job being presented to our special guests, our Elders, family and friends. Then came the dancing, the debutants and their escorts were so elegant and graceful, it was very emotional and a proud moment to witness.

I’m beyond proud of all the participants and everyone who had a hand in making Thursday night a night we will remember forever.

Mia Randall (Nungera Youth Worker)

The debutants take to the dance floor for one of their formal dances.