The Honey Bee Collective creative director Katie Connor.
The Honey Bee Collective creative director Katie Connor.

Cafe owner aims for ‘unity’ with Indigenous-inspired event

When Katie Connor moved to Australia eight years ago, she noticed that many national celebrations were lacking in Indigenous culture.

So this year, the Emu Park cafe owner organised a beachside music event meant to provide middle ground in the debate about January 26’s significance.

“Coming from New Zealand, we have Waitangi Day, which is the day that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed,” Ms Connor said.

“You still see an element of protest and activism on that particular day, but it’s recognised as a whole nation what exactly that day was about.

“With this event we wanted to create an Australia Day platform that really blurred the lines between both sides of the fence, just to bring a little bit more acknowledgment to the story of the day.”

Ms Connor started The Honey Bee Collective in Emu Park about a year ago.

It prides itself on its coffee, relaxed style, and environmentally-friendly practices, such as the use of paper “hug cups”.

“When I went into the opportunity of opening the Honey Bee Collective, I really wanted it to be more than just a cafe,” Ms Connor said.

“I really wanted it to be a community platform to grow small business and get certain events happening.”

Tuesday’s free event is titled “Acknowledgment Day” and in Ms Connor’s words, is meant to “bring knowledge to people and to create a safe space for people that may not know the history to learn it and to be able to generate a feeling of balance in the community that everyone’s accepted”.

It will begin at 12pm outside the Honey Bee Collective – now operating from the Emu Park Surf Lifesaving Club – and will include speakers, music, and three minutes’ silence.

“With this particular event we want it to be in the fresh air, keeping it nice and light and at the same time bringing that beautiful element of culture to organise the celebration of Aboriginal culture,” Ms Connor said.

She said it was “just to bring a bit more unity into the community”.



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