Margaret Warcon prepares for South Sea Islander Recognition Day events in Rockhampton this weekend. She will be one of the many South Sea Islanders in the region celebrating the day.
Margaret Warcon prepares for South Sea Islander Recognition Day events in Rockhampton this weekend. She will be one of the many South Sea Islanders in the region celebrating the day. Sharyn Oneill

Islanders have reason to smile

IT has been 17 years since South Sea Islanders have been officially recognised as a distinct ethnic community.

And today, and during the coming days, many communities from Cairns to Bundaberg and Australia-wide will celebrate their culture with many activities.

Rockhampton South Sea Islander Margaret Warcon said she was very proud to have a recognition day for her culture but there should be more done with keeping the events going.

“I think we’ve got to bring our community together more and have more gatherings to talk about what we can do for our community,” Margaret said.

And Geraldine YowYeh, former president of the South Sea Islander United Council Australia and heavily involved in pushing the application through government during the three years before it was passed, agrees.

“It needs to be taken seriously because all that we’ve fought for will be for nothing,” the 65-year-old said.

“To me, this day means the struggle of my parents who were trying to get this passed before I was.”

Rocky’s events will include the South Sea Islander pearl dinner at Plaza Hotel from 6pm tomorrow night.

On Saturday is a South Sea Islander gathering from 3pm to 5pm at Capricorn Silver Band Hall on Robinson St.

All who attend are asked to bring a plate of food.

RECOGNITION DAY

Was passed in federal parliament on August 25, 1994, to be formally recognised as Australian South Sea Islander people as a distinct ethnic group

And in 2000 the Queensland Government followed suit



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