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The value of a Community Centre

A brief introduction into the ProudRoots WA Community Centre

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Welcome to our first ProudRoots blog post! We’re delighted you’re interested in us and our story, and hope you’re just as excited as we are for what’s to come with ProudRoots.  

Who are we?

We’re a group of compassionate people eager to support, promote and advance the Maori, Pacific Island and Aboriginal communities right here in Western Australia. More information on our team members and key contributors can be found here (link to Our Team page).

What are we about? 

ProudRoots has a vision, and we want to do our best in making our vision a reality. 

We aim to preserve the culture of our Indigenous communities in Western Australia. Culture is an important part of our lives because it can give us a deeper social and spiritual connection to our world and others. Some of us may often feel disconnected from our culture because of a separation from important people, places, and practices. We want to help maintain and preserve our cultures for the benefit of both ourselves and our communities.

We also want to establish complete financial independence, encouraging self-determination within our own organisation and community. The funding and support from our communities is channelled right back into delivering and supporting events, programs, and services. 

Through all of this, we aim to generally uplift the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific, through our own fundraising, to address many of the key issues facing our Indigenous people, including mental and physical health and financial security, among others.

How are we going to do it?

We want to build WA’s first Indigenous owned and operated Community Centre, here in Perth. We believe that a self-run community centre for our Indigenous peoples helps to preserve our culture, and gives us our own space to operate events and activities that are important to our culture, as well as working on self-determination as both individuals, and communities. 

We want to host all kinds of events, shows, and activities in our Community Centre. Movie nights, art exhibitions, cultural exchange events, workshops, special guest speakers are all anticipated to be part of the future of the centre. Cultural and community groups will be welcome to use the space for themselves, free of charge. We want this place to feel like a home away from home for many of us. A place of learning, exploring, and discovery. 

What does this look like?

We see that this has been done around the world in different ways. The Polynesian Cultural Center (Hawaii USA) aims to bring together the different cultures of Polynesia and supports the continuation of traditions and activities. It is run as a successful tourist destination and education platform.

We want to be able to do some of the same in WA, with the large population of Maori and Pacific Islanders here in Western Australia that have come from abroad, and perhaps even grown up here. Of course, we also want our Community Centre to integrate and unify with Aboriginal groups and cultures that have always been on this land.

The Polynesian Cultural Centre in Hawaii
The Polynesian Cultural Centre in Hawaii: A source of Inspiration for the ProudRoots Community Centre

We admire and appreciate the variety of stories and histories that we will be weaving into our Community Centre. Aboriginal people have our own special stories about living on country in Western Australia. The Chickasaw Cultural Center (Oklahoma USA) preserves the culture of the indigenous Chickasaw people of the region. They run successful community events (cultural workshops, artist exhibitions, song and dance activities), and serve as a cultural learning hub for native and non-native alike. Our Community Centre will strive to do these things out of recognition and respect for the Aboriginal people of WA. 

Chickasaw Cultural Centre

Closer to home, the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture in Melbourne exists for the Greek community of Melbourne and wider Victoria. Their centre is a large complex with lots of space for a range of activities. They are able to host lots of large-scale events that impact wider Melbourne – Lonsdale Street Greek Festival, Greek Film Festival, as well as theatre productions and workshops, presentations and lectures, and social events, and are an example of a thriving ethnic group existing within Australia using their community centre to uplift and provide opportunities to the Greek people in Victoria. We hope to provide this same kind of support to our indigenous groups to enable growth and opportunity, and to keep our communities alive. 

The ProudRoots Community Centre will help to establish and sustain our cultures in Perth. It is a tangible, physical real life way to celebrate culture into our lives by having an actual physical space to use. It will preserve cultures within the space, hosting the various workshops, events, and social and networking events that can empower us financially. Through the love and support of our community we can continue to uplift the Indigenous people of the Pacific with our dedicated Community Centre.  

We believe in ourselves. We believe that Maori, Pacific Islander and Aboriginal peoples are capable of success — not just financial, but social and cultural success — and together, we can achieve so many great things.  

We are building a future for our peoples, right here in Perth.

Will you join us?

Sapphire Peake

Sapphire Peake

ProudRoots Editor

Tapuika, Waitaha, Pākehā. Residing in Perth. Passionate about Indigenous affairs. I write here sometimes, when my fingers aren't in every other pie.

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