Indigenous Cultural Heritage Conference 2021 proudly presents the following Speakers for 2021! 


Rueben Berg

Rueben Berg is a proud Gunditjmara man, committed to ensuring that the voice of Aboriginal People is heard in decision making at all levels of community and government. As a Member of the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria, Rueben will help shape the future for Traditional Owners in Victoria.

Rueben’s belief that Aboriginal perspectives provide foundational strength to decision making is also seen in his roles as Member of the Heritage Council of Victoria, Commissioner for the Victorian Environmental Water Holder, Director at Westernport Water, Founder and Managing Director of RJHB Consulting and a Founding Director of Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria.

Liz Allen

Liz is a Victorian Aboriginal woman, descending from Wurundjeri Woiwurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung, she was born and raised on Gunaikurnai country and has extended family connections throughout Gippsland. 

An Aboriginal advisor, with over 20 years of professional experience with Community, Industry and Government services, Liz is driven to further the inclusion of Aboriginal Economic participation. She has worked extensively in government to strengthen the Aboriginal business sector empowering a prosperous Aboriginal and Victorian economy for generations to come and as an active member of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Clans Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation.


 1998 - Halealoha Ki'i La'au Defiant
2014 - Dad & Bobrada at KKK Ranch

Edward Halealoha Ayau

Edward is ‘Ōiwi (Hawaiian), a 57-year old father of 4 daughters and a son.  He was raised in Ho‘olehua, Molokai and graduated Kamehameha Schools 1982, the University of Redlands in 1987 and earned a law degree from the University of Colorado in 1989. He has led efforts to repatriate iwi kūpuna (ancestral Hawaiian skeletal remains), moepū (funerary possessions) and mea kapu (sacred objects) over the past 30 years as the Executive Director of Hui Mālama I Nā Kūpuna O Hawai‘i Nei (Group Caring for the Ancestors of Hawai‘i). Founded by traditional cultural practitioners Edward and Pualani Kanahele of Hilo, repatriated and reburied over 6,300 ancestral remains and items from museums in Hawai‘i, United States, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Germany and Scotland between 1990 and 2015, before formally dissolving in 2015. Edward continues to work on national and international repatriation as a volunteer for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He is also the first manager of the Burial Sites Program at the State Historic Preservation Division to implement Act 306 that formally established the island burial councils. He was the principal draft of Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 13-300 on Human Remains and Burial Sites. I work with Return, Reconcile, Renew to facilitate repatriation awareness and implementation.

Want to know more? Click HERE for a recent article of Edward's return from Cambridge University. 

Professor Merata Kawharu

Professor Merata Kawharu (Ngāti Whatua, Ngāpuhi) comes from a family where education is highly valued, but grounded in reality, leading her to always keep in mind her father’s advice to think about the practical use of what you do, or in other words, ask ‘so what?’.As a Rhodes scholar, she completed her DPhil in Social Anthropology on kaitiakitanga (customary trusteeship) in 1998 at University of Oxford. In 2012, she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to Māori education. Merata’s research activities have over-arching themes of supporting Māori leadership, community and sustainable development.

Merata's Current Research
  • A question of identity - How connected are Māori youth to marae, and does it matter? - Royal Societ
  • Communities and climate change - Endeavour Fund, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Mauri whenua ora - Land and Water, National Science Challenge
  • Capability Building Portfolio - Science for Technological Innovation, National Science Challenge

Sammy Wilson

Chairman of the Central Land Council and former Chair of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board. Sammy will be talking about the Uluru Climb closure and his connection to protecting and taking control of Cultural Heritage..

Click HERE for Sammy's recent interview sharing his views on why taking control of his Heritage is so important.

Chris Griffiths

Discussing the role of damage to Cultural Heritage in the Timber Creek.

Chris Griffiths is a Miriwoong, Ngaliwurru and Karangpurru man who has worked in the arts, tourism, media and land management in the north-west of Australia for two decades. He has facilitated major cultural events locally and nationally, trained staff, mentored young people, and consulted with NLC, AAPA, the Department of Defence, Parks and Wildlife and various museums and researchers. 

Chris is a sensitive mentor, an expert cross-cultural communicator and engaging public speaker with direct experience on a number of boards and committees, presenting at conferences, on radio and TV, and giving evidence in landmark native title cases in support of his father, the late Alan Griffiths. 

Chris is a lead dancer and plays an important role in the practice of ceremony, with connections extending across vast areas of the north-west of Australia. 

Most recently Chris has been a guest speaker at the National Native Title Conference (Melbourne 2019), AEMEE National Conference (Darwin, 2019) and Yamatji Marlpa All Staff Conference (Perth, 2020).

Chris’ key areas of interest include: culture and the arts, land management, youth mentoring and media. He aspires to complete a graduate diploma in Land and Sea Country Management with Deakin University in the future. He is currently Strong Men's Program Coordinator with Waringarri Aboriginal Corporation.

Click HERE for Chris's recent interview discussing his role of damage to Cultural Heritage in the Timber Creek.


Keep an eye out for further speaker updates!