Festival empowers community

Article image - Festival empowers community Mapoon's, Paanja Festival; a colourful showcase of culture and heritage.

The pristine top end town of Mapoon recently celebrated the Paanja Festival, proudly supported by Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council.

More than 3000 people attended the four day festival which commemorates the forced removal of Indigenous people from Mapoon in 1963.

The event currently sits amongst the best events in the Cape York Peninsula area, along with Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival and Cooktown Discovery Festival.

Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council Chief Executive Officer, Naseem Chetty, said Pannja is an excellent event to experience the rich Australian Indigenous culture.

“This event is blossoming; we have had record crowds attend, stellar performances and a truly unique vibe this year at Paanja.

“This year’s event surpassed all expectations and the festival, (contributing an estimate of over $1.3 million annually to the local, remote economy), has truly come of age.”

Mayor, Aileen Addo, said, “Mapoon has come alive, Paanja is a colourful, cultural celebration, showcasing our heritage as well as some amazing traditional dance performances from across Australia.

“It is wonderful to see Paanja grow; from a local community festival to an internationally recognised event where artists are reaching out - keen to be a part of the unique experience.

“Paanja instils great pride and cultural knowledge in all guests that attend, while advancing real employment opportunities for our local creatives and our families - we are blessed to live in one of Australia’s most authentic regions.”