Pantjiti Unkari Mckenzie was awarded the Order of Australia Medal on the 26th of January for “service to the Indigenous community of the Northern Territory”.
Pantjiti has spent much of her life living in the Ernabella Community. Pantjiti and her husband set up EVTV which made films on many subjects. She estimates that they made over a thousand films. They also worked for PY Media on the Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Community Services program (BRACS). Pantjiti enjoys acting. She has appeared in films about bush tucker, bush medicine, the Seven Sisters and she also performed in the stage play, Ngapartji Ngapartji.
A skilled artist in paint, batik and weaving tjanpi (grass) baskets and a teacher of the Pitjantjatjara language, Pantjiti is also a traditional healer or ngangkari, specialising in treating women’s problems. Her work in archiving and sharing knowledge around cultural heritage are renowned. Recently Pantjiti worked on the Smiling Mind Meditation app with the Uti Kulintjaku team.
Pantjiti joins an important history of strong women associated with NPY Women’s Council that have received the OAM or AM awards:
Purki Edwards, OAM
For service to Nursing and to Aboriginal welfare (1979)
For service to Aboriginal culture and welfare (1993)
Tjikalyi Collins, OAM
In recognition of Service to the Aboriginal Community (1994)
Barbara Tjikatu, OAM
For service to the Indigenous community of the Northern Territory as an Anangu Elder, and in the preservation and management of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (2006)
Andrea Mason, OAM
For Service to the Indigenous community of the Northern Territory (2018)