National Indigenous Television (NITV) is in Cairns in far north Queensland to cover the “Keriba Omasker - Our Children” Memorial Service that will be held at the Cairns Convention Centre and Martyn Street Cemetery on Saturday.
On December 19, 2014 the lives of eight Torres Strait Islander children were taken in the city of Cairns.
The families of the children have requested that Saturday’s memorial service be named “Keriba Omasker - Our Children” to honour their loved ones.
“Keriba Omasker” means “Our Children” in the Erub dialect of the Torres Strait Islander language of Meriam Mir, a language of the children’s heritage.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Minister for Indigenous Affairs the Hon Nigel Scullion are confirmed to attend the memorial service.
The general public are welcome to pay their respects at the memorial service and at the wake at the Fred Moule Pavilion where taking photos is prohibited.
“Keriba Omasker - Our Children” photograph
This photograph, which includes the addition of eight sunrays, is the official image of the memorial. It was taken by the father of the youngest three children on Darnley Island at sunrise the morning after the tragedy occurred.
The eight rays symbolise the eight children, and the positioning of the rays reflects the position that the children will be laid in during their memorial and at their burial.
“All the families here are really working tirelessly to make sure that what happens here this weekend is done in a very respectful and dignified way,” NITV News’ Malarndirri McCarthy said in a live-cross Wednesday evening from Cairns.
The families of the children have asked that the media adheres to Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander cultural protocols in reporting the “Keriba Omasker - Our Children” Memorial Service. This includes not publishing images of their or any children.
The families of the deceased have requested that NITV covers this memorial because they would like media coverage to adhere to Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols. The channel is dedicated to providing the public with trustworthy information that maintains and respects the cultural practices of our First Peoples.
Keriba Omasker (Our Children) Memorial
WHEN: Saturday 10 January at 10am
WHERE: Cairns Convention Centre
For more information about the Torres Strait Islands follow this link.
For more information about Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander cultural protocols for the media and public follow this link.
The family and Cairns community would like to ensure that helplines are made available:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
- 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732