When 23-year-old Ganur Maynard first began studying law at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) it didn't take him long to recognise the significance of legislation and institution.
It was something that he says interested him for reasons directly related to his identity as an Aboriginal man.
With academic success and the biggest Australian law firms scrambling to bring him on board, Ganur has secured NAIDOC’s 2019 Apprentice of the Year Award.
The Gamilaroi man is constantly aligning his passion for social change with his academic and career success. Employers and friends alike recognise his open, likeable nature and easygoing social skills.
“As an Aboriginal student brought up in a household that’s so familiar with Aboriginal history, you come with a different perspective,” he explained in an interview with NITV.
"There are so many opportunities in commercial firms to develop the skills and develop the mentality as a solicitor that will be crucial in addressing the issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face in this country."
Ganur was born in Dubbo, but grew up in Newcastle, on Awabakal land. While he is a proud Gamilaroi man, he has strong ties to the Worimi community from the coastal New South Wales region.
After high school, he moved to Sydney for tertiary education. Initially, he chose to study history but later transferred into a Bachelor of Arts and Law at the University of New South Wales.
Maynard is currently completing his Honours, and during his undergraduate degree, was awarded the Nura Gili Academic Excellence prize through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
He is a role model for many current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, as a student representative on the UNSW Law Reconciliation committee. He also helps organise work experience for other cohorts through the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship program.
Ganur is always on the move and has managed to balance his education with several apprenticeships.
While at the Australian Law Reform Commission two years ago, he assisted on tasks related to the Inquiry into the Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. He has also served as an intern at the King & Wood Mallesons Sydney firm, was a paralegal at Westpac and Herbert Smith Freehills, as well as a Research Assistant for his alma mater and alongside the barristers at Frederick Jordan Chambers. He also undertook an eight-week German Language apprenticeship in Hamburg at one of the world’s largest international law firms, Hogan Lovells.
It is, therefore, no surprise that after applying for nine of Australia’s top-tier law firms, he was invited by all of them for second-round interviews. He attended two-thirds of the interview requests and received employment offers from every single firm.
Ganur will join Herbert Smith Freehills as a full-time clerk in March 2020, after undergoing work experience at the firm since 2015. He is attracted to their commitment to pro bono work, and encourages more commercial firms to direct attention towards issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The high achiever matches his prospects to his ambitions. In the future, he has his sights set on property and litigation and wishes to use his professional career to protect native title. He has drafted a roadmap towards a better future; one of constitutional change, enhanced self-determination and a relationship between renewable energy sources and Indigenous estate.
On NAIDOC’s theme this year, Maynard interprets Voice as a “rejection of mere symbolic change” in Australia. He believes Treaty is no longer a radical concept, but rather something Indigenous populations have been requesting since Invasion.
As for Truth, Maynard says that “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people have been telling the truth for a long time now. It’s now the responsibility of the rest of the country to start doing some truth."
The SBS network is celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and recognising the achievements of our First Peoples throughout National NAIDOC Week (7-14 July).
For programs, movies, articles and info, go here.
Join the conversation #NAIDOC2019 & #VoiceTreatyTruth