The NAAJA Board is responsible for ensuring the efficient performance of the functions of NAAJA and for determining NAAJA policies. NAAJA Directors adhere to the highest standard of corporate behaviour and accountability and the principles of transparent corporate governance.
VERNON PATULLO – Director
Vernon is a senior member of the Kungarakan clan from the Finniss River area near Batchelor. Vernon has travelled extensively throughout the top end region of the NT working and living with Indigenous peoples mainly in the South and Eastern Arnhem Land regions.
Vernon has been involved in law and justice work for over 20 years and has been an active member of the former Miwatj Aboriginal Legal Service MALS now amalgamated with NAAJA. In his work with MALS he has represented the organisation at all levels and also as a member of NAAJA in dealings with the attorney generals and NT government agencies. Vernon has held all positions from member to chairperson when working with MALS.
ILLONA WILSON – Director
Illona is from North West Queensland and is of Aboriginal descent. Illona lives in Alyangula, Groote Eylandt and works for the ‘Anindilyakwa Land Council as Executive Officer of the ‘Anindilyakwa Education and Training Board. In that role, Illona focuses on building capacity of Indigenous families and community to engage with schools to support better education outcomes for their children; and strong and effective governance by Indigenous parents of all schools on Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island. Illona has previously served 18 years with the Australian Government in the Northern Territory in the education and employment sector.
BANAMBI WUNUNGMURRA – Director
Banambi was born in Yirrkala and attended the local mission school. He later attended the Brisbane Theological College undertaking a 3 year Youth Leadership Course with the goal of teaching and training younger people to excel in sport.
Banambi moved on to Melbourne to follow his dream of playing in the then VFL and joined the Geelong Football Club. Banambi played part of the season in “B” Grade being coached by the famous Polly Farmer, but a family tragedy intervened back in his home community so he returned to Yirrkala for good. Banambi has worked in a number of organisations including the Chief Ministers Department, Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Laynhapuy Homelands, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation, ATSIC, YBE, Rio Tinto and the Shire President of East Arnhem Shire Council. Banambi has also held a number of Community Board and Director positions on YBE, Batchelor Institute, Harmony Mawa Mala, Laynhapuy Homelands, Miwatj Legal Service and AMSANT.
TONY WURRAMARBA – Director
Tony is a well known leader and spokesperson for the ‘Anindilyakwa people. He had held Chairman and Deputy Chairman positions on the ‘Anindilyakwa Land Council for more than six years. He was previously Council Clerk at the Angurugu Community Government Council and a member of a number of Indigenous organizations as a Board Member.
With the support of the Chairman Walter Amagula, and the Land Council’s other Executive Members, Tony has been working closely with all levels of Governments, as well as BHP Billiton, to meet the needs of his people. He has supported changes which improve the positive impact government programs and policies have in the Groote Archipelago, with a particular focus on raising living standards, including through the creation of jobs and training activities. Under Tony’s leadership there has been a much greater involvement of Traditional Owners in the monitoring of the large housing program, SIHIP.
MICHAEL PETTERSON – Deputy Chairperson
Michael is of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander descent. Michael has lived in Darwin most of his life and has worked in various Government departments including Department of Justice, Family Court of Australia and is currently employed by the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission as an Indigenous Community Liaison worker. His work involves delivering Legal Services to remote communities. He has been a Board member of several Indigenous organisations trying to ensure that services are delivered effectively and appropriately for our people.
HANNAH ROE – Secretary
Hannah Roe is of Yawuru descent. Her family is originally from Broome Western Australia. She was born in Darwin and has lived in the Territory all her life. She comes from a long time Darwin family and continues to maintain strong family ties to Broome WA. She graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Laws with honours from the Northern Territory University. She went on to complete Article of clerkship with the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission and undertook a Judge’s Associate position in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. She was admitted to legal practice in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in 2004 and is currently working for the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).
COLLEEN ROSAS – Public Officer
Colleen Rosas has lived in the Northern Territory for nearly 40 years and was originally from Cairns, North Queensland. Colleen is a descendant of the Gudjula nation. Her employment history has been across a range of areas including Aboriginal education and the criminal justice area. She currently manages the Northern Territory Aboriginal Interpreter Service.
JOEL MCLENNAN – Director
Joel is from the Larrakia clan in Darwin. Joel has extensive experience in Correctional Services, extending 13 years. Joel is active in working with Indigenous people to address their social and economic needs.
NORMAN GEORGE – Director
I prefer to be known by my nickname Crow.
I have an extensive background in Indigenous legal services in his position as a Board Director for many years on NAAJA/NAALAS and I’m highly recognized for my experience in Law and Justice, Indigenous Health, Employment and Leadership. I’m currently employed with the Aboriginal Interpreter Services in Katherine as the Community Liaison Development Officer. My role is to train and recruit new Interpreters to Interpret in a professional manner where we provide a culturally appropriate Aboriginal Interpreting Service to various departments and organisations. I also attend most bush courts in my region working very closely with NAAJA Staff. I’m a strong advocate for appropriate service delivery to be provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in law and justice, health, education, alcohol & drugs, housing, land management, sport, employment and training and I have advocated strongly for greater accountability by Government and all Indigenous organizations and Councils. I have also spoken very strongly against laws and legislation that are being passed in Parliament that are discriminatory and how they have impacted upon Aboriginal people throughout the Northern Territory. We all have choices in our lives, “Whether we make the right choice or the wrong choice it’s neither here nor there.”
NATALIE ELLIS – Director
Natalie’s Aboriginal origins are with the Dalabon people from the Barunga to Bulman region. Her mother was part of the Croker Island Stolen Generation and Natalie continues to be a member of the Northern Territory Stolen Generation Association. She is currently employed with the Charles Darwin University as the Indigenous Academic Support Lecturer for Katherine and the surrounding areas. Natalie believes that education plays a major part in all Indigenous issues. Her particular interests are the over-representation of Indigenous people in the justice system and jails, prisoners rehabilitation, mental health and support programs that promote stronger families. Natalie also believes that Indigenous people in the NT are under-represented in the Higher Education system and that this must be addressed, if Indigenous self-determination is to be realized.
FRANCIS HAYES – Director
My mother was a Ngalakan woman born on the banks of Roper Bar (Roper River). Her mother was the great leader and speaker Mundululu Senior T.O. for the Ngalakan Tribe. My father came from the desert in Central Australia Kaytitj, Lyritja and Arrenta. I’m an ex-Serviceman who served in the Army overseas with 8 R.A.R. as a National Serviceman. I’m retired now and a Pensioner but I’m still kept active helping out in other areas. I’m one of the Aboriginal Directors on the Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service Organisation. I am also a volunteer and mentor at the Strongbala Male Health Program. I help providing assistance and advice in any way I can in health, culture, healing and tradition. My family are very close and important to me especially my grandchildren.
RUBY STANLEY – Chairperson
Ruby is originally from Queensland but has lived and worked in Darwin and Katherine for 40 years. She has worked tirelessly for many years with the Age Care services at the Kalano and Binjari Communities, and with the Department of Heath & Community Services in Katherine. Ruby has been a valuable member of various Committees’ such as the Indigenous HACC Reference Group for 4 years, the Katherine Club for 4 years and the NAIDOC Committee for 2 years. Ruby is recently retired and enjoys relaxing at home, reading and socializing with family and friends.