INDIGENOUS SUPPLIER GUIDE

for Business Events

Work with Indigenous suppliers for a truly local feel

Incorporate Indigenous flavours and designs into your next business event. Or support your organisation’s sustainability and social impact plan by supporting First Peoples businesses. Here are some ideas for Victorian Indigenous-owned and run suppliers to consider.

Catering

Cater your next corporate meeting or event with unique menus showcasing local native ingredients. Discover menus that speak to the stories of generations of First Peoples through food and drink, while supporting contemporary Aboriginal-owned and run catering businesses.

Close up of canapes on plates with banana leaves.


Mabu Mabu

Mabu Mabu focuses on native ingredients in their catering. These local flavours are incorporated into delicious cuisine inspired by the multicultural tastes of the Torres Strait Islands. From morning and afternoon teas to grazing platters, canapes, sliders, picnic boxes and easy-to-share treats - Mabu Mabu's delicious catering is unique and flavourful.

Close up of hand taking food from plate.


Jarrah Catering

Jarrah Catering is a proud Aboriginal company dedicated to feeding people, culture, connection and their rich heritage. Their delicious food is inspired by native and traditional produce, and they take pride in their own unique fusion of flavours because they believe theirs is a story and a cuisine worth sharing.

Close up of three diners eating outdoors.


Pawa Catering

Pawa Catering merges classic Western favourites with locally sourced native ingredients, creating an Indigenous fusion experience like no other. Their dishes highlight the incredible native produce eaten by their families for generations, delivering a unique flavour-packed menu that will keep guests coming back for more. You can also book Pawa Catering for business events held at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

Graphic designers, photographers and videographers

Engage with talented Aboriginal graphic designers and creative agencies to capture the essence of your business event - from designing a conference logo, unique lanyard, or a spectacular light projection, to professional slide presentations; video highlights of your incentive program and more. Weave an Indigenous-inspired graphic design to incorporate a culture-rich element to your program or request a look to fit your brief and brand.

T J Garvie Photography

T J Garvie Photography is owned and run by Aboriginal woman Tiffany Garvie. Past clients include Clemenger BBDO, City of Melbourne, Melbourne Theatre Company, Koorie Heritage Trust, University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Writers' Festival.

Jacinta Keefe Photography

Jacinta Keefe Photography is an Aboriginal visual artist with a degree in Fine Arts specialising in photography from the Victorian College of Arts. Jacinta's events experience includes shooting the First & Forever concert celebrating Blak excellence through Creative Victoria and Mushroom Publishing.


Ngarga Warendj

Ngarga Warendj (Dancing Wombat) produces high quality contemporary Indigenous Art, using designs based on traditional symbols from Southeast Australia. Ngarga Warendj creates bespoke pieces for a wide range of projects including branding for conferences, logos and public art installations.


Little Rocket

Little Rocket is a full-service marketing and creative agency providing end-to-end strategic and innovative solutions. They provide everything from graphic design and event management to PR, merchandise and videography services.


Bayila Creative

Inspired by Indigenous storytelling and connection, Bayila Creative provides graphic design, bespoke artwork, murals and photography.


Lion Heart Nation Productions

Lion Heart Nation Productions provides photography, videography and soundscape production services for corporate clients.

Florists

Infuse your business event with Australian native flowers and foliage to give your conference, meeting or gala a distinctly local feel by engaging with Melbourne’s inspired Aboriginal floral artists.

Shahn Stewart from Alchemy Orange


Alchemy Orange

Alchemy Orange is a botanical design studio based in Naarm, established by proud Yorta Yorta woman Shahn Stewart. Drawing on Shahn’s decade of floristry experience, Alchemy Orange’s work focuses on challenging the preconceived notions of what constitutes floral art by re-contextualising mundane and unconventional materials, transforming them into organic architecture.

Restaurant/venues

Get a taste of Melbourne’s cutting-edge culinary world by hosting your conference dinner or cocktail party at one of the city’s outstanding Indigenous-owned and run restaurants and event venues. Dial up your incentive program with a taste of local native ingredients and flavours. Learn why Melbourne is known as the cultural capital of Australia. And treat your employees or delegates to the latest trends in Victoria’s contemporary foodies scene.

Chef Nornie Bero at Big Esso


Big Esso

Big Esso is conveniently located at Federation Square and offers a unique menu inspired by the Torres Strait Islands and Australia’s tropical north.

Their event spaces are available daytime from 11am to 4pm (excluding Saturday and Sunday) and evening from 6pm to late (excluding Friday and Saturday).

Big Esso is also working towards a sustainable and socially driven supply chain, sourcing where possible from First Nations and other groups who align with their ethos.

Capacity:

  • Entire venue: 65 seated, 100 standing
  • Beer garden: 100 guests
  • Aretha Brown dining area – 20 seated
  • Waup High top area – 32 seated, 60 standing
Close up behind cocktail bar counter.


Interlude Cocktail Bar & Restaurant

Interlude Cocktail Bar & Restaurant is a sleek, sensual, high-end venue located along Melbourne’s iconic Chapel Street.

This 100 per cent Aboriginal female-owned and operated lux cocktail bar and restaurant has been inspired by Indigenous culture and innovative bars and restaurants around the world. You'll experience a distinct focus on incorporating and platforming First Nations native, local and natural ingredients, such as their signature cocktails like the Davidson Plum Sour, Kakadu Plum & Mango Martini and more.

Engaging with other First Nation-owned businesses and suppliers, this cocktail bar and restaurant is determined to give back to community while continuing to maintain high standards of service.

Capacity: 60 people cocktail

Entertainment, activations, MC's and keynote speakers

Infuse Indigenous culture and diversity into your business event program and support local artists, musicians, chefs and more – whether it be a didgeridoo performer welcoming visitors and delegates, a talented singer providing entertainment for your gala, a mesmerising Acknowledgement of Country, an Indigenous culinary cooking demonstration and tasting, or a fascinating keynote speaker.

Shauntee Sherree


Shauntai Sherree Abdul-Rahman

If you want your delegates to experience a moving, highly unique Acknowledgement of Country at the introduction of your business event, consider booking Indigenous singer, songwriter and Soprano Shauntai Sheree Abdul-Rahman. Visit Victoria and the Melbourne Convention Bureau engaged with Shauntai to deliver a very special Acknowledgement of Country sung in Wiradjuri at their end-of-year staff meeting held at Melbourne’s ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) in Federation Square. Visit her Artist Booking page to watch Shauntai perform this piece, written by Deborah Cheetham AO and accompanied by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Shauntee can also be booked to sing at your major gala event.

Bumpy


Bumpy

For a special gala event consider award-winning Noongar woman and Naarm (Melbourne)-based artist Bumpy (Amy Dowd) who has a voice that ripples stars. She has wowed crowds at BIGSOUND, NIMAS, VIVID Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, NGV & Dreamtime at the MCG and more with her deeply affecting music - a shimmering collection of R&B and neo-soul.

Kiernan Ironfield


Kiernan Ironfield

Through the vibrations of the Yidaki, a didgeridoo-like instrument, self-taught player Kiernan Ironfield, a proud Dharug man, provides spaces for thought and introspection. Kiernan has performed for major televised sporting games as well as conferences, exhibitions and more.

Kutcha Edwards


Kutcha Edwards

After years of performing in bands, Kutcha Edwards launched his solo career in 2002. He has released several albums, receiving a string of awards and accolades. Kutcha’s latest album, ‘Circling Time’ was launched at the Arts Centre in Melbourne. The album features some of Kutcha’s most brilliant work receiving wide acclaim. The chorus for first single ‘We Sing’ features a choir of 70 voices that included acclaimed artists Archie Roach, Paul Kelly, Judith Durham, Joe Geia, Emily Wurramara, Emma Donovan, Rebecca Barnard and many more. Kutcha has also written and performed in theatre productions, created a web series with Screen Australia and delivered keynote speeches at conferences and other major events.

DJ Kalyani


DJ Kalyani

Head to the depths of the Narrm (Melbourne) underground with DJ Kalyani providing everything from rap, UK bass and techno for your event. A Trawlwoolway musician and curator, DJ Kalyani has shared music inside ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image), Melbourne Museum and at festivals like Sun Cycle and Dark Mofo.

Djirri Djirri Dancers


Djirri Djirri dancers

Include a dance performance with the Djirri Djirri dancers. The Djirri Djirri are a Wurundjeri female dance group and Traditional Custodians of Narrm (Melbourne) and surrounds. They have performed at many large high-profile events in Melbourne.

Nornie Bero


Nornie Bero

Deliver culture and diversity to your business event by engaging with Chef Nornie Bero and other top Victorian Indigenous speakers, via Melbourne Convention Bureau partner ICMI Speakers & Entertainers.

Nornie’s story is as delicious as her passion for native food. She has been a professional chef for over 20 years and is the executive chef and business owner of Melbourne’s Mabu Mabu catering and Big Esso by Mabu Mabu restaurant at Federation Square.

Chefs from National Indigenous Culinary Institute


National Indigenous Culinary Institute

Create a fun activation at your conference or exhibition booth with a live cooking demonstration and tasting from the National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI). NICI offers elite training and experience for aspiring Indigenous chefs, offering opportunities for them to be trained and mentored by Australia’s top Chefs at restaurants including Melbourne’s Bistro Guillaume, The European, Movida and more.

NICI wants their graduates to make major contributions to the hospitality industry through their skills and leadership. And to see more Indigenous chefs with their own restaurants and food businesses, with their own chef’s hat awards, and with their own success stories.

Head shot of Cathy Freeman


Cathy Freeman OAM OLY

Cathy Freeman is a proud Kuku Yalanji woman based in Narrm (Melbourne) and an Australian Indigenous Olympic champion.

From 2007 to 2021 was Co-Founder and Director of the Cathy Freeman Foundation which focuses on supporting Indigenous children to experience their potential in school and beyond and realise their dreams. The vision of the Cathy Freeman Foundation is simple but ambitious; to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with the best education outcomes and optimal opportunities in life.

Cathy can be booked via Melbourne Convention Bureau partner, Saxton Speakers Bureau.

Head shot of Shelly Ware


Shelly Ware

Shelley Ware is a proud Yankunytjatjara and Wirangu woman based in Naarm (Melbourne). For the past decade or so, Shelley has worked in the media as a radio and television presenter on both local and national AFLM and AFLW football news shows. She has become one of the most respected and recognised female presenters of AFLM and AFLW football in the country and is a sought-after MC and Keynote Speaker.

Shelley is also a teacher who writes the national curriculum for teachers at Culture is Life and the primary and secondary curriculum for NAIDOC week with SBS Learn. Shelly can be booked via Melbourne Convention Bureau partner, Saxton Speakers Bureau.

Head shot of Todd Fernando


Todd Fernando

Todd Fernando is a descendant of the Kalarie peoples of the Wiradjuri nation and identifies as queer with pronouns he/him.

Todd is the Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities - the second person to fill this ground-breaking position. In this role, Todd works closely with Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ communities to provide crucial advice to the Victorian Government on the development of policies, services and programs that are inclusive and meet the needs of our diverse communities. Todd is also an accomplished diversity and inclusion consultant and public intellectual with extensive research experience working with both First Nations and LGBTIQ+ communities.

Todd can be booked via Melbourne Convention Bureau partner Saxton Speakers Bureau.

Head shot of Antoinette Braybrook


Antoinette Braybrook AM

Antoinette Braybrook AM is an Aboriginal woman born on Wurundjeri country and the CEO of Djirra - an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation that provides holistic, culturally safe, legal and non-legal support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience family violence – predominantly women. Djirra also designs and delivers important, community-based early intervention and prevention programs and undertakes policy and law reform work to improve access to justice, strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s resilience, and reduce vulnerability to violence.

Antoinette is a highly regarded public speaker, who seeks to give a voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have experienced family violence,

Nartarsha - proud First Nations women in ceremonial dress.


Nartarsha - Queen Acknowledgements

Nartarsha is a proud First Nations woman and mother who delivers powerful and impactful Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies. Incorporating dance, song and soul they serve as a true representation of indigenous culture, country and ancestry. You can also engage Nartarsha to speak at your corporate event or staff meeting, where she will share her personal journey with a focus on mind and body wellbeing, cultural connection and empowerment and confidence. Nartarsha can also customise her talks to meet your organisations needs, including topics about Power of Acknowledging Country, Trauma to Triumph and Pain to Power, and Women in Confidence.

Mick Harding artist holding Indigenous wood carving above his head


Mick Harding

Taungurung fine artist and cultural educator Mick Harding, owner of design studio Ngarga Warendj, specialises in woodworking, sculpture, printmaking and giftwares, Mick's art has been given to visiting dignitaries from countries around the world. In addition to his successful art career, Mick is available to deliver cultural discussions and exhibition activations, such as a live demonstration of traditional shield wood burning.


Lee Couch

Lee has many years and extensive training in the health and wellness field. Business event planners may wish to engage with Lee to run a customised workshop or team building experience, such as Wayapa Wuurrk®. Wayapa is an Indigenous earth mindfulness practice that combines narrative meditation and physical movement to create mind, body and spirit wellbeing. Wayapa is based on lndigenous knowledge and concepts and guides you to Connect to Country.


Branded merchandise and corporate gifts

Deliver positive impact and lasting legacies when using a First Nations-owned and led merchandise company to brand promotional goods for your business event.


Position Promo

Position Promo is an independent, Aboriginal-owned and operated company dedicated to elite standards and best practices in the supply of promotional merchandise and apparel.

Their strong domestic and international supply relationships mean they can source new and innovative products before they enter the Australian market.

Position Promo's vision is to be a supplier of choice for corporate Australia and to deliver tangible social impact for Aboriginal Australians through the investment of profits into their Social Impact Fund.

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Ngarga Warendj

Ngarga Warendj (Dancing Wombat) produces high-quality corporate gifts and hampers featuring contemporary Indigenous art, using designs based on traditional symbols from Southeast Australia.

Loco for Cocoa

Family-run, Indigenous-owned Loco for Cocoa chocolates are perfect for corporate and welcome gifts. Their delicious couverture chocolate is made by Loco for Cocoa's owner and proud Kamileroi woman, Teena, who was a pastry chef and chocolatier for many years before launching her own Melbourne-based business. Handmade using premium ingredients and original recipes, you'll even find vegan and gluten-free options, as well as unique blends using native ingredients such as Wattleseed.

Activities and experiences

Connect your delegates and employees to Melbourne and regional Victoria’s Aboriginal history and contemporary culture as part of your conference, meeting or incentive program. It could be anything from a guided cultural river walk to stretch the legs after lunch, an art experience, or a country retreat to meet, dine, wine, cycle, cruise and explore bushland with an Indigenous guide.

Parklands of Birrarung Wilam Walk



Birrarung Wilam Walk

Originating in the hills east of Melbourne, the Birrarung (Yarra River) meanders through the suburbs of Melbourne before entering the city and spilling into Port Phillip Bay.

With a knowledgeable Cultural Experience Guide, your group will set out from the iconic Federation Square on a one hour walk to discover how Melbourne’s land has changed over time and the significance of the Birrarung Wilam to the local Kulin Peoples. This experience will provide a deeper and more meaningful understanding of this important gathering place for the Kulin Nation.

Book this experience via the NatureBoss app or via the Koorie Heritage Trust. Customised and private guided tours available.

Koorie Heritage Trust building



The Koorie Heritage Trust

The Koorie Heritage Trust is conveniently located in Federation Square and offers a standalone and independent arts and cultural centre – the first of its kind in an Australian capital city. Enjoy permanent collections and rotating exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, cultural artifacts, and even oral history recordings. Delegates may also want to browse the on-site shopKOORIE for authentic Victorian Aboriginal products and designs as a memento of their trip.

Consider purchasing VIP welcome souvenirs from shopKOORIE online

People on bush tour with wawa biik
Close up of hand holding bush foods pulled out of the ground.


wawa biik

Escape the city for a corporate planning retreat, board meeting, small conference or memorable incentive reward experience. Travel to Nagambie in Central Victoria for fresh air, local wine and food, art and culture. As part of your event program, treat employees and delegates to a four hour wawa biik Taungurung cultural experience, where your guides will take you to a special place that holds deep cultural value.

Take part in a traditional Welcome Smoking Ceremony, spend time yarning with two Taungurung leaders, connect with their beautiful waterways onboard a cruise through the wetlands of Tabilk-Tabilk (place of many waterholes), enjoy morning tea using delicious bush foods, a cruise on the Tahbilk wetlands, and a Taungurung-led walk along the Indigenous flora trail. Guests will even get a possum skin cloak photo opportunity as a memento of their experience.

Getting out on Country with wawa biik is perfect for small leadership groups and Board Directors who have a responsibility for cultural competence and respect. It’s also perfect for any team that seeks a fun day out of the office, or international visitors wanting an authentic cultural experience connecting with the seasonal changes of Country through the eyes of First Nations custodians.

Find out more

There are many First Peoples-owned and operated cultural experiences and tours in regional Victoria, including Worn Gundidj along the Great Ocean Road in Tower Hill, Budj Bim Cultural Landscape and Tours on a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site in South Western Victoria and Eagle Cultural Tours in the Southern Grampians. Ask the Melbourne Convention Bureau for advice when planning a culture-rich First Nations-led experience for your business event in regional Victoria.

Tourists on outdoor guided walk at Birrarung Marr.

Random facts about the Birrarung

The Birrarung was once an eel breeding ground; where shark, dolphin and stingrays could be found.

The Wurundjeri lived in camps along Birrarung, in small huts or mia mias made of bark.

Red gum trees on the banks of the Birrarung were used to build canoes, allowing men to fish and travel down the river.

For Aboriginal people of the Kulin nations, the Birrarung was a carved into the landscape by the ancestral creater, Bunjil, the wedge-tailed eagle, providing food and protection for Aboriginal groups throughout the seasons.

Ask MCB to provide free assistance to build your conference or incentive program using local Indigenous events suppliers.


CONTENTS

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Indigenous Supplier Guide for Business Events


Sample Incentive Itinerary - One Day Urban Culture and Adventure Experience


Inspiration - Plan a Culture-Rich Gala Event with a Wow Factor


Putting it Into Practice - How MCB Works with Indigenous Suppliers


Sample Incentive Itinerary - Two Day Culture, Wine and Nature Adventure in Regional Victoria

SUPPORTED BY

Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Victoria

The Kinaway Chamber of Commerce helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in Victoria thrive. As a registered charity, Kinaway provides business support and advice, helps improve visibility and networks, strengthen relationships and create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses across Victoria.

Find out more about Kinaway


Lead the way. Share your positive impact story!

Communicating the steps you take to support local First Peoples businesses and to incorporate Indigenous flavours and experiences into your business event program is a crucial step in driving awareness and momentum across the industry.

MCB encourages you to share your positive impact initiatives with your audiences in the hope this will enact change and encourage other business event planners to follow your lead.


Contact MCB

The Melbourne Convention Bureau team are here to provide free guidance for your next conference, meeting, incentive program or gala event. Contact us for advice, recommendations and referrals to create a business event with positive impact.


Artwork by Yorta Yorta artist Chloe Jones.