Speakers

Rhanee Jane Tsetsakos

Rhanee grew up in the City of Port Augusta 300km North of Adelaide, also known as the crossroads of Australia. Port Augusta is located at the eastern end of the Eyre Highway to Perth, the northern end of the Augusta Highway to Adelaide and the southern end of the Stuart Highway to Darwin. Living in this prime location has meant she has had access to educational, sporting employment and creative opportunities, which helped to shape the way she expresses herself today. Rhanee’s Aboriginal ancestry is tied to her mother’s side of the family, the ADNAMATNA people of the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia. She also embraces her father’s side which is a mixture of Indian and English roots, making her family a melting pot of cultures. Rhanee thoroughly enjoys being creative and using her imagination through the art of storytelling, writing, painting and drawing, so it is no surprise that English and Art were her 2 favourite subjects at school. She has a deep passion for constantly learning about the ancient ways of her old people and the ways in which they used to live in harmony with the land, the people and all of creation. Although she is not a fluent speaker of ADNAMATNA Yura Ngawarla (language), she hopes that by working on projects like ‘Walking to Corroboree’, it will become a useful tool to help in her goal to understanding and speaking more of her language.

Milise (Ofa) Foiakau

Bula Vinaka, my name is Milise Ofatuiamanaki Foiakau, but most know me as Ofa. 

Ofa is from the village of Sawana, Vanua Balavu, Lau and her vasu (mother's village) is Nailaga Ba. She spent the first few years of her life in Fiji before moving to Sydney with her parents. 

Ofa is passionate about young people and their journeys of faith, culture and life in today's society and is currently one of the Youth Leaders at Leigh Fijian, Parramatta Mission. She has also recently joined the Pulse Team, part of the Uniting Church’s NSW Synod, working with Children and Families, Youth and Young adults across Sydney and NSW. 

Ofa is also passionate about the environment. As a Christian who values and has a responsibility to God's creation, as a Fijian with strong connections and value to land, as a young person who has a lot of life to still journey through, being vocal and active during the current climate crisis is important. She acknowledges the ability and privilege she has been given to use her voice, and hopes to encourage others to use theirs too. 

Brooke Prentis

Brooke Prentis is an Aboriginal Christian Leader from the Wakka Wakka peoples. Brooke is the Aboriginal spokesperson for Common Grace and Coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering. Brooke works ecumenically speaking on issues of Justice affecting Australia and sharing a message of Reconciliation as friendship. Brooke has co-written and written a number of theological papers over the last two years that have been presented in Australia and Internationally. Brooke is a founding board member in Australia of NAIITS: an Indigenous Learning Community and is currently studying a Masters of Theology through NAIITS, in partnership with Whitley College and the University of Divinity, as well as being a scholar of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Brooke is a much sought after speaker and writer who is a community pastor and advocate who has a vision "to build an Australia built on truth, justice, love and hope". Brooke has appeared on national television and radio broadcasts including ABC’s The Drum, Soul Search with Dr Meredith Lake, God Forbid with James Carleton and Sunday Nights with John Cleary. 

Byron Smith

Dr Byron Smith is an ecological ethicist and Christian minister. His PhD in theological ethics (University of Edinburgh) focused on emotional responses to climate change in the context of Christian identity. He also holds honours degrees in theology, philosophy and literature. His time is split between pastoral ministry at St George's Anglican Church, Paddington, and a speaking/writing ministry helping churches join the dots between ecological justice and faith. He has authored a number of scholarly articles and book chapters, is a climate consultant for Common Grace (an Australian Christian justice movement), writes for a variety of online platforms, hosts a news digest podcast, The Good Dirt, and has joined in nonviolent direct actions against new coal projects and in support of people seeking asylum. Byron lives in Sydney with Jessica and their two young children and loves making soil and honey (or watching worms and bees do so).

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