My name is Blake Tatafu. I am a 21 year old living on the Central Coast and in Western Sydney. I am an Aboriginal man; Wiradjuri and Dhungutti with my family hailing from Trangie and Kempsey on my mother’s side. I am also Tongan and Hawaiian on my father’s side, so I have been raised with lots of beautiful culture. I am currently in my last semester at University of Western Sydney, studying Community and Social Development.
This will be my second and a half time as host of IndigenousX, which is such an honour. It is such a great platform to promote many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who may not otherwise have their excellence recognised. During my week as IndigenousX, I will be in Melbourne attending my appointment as a youth reference group member with headspace, which is exciting. I will definitely live-tweet what we get up to. I seem to tweet a fair bit about music, which plays a big part in my life and just the general things that make up my day as a 21-year-old university student. I also usually like to tweet quotes or links that encourage positivity and inspiration, which I like to read on a daily basis. Sharing them as IndigenousX could change someone’s mood.
I have always been inspired by people in my everyday life. My family, and in particular my Nan, have been amazing role models. From my Nan, I have learnt integrity, tenacity, respect and of course, resilience. She’s possibly the strongest person I know and despite all of the trauma, pain and despair my family has been through, my Nan has always been the one to elevate our spirits with her generous, warm, strong heart. It’s everyday people like my Nan who really can change lives.
For a number of years now, I have been passionate about mental health and wellbeing.
Even early on in high school, I would ask so many questions about why we feel happy or sad or why people get “sick” from how they feel. It completely fascinated me. As I got older, I started to understand why this was and yearned to be a part of the amazing legion of people who work with people with mental health adversities and other illnesses.
Poor mental health can be a silent killer. I think that a lot of Australians do not feel able to grasp their own self-determination and find out more about mental health due to the stigma around it. I want to promote, assist and advocate for people with mental health adversities, working in particular with my fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who unfortunately still suffer heavily from the infinite amount of trauma which began with British invasion back in the 1700s, and continues to this day.
Life is unpredictable but so amazing at the moment. For myself, I hope to be working as a psychologist or community health officer in mental health services, specialising in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing. Speaking more broadly, I hope that the standard of living across health, wellbeing, education and welfare improves for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ultimately resulting in more positive communities that are self-determined and self-governed. In order for that to begin the whole of Australia needs to understand Aboriginal history and work with us to achieve this intergenerational struggle.