Entering a male-dominated industry has proved no impediment to youthful Indigenous Development Support Officers Marissa Tabuai and Dekarsha Friel.
The enthusiastic duo has embraced the culture at the Northern Territory’s Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries and put their own stamp on highlighting the opportunities for young indigenous women in the territory.
Dekarsha entered the public service through an apprenticeship program while Marissa followed a different career path.
But they both ended up in the NT’s public service promoting Indigenous interests and customary fishing practices with a view to creating better understanding and appreciation of the expertise of first nation peoples in the management and harvesting of Australia’s seafood resources.
“I love the job I have,” Dekarsha said. “The only goal that I would have at the moment is to put 100 per cent into anything that I do.
“I want to be able to look back on life and be able to say that I always tried. You know, this (the fishing industry) has always been male-dominated, but times are changing and I have found that as a woman, I am treated equally and have had great opportunities to learn from people who have many years’ experience.”
“I met the Indigenous unit (of Fisheries) when I was 16 and I was intensely interested in what they did. Since that day I’ve wanted to be a part of NT Fisheries,” she said.
“Being able to work here is like a dream come true and all I really want to do at the moment is consolidate my skills and work towards the goals of the department.
“The whole idea is to look after our fisheries resources so that everyone can enjoy fishing in a sustainable way for generations to come. “And if that means highlighting the opportunities for women – so be it – I firmly believe that more woman should be involved in the industry and I hope that my experience will set an example that others may follow.”