PUUYA STORIES

Wayne Butcher, Director

Having spent the vast majority of his life in Lockhart River, Cr Wayne Butcher is a true Lockhart River local. His passion for his people, his community and his country eventually led him to become Mayor of Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council, a position he has held since 2012.

Wayne’s role as Mayor, along with his focus on improving the educational and employment opportunities for the Lockhart community which he regards as an integral to the long term success and of the community as a whole make him an ideal member of the Puuya Foundation board.

“Puuya is the life force of our people. It’s about owning our own problems and issues in our community and trying to get the strength from the inside looking out again and making it better for the next generation that’s going to come along.”

Wayne also holds qualifications and experience in the field of community development, and he is able to draw on his knowledge and skills in this area in order to help the Puuya Foundation to implement new, community-led ideas and strategies as part of the Puuya Foundation mission.

Through his dual-roles as Mayor and Puuya Foundation Board member Wayne is uniquely placed to appreciate the unique role of the Foundation, and its approach.

“Puuya Foundation is the facilitator. Its focus is on creating a better environment in the community. And that’s in all aspects, that’s in economics in basic lifestyle, working environment and so on.”

“Prior to the Puuya Foundation being formed I think the community had lost its direction. But when the Puuya Foundation started we did a community plan and we also did a Puuya strategy. The idea was to try to capture the weakness in the community and try to steer it in a better direction.”

“If the Puuya Foundation wasn’t here it would be impossible for us to try and address some of the social fabric issues here in our community because there is no one focussing on that. And I think that is the important role that the Puuya Foundation is going to play in the future: is to change people’s attitude and behaviour for the betterment of the community.”

Wayne regards education is a key priority for Lockhart River, as an essential component of developing young leaders of the future.

“Education will open doors. It will open doors of opportunity. Because the last thing we want is for our children to come back and just to live in Lockhart. We’d like them to go out and explore the world and then bring that skill back.”

Wayne is also an advocate for the continuity of Lockhart Language and Culture; he continues to thrive through the support of his Elders teaching the survival of Lockhart traditions to the younger people.