Stage set for 2019 Nations of Origin event in Newcastle, Port Stephens

Opening of the 2018 Nations of Origin event in Raymond Terrace. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
Opening of the 2018 Nations of Origin event in Raymond Terrace. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Key themes of NAIDOC Week celebrations, social inclusion and change, will be further promoted this week in a sporting event involving 18 Aboriginal nations and 1200 students.

The annual PCYC Nations of Origin event will be staged in Newcastle and Port Stephens on July 16-19, seeing Indigenous and non-Indigenous students from across NSW aged 14-16 take part in sporting events that, competition results aside, has a wider goal of empowering youth to celebrate Australia's diverse Aboriginal culture.

"PCYC is committed to reconciliation and recognises the strength and unity that everyone can all draw from Aboriginal and Torres Strait heritage and culture, the oldest living culture in the world," Dominic Teakle, CEO of PCYC NSW, said.

"This is the largest event of its kind in Australia and PCYC is proud to be hosting the Nations event for the 7th year.

"Bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth together through a shared interest like sport introduces dialogue and encourages learning, relationship building and acceptance and that is what PCYC NSW's Nations of Origin is about."

About 18 nations will be represented in this year's event including Anaiwan, Awabakal, Barkindjii, Biripi, Bundjalung, Darkinjung, Darug, Dharwal, Eora, Gamilaraay, Gandangara, Gumbaynggir, Kamilaroi, Ngemba, Tharawal, Wiradjuri, Wonnarua and Yuin.

In total, about 5000 people are expected to attend Nations of Origin events across the four days of competition.

Last year, boys and girls in 115 teams representing 20 Aboriginal nations participated in netball, rugby league and futsal tournaments.

This year basketball has been added to the competition.

The rugby league sevens, which attract the largest attendance of the sports, will be staged at Lakeside ovals in Raymond Terrace between 8am-6.30pm on Tuesday, July 16 and 8am and 5pm on Wednesday, July 17.

The football fives, or futsal, will be staged at Lake Macquarie Football Facility in Speers Point 8.30am-4.30pm on July 17.

The netball competition will be contested at the Raymond Terrace courts 8.30am-4.30pm on Thursday, July 18, while the basketball competition will be contested at Newcastle Basketball Stadium on Friday, July 19 8.30am-4.30pm.

The Nations of Origin sporting events are being held on the land of the Worimi (Port Stephens) and Awabakal (Newcastle) First Nations people.