NATSIEHC23 International Keynote Announcement & updates

In this week’s NATSIEHC23 Conference update, we are excited to share details about our third keynote speaker. We have information about the Gala dinner and the talented artists performing: Eric Avery and KEBI KUB.

We are now only 6 weeks out from the Conference! Tickets are limited and going fast, make sure to register early.

Keynote Speaker

NATSIEHC23 organisers are excited to announce the our first international keynote speaker, Māori Optometrist Renata Watene, Senior Optometrist and Director, Occhiali Optometrist.

Renata Watene is one only of a few Māori Optometrists in Aotearoa. She has whakapapa (lineage) to Ngā Puhi and Tainui (tribes). As an immerging Indigenous Eye Health Leader, Renata holds several positions in Governance as a Healthcare Practitioner, Professional Teaching Fellow, Researcher, Business Owner and Health advocate.   

With a twenty-three-year career in Optics, Renata has worked in private practice, corporate and franchise models in New Zealand and Australia. Currently, she is the Senior Optometrist and Director of her own two clinics - Occhiali Optometrist, the only 100% Indigenous-owned and operated clinics in the Auckland/Northern region amongst the highest population of Indigenous people in NZ.

Renata's governance experience includes being the current Chair of the Strategic Indigenous Taskforce for Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand, an elected member of the NZ Association of Optometry, a selected NIB Iwi Partnership Board member, and a past Ministerial Appointment to the Waitemata District Health Board.

Renata has a deep passion for improving equity for populations through Indigenous models of care that are accessible and focus on intergenerational gains.

Renata is also strong advocate for promoting Optometry and Health careers for Rangatahi Māori (Māori youth), supporting Te Whaka Piki Ake and Hikitia te Ora (a former student of the programme). In 2019 she was appointed a Kaiāwhina at the University of Auckland School of Vision Science. Some of her research projects include a multidisciplinary approach to Diabetes, the Aotearoa Vision Bus and the WHO Eyecare Situational Analysis Tool.

Renata is eager to share her whakaaro (thoughts) on Indigenous Health and how it can help us all, as well as highlight prevention as a critical health strategy.

renata Watene

Gala Dinner & Awards

The Gala dinner and 2023 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Awards will take place on Thursday 25 May from 6.15pm - 9pm at the CommBank Stadium.

We are excited to share that we have secured violinist, vocalist dancer and composer Eric Avery and Torres Straight Islander dancers KEBI KUB to provide the evenings entertainment. We will also be announcing the winner of the Eye Health Awards.

Tickets for the Gala dinner are included in a 'full (3 day)' conference registration. Additional tickets can be purchased on the Conference registration page.

Eric Avery

Eric is a musician and dance artist whose work has encompassed many styles and forms. Beginning piano at age 7 and then continuing on to learn classical music by ear Eric progressed on to play violin and classical music by ear at 11 years of age, which continued to stun people at Kogarah High School. He then began to learn to craft artistry, music/dance/acting at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts. Eric is a contemporary violinist, beginning to learn by ear when he was 12 and then he undertook formal studies on violin since he was 14.

Eric’s work has consisted of creating music to exist in Indigenous contemporary dance worlds as graduating NAISDA Dance College thrust him into an independent dance career. Creating music, dance and video for his pieces has enabled Eric to work interdisciplinary for the last 10 years utilising skills to push his music and culture ahead.


Baring roots from the Eastern Islands of the Torres Strait, Darnley Island (Erub Ailan) and Murray Island (Mer Ailan). Our core is grounded by family and the passion of gifting cultural knowledge to our next generations and the world through storytelling, art, song and dance.

Based in Sydney NSW we are few and far from home, so we teach our future to stand strong and proud in what is now and forever will be when passed down OURS.

Always keeping in mind we are just a small part of something greater.

eeric avery


Welcome Reception

The Welcome Reception will take place on Wednesday 24 May from 12-1pm in Prince Alfred Square (see map). The reception will include a Welcome to Country, Smoking Ceremony and dance performance by Jannawi Dance Clan.

After the Welcome you will make your way back to the Novotel to enjoy lunch, before the afternoon First Nations and non First Nations workshops commence at 2pm.

Jannawi Dance Clan

From the rich story telling traditions of Aboriginal NSW Jannawi dance clan shines a light on strength, resilience and artistry of Aboriginal women, men, youth and dance culture today.

Jannawi dance clan is an Indigenous dance company encompassing modern urban and traditional Aboriginal dance styles with traditional music by song man Matthew Doyle singing in the Sydney languages.

The name Jannawi means ‘with me, with you’ in the Darug language of NSW Jannawi has a passion and are dedicated to continue and revitalize Sydney’s language culture and stories.

dancers in a circle with netting

The Dance clan members come from diverse Aboriginal and/or Torre Strait Islander communities from around the county and consists of world class professionally trained multi skilled performing artists, whilst engaging with and mentoring community performers to be a part of and perform with Jannawi.

Jannawi is committed to nurturing a strong cultural and contemporary identity, following the traces of our ancestor’s footprints. This is achieved by remaining strongly connected to the roots of its tradition, and creating a cultural pathway of dance, song and stories, from both past and present.

Bursary applications closing soon

Applications for bursaries are available to support First Nations delegates to attend the 2023 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Conference (NATSIEHC23).

Bursaries are intended to support First Nations People to be able to attend and participate in this exciting annual sector gathering. Applications are not limited to those currently working in and around eye care, and we encourage students and other interested community members to consider applying for this unique opportunity. Visit our website for further information on selection criteria and how to apply.

The 2023 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Awards

Award nominations are now open. The 2023 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Awards recognise achievements and contributions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health. These sector awards, formerly known as the Leaky Pipe Awards, have been handed out to champions and unsung heroes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye care annually as part of the sector’s national conferences since 2018.
For more information and for nominations, please see the Conference website below.

Nominations Close 21 April, 2023

Award Nomination Form

Travel and Accommodation Information

The Conference website has now been updated with information about travel to the Conference and some local accommodation options.
Please see the Travel and Accommodation section of the Conference website for more information below.

For questions, additional information, or support with your nomination, please contact us at

Visit Conference Website

NATSIEHC23 branding, long format