GUMURRII officer participates in Queen’s Baton handover

Griffith University’s John Graham has formally received the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) Queen’s Baton for the final international leg of its journey in the lead up to the Games in April.

John, a senior learning assistance officer with the GUMURRII Student Support Unit, represented the Yugumbeh people with the traditional Maori owners of the land in Auckland passing on the Queen’s Baton ahead of its arrival in Australia on Christmas Eve.

“I was overwhelmed by this great honour and felt privileged to represent our people at this important ceremony,” John said.

The Queen’s Baton handed over by Ngati Whatua Kaumatua to Uncle John Graham in a farewell event giving the Baton back to the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast, in a cultural exchange ceremony concluding the international sector of the Queen’s Baton Relay, at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on December 23.

“I also felt privileged to be representing GUMURRII and Griffith University at this important stage of the Queen’s Baton’s journey throughout the Commonwealth on to its final destination at the Gold Coast in April.”

John was selected by the Yugumbeh Elders and the GC2018 Working Group for the official presentation where he will accept the Baton from the Maori people and deliver a speech. He will be accompanied by two other members of the Yugumbeh people who will perform dance and song during the ceremony.

John Graham’s Kombumerri people are part of the wider Yugumbeh language group. He has been involved with the Yugumbeh Elders group in an advisory capacity in planning and organising of Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games events including the Opening and Closing ceremonies.

“I have provided cultural advice to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) and information for other First Nations visitors coming here for the Games,” he said. “The proactive planning and discussions have been excellent.”

The Queen’s Baton Relay will continue through Australia following its arrival on Christmas Eve.

Griffith University’s Nathan and Gold Coast campuses will host celebration events to mark the Baton’s arrival on each campus on Saturday 31 March (Nathan) and Wednesday 4 April (Gold Coast) 2018.

Eight Griffith University representatives have received an official Batonbearer role on the Australian leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay.

The Queen’s Baton carries a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that calls on the Commonwealth’s athletes to come together in peaceful and friendly competition.

The GC2018 Queen’s Baton Relay will be the longest and the most accessible ever, not just passing through but spending quality time in each community it visits.

During the school holidays, the Queen’s Baton is engaging with thousands of Australians at popular summertime events, iconic locations and children’s hospitals around the country.

On 25 January 2018, the Queen’s Baton Relay will shift gears to a traditional relay starting in Canberra.