Aboriginal women from across the Hastings and wider Mid North Coast came together to see how they can further support each other in the community.
Conversation flowed about how the local community could embrace the Nyiirun Djiyagan Wakulda Women's Festival at a lunch on September 17.
Organiser Rhonda Radley said the festival is held in May of each year at the Birpai Land Council and is a celebration of culture and femininity but the connections made extend beyond the festival.
"Our Djiyagan Dhanbaan group are wanting to bring Aboriginal women together to lift each other up rather than a society where we pull each other down," Ms Radley said.
"Today we gathered as a group to discuss ways we can connect and to start the planning for the 2020 festival which will have a focus on wellbeing and sharing our stories.
"We have been holding this festival for a few years now and it is all about strengthening our connections between women on that day and every day."
The 2020 Women's Festival will be held on May 8.
"We want the festival to be a place where we can support and nurture women in the community but also a place where we can share our culture," she said.
"Over the years the festival has turned into a place where we are making connections in the community and developing a real cultural exchange between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community.
"That can be sharing stories, music and dances but also sharing the struggles so we can face them together.
"We have also developed a space where our young girls can feel comfortable developing their skills and passions surrounded by a welcoming community."
Ms Radley said she hopes lunches and meeting like this can lead to a more structured group forming to create real change in the community.
"Events like the Women's Festival bring together women from all over the region which is so special.
"We are hoping to create a Regional Aboriginal Women's Network so that we can lobby governments and organisations for change in our community. We do not want hand outs but more working collaboratively to solve issues in our community."
Kylie Dowse said gatherings of women were important to forge long lasting, empowering connections.
"The sharing of stories and culture across the region is so important and the festival brings together women across the generations as well as geographically," Ms Dowse said.
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