News Release

National Indigenous Television

  • Simulcast across SBS and Channel 10, NITV’s Sunrise Ceremony moves to Queensland for the first time.
  • Premiering on NITV, The Whole Table hosted by award-winning actress Shari Sebbens will explore the issues facing Indigenous peoples around the world through an arts and cultural lens. 
  • Slow TV returns to NITV with Bamay II, taking audiences on a bird’s eye view journey of Australian landscapes.
  • NITV’s The Point hosts a special episode live from Sydney Festival’s The Vigil on the Day of Mourning - Exclusive content collections exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories available across all SBS channels and SBS On Demand.
  • Educational resources available through SBS Learn. 

National Indigenous Television (NITV) and SBS invite communities to deepen their understanding of January 26 and what it means to be Australian through the upcoming programming slate, Always Was, Always Will Be.

Dedicated programs, special events, premieres and news highlights will air across both NITV and SBS from January 19-26 with a focus on encouraging greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

Director of Indigenous Content at SBS, Tanya Denning-Orman, said: “As Australia’s national Indigenous broadcaster, NITV provides a vital platform for First Nations voices, truth-telling, and inspiration for all Australians.

“January 26 continues to be a time of reflection and healing for our communities, and as the nation marks the day, NITV and SBS play a unique role in bringing all Australians – regardless of their background - together, through an honest and respectful conversation about our nation’s identity and the impact of history on our lives today.

“This year, once again, we’re inviting all Australians to join us to take part in this discussion, as we explore and reflect, and encourage an understanding of Australia’s past, present and potential for the future.”

For the first time, NITV’s Sunrise Ceremony will move to Queensland. In a two-hour special network event, broadcast live from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), audiences will be invited to enhance their understanding of Australia’s past, present and future as the dawn rises, while acknowledging and embracing a shared future. Hosted by NITV’s John Paul Janke and featuring Network 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs, the program will feature a range of guests, including Quandamooka representatives the Traditional Owners of Minjerribah), respective Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices including Guyala Bayles, and public figures such as Kerry O’Brien, plus incredible musical performances from artists including Electric Fields and Troy Cassar-Daley. 

The event will be simulcast across NITV, SBS and Channel 10 from 6am on Tuesday January 26, as well as live on SBS On Demand.

Inspired by an immense year of worldwide activism and attention on race relations, NITV is proud to launch The Whole Table in collaboration with the Sydney Theatre Company. Premiering on Wednesday January 20 at 8:30pm, the three-part special will feature a round table discussion exploring Indigenous issues faced in the arts around the world. Hosted by Shari Sebbens (The Sapphires, Top End Wedding, Redfern Now), and helmed by panellists Wesley Enoch, Nakkiah Lui and Rhoda Roberts, each episode will invite different guests to the table to debate and better understand Indigenous affairs in the arts. Academy Award winner Taika Waititi and renowned actor Miranda Tapsell lead the list of significant guests that will join the panellists throughout each episode.

On Monday January 25, join NITV for 24 hours of reflection and healing on the Day of Mourning. 

As the sun sets, audiences are invited to tune into The Point: Vigil Special, live from Barangaroo, Gadigal Country, in partnership with Sydney Festival. Marking the return of NITV’s flagship current affairs program for 2021, host Rachael Hocking will lead a conversation with a panel of Indigenous and multicultural guests about the stories that define us as Australians and how we move forward as a unified nation honouring and respecting the true history of our country. The Point: Vigil Special will broadcast live from 7:30pm on NITV, NITV Facebook Live, SBS On Demand and SBS VICELAND. From 8:30-10:30pm, stay tuned for live rolling coverage of The Vigil on NITV.

Slow TV will then return to NITV throughout the night in the form of Bamay II. From 10:30pm 3:30am, viewers can enjoy a bird’s eye view of some of Australia's most stunning landscapes - from the Snowy Mountains to the Whitsundays. Accompanied by factoids, Bamay II pays tribute to that which gives us life: Country. The Slow TV spectacular will be repeated on SBS from 10:30pm on Sunday January 31.

Following the Sunrise Ceremony on January 26, rolling news coverage from every corner of the country will be hosted via NITV News on air and via Facebook Live, culminating in a wrap program NITV News: Day 26 at 7:30pm. 

Viewers can also tune into Rabbit Proof Fence, Always Was Always Will Be, Vote Yes for Aborigines, Croker Island Exodus, Dhakiyarr Vs The King, Big Wet and Island Paradise: Living In the Torres Strait throughout the day on NITV and SBS.

From 8:30pm on January 26, Warwick Thornton’s masterpiece The Beach will return to NITV and SBS. Join the filmmaker as he gives up life in the fast lane to go it alone on an isolated beach in one of the most beautiful yet brutal environments in the world, to see if he can transform and heal his life. 

NITV’s award winning news and current affairs programs will return in the week leading up to January 26. Hosted by Natalie Ahmat, Nula (NITV's weekly news in review program) will return on Friday January 22. Karla Grant will be joined by Australian lawyer, academic, land rights activist and founder of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, Noel Pearson on Living Black at 7:00pm on Monday January 25.

Earlier in the week, on Thursday January 21, Warwick Thornton’s award-winning film Sweet Country returns to NITV at 8:30pm. Set in the late 1920s on the Northern Territory frontier, justice itself is put on trial in this period Western.

On Monday January 28, viewers are invited to join NITV at 7:30pm as it airs SBS’ Australia in Colour – a program that explores the history of Australia told through a unique collection of cinematic moments brought to life for the first time in colour, as the story of how Australia came to be the nation it is today unfolds.

At 7:30pm on Sunday January 24, Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky returns to screens as Steven Oliver and a group of the nation’s deadliest singers and songwriters create a modern-day songline that tells the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander story of connection to Country, resistance and survival throughout history. 

SBS On Demand will host Australian content on the SBS On Demand homepage on Tuesday January 26, as well as an ‘Australian Made’ curated collection of programs, selected by playwright and artistic director Wesley Enoch and, from Tuesday January 26, newly subtitled episodes of First Australians will be available and translated into five languages: Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Hindi and Korean, in order to make the program more accessible to multicultural communities.

In the lead up to January 26, NITV Online’s Take It Blak podcast will host a conversation on the issues and topics that surround the day. Hosted by Jack Latimore, listeners will have the chance to hear Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander opinions and analysis around one of the most contentious days in the calendar.

Throughout the week, NITV Radio will be interviewing incredible talent from across the Always Was, Always Will Be programming slate including Troy Cassar-Daley, Shari Sebbens and Adam Manovic (Head of Entertainment, Events & Creative, NITV).

SBS World Movies will air Tudawali on Tuesday January 26 at 9:30pm. Starring Ernie Dingo, the film provides an insight into the life of the first Indigenous Australian film star, and how he became an iconic actor in the Australian film industry.

SBS Food will host a marathon of On Country Kitchen from 8.30am-4:00pm. Join Aboriginal chef Mark Olive and comedian Derek Nannup as they fuse native bush ingredients with contemporary cooking, to create mouth-watering dishes and simple cooking tips from our own backyard.

SBS Sport will place a spotlight on stories celebrating Indigenous Paralympians, as well as collaborating with the NBL to produce a series of conversations for its NBL: Next Generation program with the first Indigenous Australian to play in the NBA, Torres Strait Islander man Nate Jawai, highlighting conversations with the next generation of Indigenous Australian basketball players. 

SBS Learn will support teachers across the country and encourage engagement with the conversations around January 26 by providing trusted resources and learning opportunities. New resources that explore The Point and Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky (in partnership with the Maritime Museum) will be released. These add to extensive teacher resources exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, cultures and histories on SBS Learn.

Join the conversation on social media #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe. 

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