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Tiwi Islands Indigenous Protected Area

"Just as Tiwi traditional owners understood and cared for our land when we used it for the traditions in the past, the new generations of Tiwi land managers need to understand and care for it now and into the future. To keep our country healthy, our people healthy and our culture strong, we need to bring together our knowledge of the past with new ways of doing things today. A Tiwi IPA will help us to continue to look after our country and our culture for all the generations to come."

Gibson Farmer Illortaminni, Tiwi Land Council Chairman

The Tiwi Islands are on track to become an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in 2023. For Tiwi people this means they will be able to manage their country for biodiversity conservation with financial support from the Government. A Tiwi Islands IPA will deliver more than just environmental benefits, it will also help Tiwi protect the cultural values of their islands for future generations and result in significant health, education, economic and social benefits.

Tiwi IPA Consultation Project

Before an IPA can be dedicated a consultation phase with Traditional Owners must be undertaken. When the Tiwi Consultation project commenced in 2020 each landowner group – Jikilaruwu, Mantiyupwi, Wurankuwu, Malawu, Munupi, Wulirankuwu, Yimpinari and Marrikawuyanga - nominated two representatives for the IPA Planning Committee. Two senior cultural advisors were also elected to the Committee.

Over the past two years the Planning Committee and Tiwi Rangers have worked hard to develop the content for a draft IPA Plan of Management. The Plan highlights the strong connections between Tiwi people, country, traditional law, and culture, while also meeting national and international standards for protected area management.

IPA Dedication - 2023

The consultation phase is complete, and the draft Plan of Management will be reviewed by Traditional Owners by June. Once approved the final Plan of Management will be submitted to the Government and the Tiwi Islands IPA can be dedicated. This is expected to occur by the end of 2023.The Tiwi IPA will then become part of the National Reserve System, which includes all of Australia's IPAs, national parks, and nature reserves. It will be managed by Tiwi Rangers and administered by Tiwi Resources on behalf of the Tiwi Land Council. Nationally, the IPA Program is run by the Australian Government’s National Indigenous Australians Agency in partnership with the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

Tiwi Traditional Owners have developed goals for each of their IPA's Values.

 Tiwi IPA Values

 Tiwi Goals

 1. Tiwi Culture and People

Strong men and women and families maintaining and strengthening Tiwi culture, caring for country, respecting Elders, raising strong kids that know their country, language, totems, stories, dreamings, sacred sites and ceremony. 


 2. Cultural Places

Tiwi cultural places - sacred sites, spiritual places, hunting and camping areas, historic sites, and homelands - are intact, alive, protected, and cared for.

 3. Tiwi Country

Country is respected, hunting and fishing is good, it’s easy to access important food gathering places, and there are no feral animals or weeds.

 4. Plants and Animals

All Tiwi plants and animals are healthy, protected, and abundant, especially the plants and animals we use for food and culture.

 5. Bush Tucker and Medicines

Knowledge and use of Tiwi foods and medicines from land and sea is strong and being passed on.

 6. Rangers and the IPA

A Tiwi IPA with strong and committed Men, Women and Junior Rangers keeping land and sea country healthy and culture alive into the future.



In 2021 the Tiwi IPA Planning Committee developed a logo for their IPA - it tells everyone the name of the IPA and is a visual symbol that represents the Tiwi Islands and Tiwi people. The logo has the following elements, each of which has significant meaning for Tiwi:

  • Minta - Cycad (Cycas armstrongii)
  • Pipirriwini - Dragonfly
  • Jipwajirringa - Agile Wallaby
  • Japalingini - Headband worn during Pukumani ceremonial dances
  • Japurraringa - Forked fighting stick

'It looks nice, represents our bush tucker, our culture and our land.'
Jane Puautjimi (IPA Committee & Tiwi Resources Director)

'It is beautiful. The japurraringa, minta, and wallaby all show our connection to our land and our culture. Well done to the IPA Committee for this design!'
Alice Munkara (Tiwi Resources Board Chair)

'It tells the story about the wallaby protecting our land, and the japurraringa tells the story of our people and connects us to our ancestors.'
Ron Poantimilui (IPA Committee)

Further information:
Catherine Whitehead - Tiwi Ranger Program Manager
E: catherinewhitehead@tiwiresources.com.au