Many of us were extremely saddened to hear that Matthew Rigney passed away on 18 August 2011.
A Ngarrindjeri man, Matt was a talented Indigenous elder and a man who cared a great deal about his people and his land.
In recent times, Matt was best known for his work as the chair of the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRN).
As a former Greens candidate for both state and federal seats and a long-serving member of the Murray Darling Basin Authority Community Committee, Matt made a tremendous contribution campaigning for cultural flows to aid the ailing Murray-Darling river system and advocating for ways to live sustainably in our shared land, informed by the ancient knowledge and practices of his people.
Cultural flows are flows that enable Indigenous people to carry out their traditional practices and currently fall outside the 2007 Water Act – something Matt was working hard to address.
Matt completed a Degree in Social Sciences at the then-South Australian Institute of Technology and a Management Certificate at the Australian Institute of Management.
A man of many talents, Matt was also an author, a former AFL player and worked for Aboriginal Community Welfare, the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Training and more recently as an ATSIC Regional Councillor.
Matt contributed so much for his people, designing the Ngarrindjeri flag first flown at Kumarangk (Hindmarsh Island) on November 21, 1999. The flag celebrates the 18 tribes of the Ngarrindjeri nation.
Matt also was the chairman of the Ngarrindjeri Native Title Management Committee, a member of Tendi – Ngarrindjeri Government Body and MLDRIN Representative on The Living Murrray’s Community Reference Group.
On behalf of the Greens I wish to pass on my sincerest condolences to Matt’s family and friends who will lay him to rest in Adelaide on Friday.
Matt’s funeral will be held at Centennial Park, 760 Goodwood Rd, Pasadena, on Friday, 26 August at 1.30pm.