Kaltukatjara (Docker River) NT

Pantjiti was born in 1942 and her ngura (home) is near the Blackstone Ranges in Western Australia. She and her husband have four grown children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She now divides her time between Alice Springs where her husband is a dialysis patient and (Pukatja) Ernabella. Ernabella was started by the Presbyterian Board of Missions in 1937, and was the first permanent settlement on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in far north-west South Australia. As a child Pantjiti lived in the bush in the traditional way with her father and his two wives. For a short time she lived in the children’s dormitory at Warburton. After her father and one of his wives died, his second wife, Pantjiti’s mother, and her family group, walked 600 kilometres east to Ernabella to visit family.

Throughout her childhood, adolescence, and young womanhood, Pantjiti moved constantly between the communities of Ernabella, Mulga Park, Amata, Areyonga and further out west travelling often by foot and sometimes in mission trucks or riding donkeys over an area of 87,000 square kilometres. During this time she became very skilled in the art of gathering bush foods, digging for rabbits and hunting. She has worked at both Ernabella and Amata in the community art centres. Like many of her generation, Pantjiti was highly involved with the Ernabella (now Pitjantjatjara) Choir and was present at many of their important trips around Australia, including a performance at the Adelaide Arts Festival in 2004.

When Ernabella Video and Television (EVTV) began in 1984 Pantjiti and her husband, Simon Tjiyangu McKenzie, became custodian managers and producers, and later on were BRACS workers (Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Community Services) for PY Media (Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara Media). Over the next twelve years they produced over one thousand videotapes documenting Anangu Pitjantjatjara life and culture from the inside. Pantjiti is a highly entrepreneurial woman, and a strong leader, heavily involved in many inma (traditional song and dance) activities. She is a great teacher to Anangu and piranpa (white) people alike of multiple aspects of Anangu Pitjantjatjara culture.