Associate Professor Elaine Ḻäwurrpa Maypilama

Researcher, educator and co-founder, Yalu Aboriginal Corporation

2024 NT Senior Australian of the Year Nominee

Working between cultures is challenging, but Associate Professor Elaine Ḻäwurrpa Maypilama has a rare ability to navigate this space to the benefit of her Yolngu community.  

A researcher and educator, Elaine has been involved with Charles Darwin University and Menzies School of Health for more than 20 years. She’s skilfully guided non-Indigenous researchers to engage with Yolngu for a positive exchange of knowledge. In 2013, Charles Darwin University awarded her an Honorary Doctorate.  

Elaine connects to Yirrkala lands through her mother, and Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island through her father’s family. In 2002, she helped set up Yalu Marnggithinyaraw Indigenous Corporation, now the Yalu Aboriginal Corporation, as a research hub in Galiwin’ku to support health research and deliver community education. Its traditionally appropriate social programs have become central to lifting Yolngu wellbeing. 

Elaine continues to work on projects that positively impact her people through the core values of harmony, sharing and respect.