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Governance Structures

Cultivate NT has supported members of Rurrangala and Gurrumurru communities to form their own propriety limited companies. These have been designed in keeping with the basic economic unit of the family as explained in the family based economics page on this website.


It is important that governance structures are suitable for both the western economic system and existing Yolngu contemporary society structure and the use of yolngu metaphor has enabled this. The metaphor of the lipalip (canoe) is one the Ngurruwuthan family of Rurrangala has long used. The conception of the lipalipa has numerous useful interpretations for the running of a business, particularly the governance structure and roles of various members of the company. The workers have the roles of the paddlers who must develop their fitness for long journeys, the captain who sits at the back and navigates is the board of directors and must know how their company works and where it is going, the ‘djumbatj’ person who has the harpoon and is focused on the close details communicates with the board and is attuned to the marketplace and production systems while all must work together to maintain balance. The journey of the lipalipa and the nature of the waters that it travels through have clear interpretations for the development journey that the company is on; rocks must be avoided, storms passed through and calm water and clear sky found from time to time to enable careful navigation. Capital cannot be able to leak out if the company is to stay afloat.


In this way the standard structure of a Pty Ltd company with a small number of owners is conceptualised. The owners are also directors and Rod Baker from Cultivate NT joins the board as treasurer to bring essential economic management skills. Rurrangala Bush Produce focuses on production and holds all relevant licences and agreements while a second trading company is formed with equal ownership by Cultivate NT and Rurrangala Bush Produce. This trading company is the vehicle for inclusion of other partners to hold an equity share in return for either capital or accesses to larger markets.

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