Ernie Dingo: ‘Nobody knows what Diversity means’

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It’s been the industry buzzword for 2016, but according to seasoned TV host Ernie Dingo, the word ‘Diversity’ is misunderstood.

“They are only saying it to scare people. It’s like ‘Sustainability.’ Somebody invented the word. But what are they doing about it?” he asked.

“What is Diversity? Everybody’s got to have Diversity but nobody knows what it is.

“Maybe we need to elaborate on the word Diversity and we can go from there.”

Speaking ahead of his new NITV series Going Places with Ernie Dingo, the veteran host adopts a relaxed attitude on the big questions.

“It’s the same as coffee, mate. Never complain about the coffee, you may be old and weak yourself, one day. There are different blends, different tastes, whether it’s a long black like me or a short white or a mocha…. we’re all just coffee,” he told TV Tonight.

“Aboriginals are the same. It doesn’t matter how much milk you put in it –it’s still coffee. Doesn’t matter how much non-Indigenous blood you have in you- you’re still Aboriginal.”

In his new 3 part series, Dingo visits the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and Kakadu to meet the traditional owners and people who live and work in each.

The former Great Outdoors host welcomes the screen time devoted to meeting his interview subjects.

“A story on The Great Outdoors was 7 minutes, but I take 7 minutes on 1 person on this show,” he explains.

“To me they’re the ones you go there to meet. They’re the ones that know the Reef. What I want to bring out is their story of their enjoyment.

“Everyone has been on a holiday to these places before, but you get the brochure version.

“At Uluru I go fire-burning with the oldies and having a good laugh about that. It’s traditional burning so about 15,000 – 20,000 years old. It’s just awesome.

“In the Reef episode there’s a toxicologist who just loves his job. There’s a young lady, who comes from down south, and is a chopper pilot. And the local Indigenous community.

“Like the other shows that I’ve done this one gives you a chance to have a bit of a yarn.

“So there’s a human interest aspect in ‘yarning’ with people.

“It’s taking places like the Reef, the Centre and Kakadu, learning about the people that are there, all the nuts and bolts, to put it that way.”

The series also combines travel, science and culture and whilst it airs on NITV, Dingo insists it has broad appeal.

“It’s not just about the Indigenous links. It’s all about what makes the Reef. Or it’s about ‘What is Uluru? Or Kakadu?’

“Millions of people have their own version of it all, but mine is that I love the people who live and work there.”

Going Places with Ernie Dingo premieres 7:30pm Sunday on NITV.

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