Play School introduces new indigenous doll, Kiya

Play School presenter Miranda Tapsell - a Larrakia-Tiwi woman - with Kiya.
Play School presenter Miranda Tapsell - a Larrakia-Tiwi woman - with Kiya. Photo: ABC / Play School / Facebook

There's a new kid in town on ABC's Play School and she's an indigenous doll called Kiya.

ABS Sydney introduced the doll on its facebook page, posting a photo of Larrakia-Tiwi woman and Play School presenter Miranda Tapsell with Kiya.

"There's someone new joining Play School!" the post stated.

"This is Kiya (pictured here with Miranda Tapsell). Kiya is the new Indigenous doll on Play School and will make her debut on during NAIDOC Week in the special episode, 'Acknowledgement of Country' celebrating our Indigenous language and culture."

The episode will screen on July 8 at 9:00am (EST) on ABC Kids. The station writes that it will feature " all-star cast of presenters Miranda Tapsell, Luke Carroll and Hunter Page-Lochard who will find out where Kiya is from and learn to say hello in her language."

Kiya's dress was created by Western Australian Menang Noongar artist Kiya Watt, which SBS reports is a "...dress design [that] conveys a story about her people and the Mother Ocean that will be explained in the Play School NAIDOC special episode."

"The ocean has strong connection to Menang Noongars. The symbols and dots throughout the middle represent the strong spirit and movements of the ocean," Watt told Mumbrella.

"The dark blue lines outlined with white dots show the waterholes (ngamar) where we would fish from to provide food for our families. The ocean, like boodjah (land), is our mother and we must honour and protect, and only fish enough to provide for our family," she explained.

Kiya means 'hello in traditional Noongar.

Ms Watt says of the doll's inclusion, "It's so huge to be represented and acknowledged on a nationwide children TV show and it's so good for all the children watching to be educated and gain that acknowledge and understand that Aboriginal people we are whole but we also come from different countries and different tribes and different groups."


I am so excited to finally be able to share what I have collaboratively been apart of. Playschool are adding a new Indigenous toy to their show and all of her outfits have my art featured on them!! I am so honoured to be the Aborginal Artist involved. The story I painted I hold very close to my heart as it represents my mob and my people. My tribe lived by the oceans and the spirit of the mother ocean has always guided us. To be able to share this and use it in hope of inspiring all children to embrace and educate themselves on Aborginal culture is all I could ever wish for. So here she is the Kiya doll (Kiya means hello to Noongar people and a beautiful greeting and connection between Mob it is also my name!) I will forever be grateful for this learning experience. I also have to give a huge shout out to Bryson Hall you are an incredible human being and your dedication to sharing Aborginal culture is amazing! Stay tuned to catch her on ABC’s playschool soon!

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