Nunukul Yuggera in the press 

Aussie answer to the haka

Australia's answer to the haka

Source: The Daily Telegraph

Australia's answer to the haka

Australia's answer to the haka ... Johnathan Thurston and Luke Patten watch the aboriginal war dance yesterday. Photograph: David Kapernick Source: The Daily Telegraph

HERE is a first look at the Aboriginal 'war dance' the Australian Test team is expected to perform at this year's Rugby League World Cup.

The injured Cowboys skipper and Bulldogs star Luke Patten yesterday watched the Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dancers perform the battle cry at the launch of the second annual "Reconciliation Cup".

It will be contested between the struggling NRL clubs the Bulldogs and North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Thurston argued it would be fitting in the code's Centenary Year for the Australian side, which used a different native war cry from 1908-1967, to reinstate the pre-match tradition.

"Certainly, against the Kiwis when they do the haka, it would be great to be able to do our own war dance," Thurston said.

It is under stood Test coach Ricky Stuart supports the proposal, a stance echoed Wednesday night by Australian Rugby League chief executive Geoff Carr.

Coast performers support Samoa

HUNDREDS of people united on Saturday to show their support for the victims of the tsunami in Samoa.

Kurrawa Park hosted the fundraiser with live performances from indigenous people and bands.

Dean Harawira organised the event in a mere five days after hearing the stories of his friends who had lost family in the disaster.

"I felt the need to do something and there's a lot of events going on between Gold Coast and Brisbane," he said.

"We have local bands, Samoan entertainers and indigenous people from here performing. There's a lot of different entertainment.

"We're just going to raise as much as we can."

The clear skies brought many curious passers-by to the event as people ventured in to Broadbeach to enjoy the sun and ended up at the fundraiser.

Mr Harawira said a lot of help came from local businesses.

The crowd was treated to an indigenous dance performance from the Kiala Nunukul Yuggera on behalf of the Koombamerri people.

The youngest person in the troupe was two-year-old Lyric Ruska who managed to keep up with the older dancers while holding two boomerangs.

Your Say


The death toll from the September 30 tsunami stood at 142 on Saturday, with seven people still missing.

About $12,000 raised on Saturday was donated to the Red Cross Pacific Tsunami Relief Appeal.

Aboriginal Roadshow in Utrecht een groot succes

Aden Ridgeway: 'Even nieuwsgierig naar Europa als Europa naar ons'
maandag 05 maart 2007

De allereerste Roadshow van Aboriginals is vrijdag 2 maart in Utrecht een groot succes geworden. 'De meesten van ons zijn net zo nieuwsgierig naar de cultuur en historie van Europa, als Europese toeristen naar die van ons', zei Aden Ridgeway, leider van de delegatie. Daardoor ontstond er een enthousiaste uitwisseling van allerlei toeristische informatie.

Tijdens een prachtige show toonden Nunukul Yuggera dansers uit Australië niet alleen een selectie van hun eeuwenoude traditionele dansen, maar ook hoe met simpele 'rituele middelen uit de natuur' vuur kan worden gemaakt. En dat lukt nog steeds... Hieronder rechts: Gerrie Willemsen van Tourism Australia, die voor de voorbereidingen voor de Roadshow in Nederland zorgde. 

Aboriginal Art Museum
De Roadshow was tijdens haar Europese tour te gast in het fraaie Aboriginal Art Museum aan de Oudegracht in Utrecht, waar Tourism Australia een flink aantal van haar relaties uit Nederland en België had uitgenodigd.

Daarvóór waren de toeristische representanten van de oudste nog levende cultuur ter wereld al op bezoek geweest in Londen, Parijs en Milaan. Deze week sluiten zij hun Europese trip af met een bezoek aan de Internationale Toerismebeurs (ITB) in Berlijn.

Delegatieleider Aden Ridgeway (foto onder), Executive Chair of Indigenous Tourism Australia (indigenous = autochtoon), een organisatie waarbij intussen in heel Australië meer dan 300 toeristische bedrijven van nazaten van de oudste, oorspronkelijke bewoners van het continent zijn aangesloten, vond het een boeiende en uitdagende onderneming.

Indigenous youth learn culture through dance

By Brigid Glanville for AM

Posted Mon May 11, 2009 10:01am AEST
Updated Mon May 11, 2009 10:23am AEST

Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal dance troupe

Worthy cause: The Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal dance troupe (Nunukul Yuggera)

Aboriginal elders in Queensland are praising the success of a dance program helping young Indigenous men escape a life of drugs and alcohol.

The Nunukul Yuggera dance group tours the world and has recently performed for tourists and schoolchildren in Brisbane.

John Parsons discovered dancing when he was 15. Up until then his life had been one of drugs and petty crime.

"I was with the wrong crew at the time," he said.

"[I] jumped in a few stolen cars and you know, done the wrong thing, smoked a bit of marijuana. And because of my song and dance, started getting serious about it, and I started learning how to sing and getting more involved in it.

"I gave up marijuana when I turned 18 and so it opened my eyes up there."

Now 25, Mr Parsons is a veteran of the Nunukul Yuggera dance group. He's spent the last decade performing and touring the world, teaching tourists and schoolchildren about his culture.

"I know where I fit, not just in this community, but when we go to other places and we're representing Australia in general," he said.

"It's a good feeling to know your identity, to be able to share it with people."

The idea for the dance group was started by drug and alcohol counsellor Denise Rushka and her husband, Eddie.

Ms Rushka says she was looking to start a program that gave bored young Aboriginal boys something to do to keep them out of trouble.

"They really didn't know a lot about their culture," she said.

"They were mimicking the American negroes, you know with the rap dance and the hats everywhere and whatever. So then I thought well, you know, I'd try and start up a programme out in the community where the kids come there and do community service orders and that.

"Because a lot of the time they weren't completing them. That's why they ending up back in detention."

The program has had up to 100 dancers in the past five years, ranging from five years old to 35.

Some are paid as full-time dancers while others perform part-time in between work or study.

Mr Rushka says the program has strict guidelines.

"One of the conditions if they wanted to learn my song and dance or learn about my culture, I'd tell them that they must give up the alcohol and drugs, give it up for three months," he said.

"If they're willing to do that, then they're allowed to dance. If they don't, well I just don't let them."

Aboriginal elders want other tribes outside of Queensland to start a similar program.

Dany Wagg, from the Waka Waka people, says it is so rewarding.

"We've seen success rate here, you know, with guys that came through," he said.

"They only learnt when they were only about seven or eight years old, some of these guys, and they went up till they were grown men.

"And they're out there in the workforce now, married and leading a good life, you know, in the community. It makes my day."

Mr Parsons now lives a drug and alcohol-free life and hopes other boys will join the group.

"You see some of the other brothers that don't want to be helped," he said.

"And when I say they don't want to be helped, they're too shy to let go of what's happened and just open their eyes up.

"Being a young 25-year-old man and getting respect from your younger brothers, that's an honour and it's something that I've learnt too."

Opening act, Multi-Faith Concert, Interfaith Summit, Brisbane: 
making fire in the bush.

Nunukul Yuggera Yugimbir Nugi Aboriginal Dance Troupe: Opening act, Multi-Faith Concert, Interfaith Summit, Brisbane: making fire in the bush.

Rachael Kohn


The Nunukul Yuggera troupe performed at Australia Balgo art exhibition opening ceremony January 22 in Taipei.
The Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dancers, a widely-known Australia dance troupe, gave an amazing performance to commemorate Australia National Day January 22 in Taipei.
“Australia Day is a great opportunity to celebrate and appreciate cultural variety,” said Alice Cawte, Australian Representative at the Australian Commerce and Industry Office, Taipei.
Hailing from Queensland, Nunukul Yuggera’s members come from four aboriginal tribes including the Nunukul, Yuggera, Yugimbir and Nugi, most of whom reside near the sea or on islands. Their unique lifestyle, religions and tribal legends serve as both inspiration and reincarnation in their dances and music.
Nunukul Yaggera upholds the belief that “your culture is your identity—be strong, be proud.” This idea is well demonstrated by the members of the younger generation who join the troupe.
The troupe has a rich history of performances including the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics, and they have also toured around the world several times, visiting Taiwan, Korea, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Greece. 
The Nunukul Yaggera Aboriginal Dancers’ performance also served to open an art exhibition titled ‘Contemporary Australian Art from the Balgo Hills’ at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. This exhibition feature 26 works by aborigines from the Balgo Hills, a world away from Taiwan and even distant from other parts of Australia.
Aborigines in the hills draw inspiration for creativity from nature and portray themes as such as Dreaming, the land their ancestors wandered across, and creatures in nature that are reincarnations of their ancestors’ spirits.
These colorful Balgo arts with their powerful strokes made their debut in the world in the 1980s. The aboriginal works combine ancient totems with modern forms, resulting in patterns that reflect abstract shapes or features of the landscape.
In addition, the adoption of modern acrylics and etching techniques is successfully changing people’s stereotypical views of aboriginal artists and their understanding of the meaning of “contemporary” in contemporary art.  
“I hope this exhibition will provide you with a deeper understanding of the rich and vibrant culture of Aboriginal Australia,” noted Cawte, going on to say, “I hope it will further contribute to educational exchanges between indigenous communities in Australia and Taiwan.”
Contemporary Australian Art from the Balgo Hills will run through February 21 in the Taipei Fine