Our Journey

We Sing Songs

Ngarukuruwala means we sing songs. The Wangatunga Strong Women’s Group don’t really ‘rehearse’ or ‘perform’ – they come together to sing.

They don’t really see themselves as a choir. They are a group of women who share a connection through the songs they know, create and sing together nearly everyday.

The Wangatunga Strong Women

Teresita Puruntatameri is a traditional owner of the Wurrumiyanga community. She is a member of the consultative committee of the Mantiyupwi group and the committee of the Tiwi Island Nguiu Shire Council.

As the chairperson of the Wangatunga Strong Women’s Group, she has been involved in all aspects of the organization of the Ngarukuruwala project.

The Strong Kids Song

The Strong Women from the Tiwi Islands enjoy a collective sense of identity through knowledge of songs that keeps them strong and proud. As senior women in their community, they have become increasingly concerned that young Tiwi people are straddling two cultures and losing connection with their Tiwi heritage.

This has led to a renewed determination to preserve the knowledge of the ancestors and connect the younger generation with their elders.

Preserving Culture Through New Music

Over the course of the project’s development and success, there has been a renewed interest in the old songs, with young people wanting to learn from the women and we have begun the process of studying the old songs which form the basis of the Ngarukuruwala project.

Visit to Canberra in November '09

It was in late 2007 that we first did a catalogue search of archived song recordings, collected by anthropologists over the last century and held at the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and found a number of recordings of which those we spoke with at Nguiu were unaware.