Our Journey

The Wangatunga Strong Women

Wangatunga (n.) - 1.a broad basket made from stringybark; 2. a baby girl
“Ngawa ampi nginiwutawa putuwurrupurra awarra ngirraminni api awarra ngawarra ningurimagi. Karri ngapaningimarri ngaruwanajirri ngini ngarikirmi ngirraminni ngini ngawa ngarukuruwala.”

(The knowledge our ancestors left for us in the stories is something that we must hold on to. When we gather around we share together what is in the stories that we sing together.)   

Teresita Puruntatameri

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.

Having been born on Bathurst Island, these ladies are considered Strong Women in their community because of their knowledge of Tiwi traditions, stories and songs. A close-knit group since school days,  they formed the Wangatunga Strong Women’s Group Incorporated in 2004 so that they could take charge of their accounts and develop a women’s centre at Wurrumiyanga – a place for them and their daughters and grandchildren to meet and spend time together. 

They perform at ceremonial and social gatherings and have a strong tradition of reflecting in their songs the important events of their community, as well as telling traditional stories about their land and their heritage. Identifying themselves with this group gives the women a sense of pride, identity and belonging. They are encouraging young women to join them and learn the songs and culture of their people. They spend much of their time sitting and talking and singing and weaving baskets.

The group includes: Anthea Kerinaua, Karen Tipiloura, Calista Kantilla, Leonie Tipiloura, Casmira Munkara, Marie-Carmel Kantilla, Noella Babui, Clementine Puruntatameri, Molly Munkara, Connie Pauatjimi, Monica Pilakui, Cynthia Portamini, Eugenie Rice, Rosemary Tipungwuti, Regina Kantilla, Eunice Orsto, Gabriella Alimankinni, Judith Puruntatameri, Mel Fernando and Teresita Puruntatameri.