A Teacher, a Totem, and a True Tropical Story: A Reading

Hazel Menehira


A transformative spiritual experience with an Aboriginal rainforest family was not on the radar in 1999 when Hazel Menehira spent some spectacular months in Kuranda, Far North Queensland working with the Aboriginal Mayi Wunba (Native Honey Bee) Dance Troupe. The aim of this visit was to enhance the vocal strengths of the performance and to contribute text and dialogue required within the culture to include female dancers in the programme. This is my perspective of the cross cultural creative and spiritual impact of it. Embraced by the rainforest family this antipodean writer resident in Cairns since 2001 was in rich story territory. She has drawn on this experience and also her affiliated Maori cultural background to present stories grounded in unique indigenous values often rooted in past eras. You will hear some extracts from one such story called Hunting Grounds. It is fictional but many aspects of it resonate with the personal account given to me of one part of a Djabugay elder’s ritual passage into manhood. The spiritual reconnection with this episode of my life came to the fore recently whilst writing my memoirs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.12.2.2013.3347


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