The Wakakirri Association Inc


The Wakakirri Story-Dance Association Incorporated is a not-for-profit organisation (since 2004) that uses storytelling, the oldest form of learning, as it’s focus for providing innovative educational programs to schools in a manner that resonates with contemporary youth culture. Professor Tom Calma is the Festival Patron (pictured below).

Why Wakakirri?

The Aboriginal word Wakakirri means ‘to dance a story’ according to the Wangaaypuwan people from Cobar NSW. It was chosen to give the event a distinctly Australian feel.


That participation in the arts is essential if children are to develop confidence in expressing themselves. Through such participation children experience the freedom, intense satisfaction and sense of achievement which comes from knowing that one can create something significant. Only by facing up to the challenge of materials, technology and and situations which require direct personal response and action can this be achieved. (NSW Board of studies 1991)

Wakakirri acknowledges the Traditional Owners of lands and waters throughout Australia and pays respect to Elders both past and present.  We recognise the importance of continued connection to culture, country and community to the health and social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.


tom_calmaStory telling is the oldest form of learning.  ‘When stories are exchanged, tellers and interpreters share their differing understandings of events and experiences. This sharing can result in rich and deep alignments. Stories provide a road to empathy, understanding and acceptance because when we share stories we become characters in our own stories as well as those of others. Simultaneously, we come to deeper knowledge of content, of others and of ourselves’(Lowe, 2002, p. 75).


  • To teach children about themselves and others through the creating and sharing of stories and by this process develop students’ educational outcomes, lifestyle choices and community awareness
  • To creatively develop the competence of Australian children, and through them the broader community, to think and act in an environmentally responsible manner
  • To promote participation in Wakakirri programs by Indigenous Australian students


  • An exchange of cultural expression and understanding between schools and communities across Australia
  • Increased student awareness of community issues including bullying, mental and physical health, homelessness, and the environment.
  • Development of students’ self esteem, educational outcomes and healthy lifestyle choices in a manner that resonates with contemporary youth culture
  • Providing Australian communities with an understanding and respect for Indigenous cultures through the process of sharing of stories
  • A hands on learning approach to sustainability


The Wakakirri Committee (since 2004) is made up of independent board members from business, the Arts and education sectors. As an incorporated association, Wakakirri produces an annual report and is publicly accountable.

President: Darren Tasker (Management Consultant)

Vice President: Matthew Samuel (Co-Founder of Wakakirri)

Treasurer: Gerry Gilchrist (Accountant)

Secretary: Steve Williams (Environmental Consultant)

Teacher Rep: Valerie Harrold (Primary School Teacher)


2019 / 2018  / 2017