Tjapukai Performers


Meet the Tjapukai performers and hear their stories.

Napolean Phillip Oui

Phillip Oui

Artist and Senior Cultural Presenter: Napolean Phillip Oui

Totem Name: Weika - the Quiet One

Clan: Djabugay

Commenced at Tjapukai: 1996

Phillip's Story

Phillip grew up watching his grandfather, a sword maker in the Djabugay tribe, make weapons and boomerangs. Today he continues the tradition by painting rainforest-inspired shield designs and exploring new avenues for his art, including fashion after one of his paintings was purchased as a design for clothing. Phillip uses this shield design for his body art when dancing or playing the didgeridoo at Tjapukai where he has performed for 19 years. He has travelled the world as part of the troupe.

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Georgina Hobbler

Cultural Presenter and Performer: Georgina Hobbler

Totem Name: Bagarra Bandjil - Rainforest Woman

Clan: Djabugay

Commenced at Tjapukai: 2003

Georgina's Story

A love of dance and the ability to work with her sister Martha, originally brought Georgina to Tjapukai. Her extensive knowledge of bush foods and weaving has been passed down from her mother and grandmother from their home in Kuranda. ‘I have proudly carried the Queen’s Baton, been included in Tourism Australia’s Where the Bloody Hell are you? Campaign and was a finalist in the Cairns Tourism Awards.’

Cultural Creations

Jacob Snider

Didgeridoo Player and Cultural Presenter: Jacob Snider

Totem Name: Gindan - Moon

Clan: Kuku Yalanji

Commenced at Tjapukai: 2013

Jacob's Story

"When I was a small boy my father used to paint me up and put me on stage, working at Tjapukai with my family keeps me strong in my traditions. Every day is memorable, I present to the world my culture, and want to teach young people how to keep the culture strong, as it’s hard for this generation." Jacob is a talented didgeridoo player and our in-house trickster, who always has a joke to share and a smile on his face.

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Dale Edmund

Performer and Cultural Presenter: Dale Edmund

Totem Name: Gaway - Star

Clan: Djabugay

Commenced at Tjapukai: 2010

Dale's Story

Gaway means star and that is just what you will get when you meet Dale. Whether she is painting faces, performing on stage or teaching visitors about her culture, her effervescent personality shines through. Coming to Tjapukai as a work experience student, Dale has worked her way through every department. ‘My job is to ensure everyone gets to experience the best of Tjapukai so I make sure I have a friendly smile for everyone.’ Dale has travelled to Japan performing and one day wants to run her own touring company.

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Patrick Vandenbroeck

Performer and Senior Cultural Presenter: Patrick Vandenbroeck

Totem Name: Ngawuyu - Mating Sea Turtle means Unity

Clan: Mabuiag Island and Gunggandji

Commenced at Tjapukai: 2014

Patrick's Story

Patrick is the senior Torres Strait Islander advisor at Tjapukai. His passion is dance performance and presenting the differences between Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Australia. ‘I want to advise young people to grasp knowledge and an understanding of culture from their elders and I’d like to walk away knowing that I have passed it on.’

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Hamish Yeatman

Cultural Presenter: Hamish Yeatman

Totem Name: Namalbarra - Eagle

Clan: Guungandji

Commenced at Tjapukai: 2012

Hamish's Story

Brought up in Yarrabah on the east coast of Cairns, humorous and light-hearted Hamish joined the Guru-Gulu dancers performing at NAIDOC events and at Federation Square in Melbourne. He was chosen to be the face behind Guyala in Tjapukai’s new Creation Story and travelled to New Zealand to perform a lead role in the latest production.

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Gordon Hunter

Performer and Cultural Presenter: Gordon Hunter

Totem Name: Bana - Running Water

Clan: Djabugay

Commenced at Tjapukai: 1995

Gordon's Story

‘Tjapukai has opened the doors for me to travel to Malaysia and Guam playing the didge. I love meeting new people and teaching them about our culture.’ Gordon, a Djabugay descendant and gifted didgeridoo player, has been with the company since the very early days following in his family’s footsteps.

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James Larry

Cultural Presenter: James Larry

Totem Name: Umai - Dog

Clan: Yam Island

Commenced at Tjapukai: 2014

James' Story

James is from the Torres Strait Island of Yam. He is employed with Tjapukai in the Horticulture department, but chose to drop his ‘greens’ part time to join the Torres Strait Island Dance Troupe. ‘I have the best job in the world, I garden all morning then get changed into cultural dress and perform dances from my home! I love it’

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Nancy Cook

Professional Dancer and Cultural Presenter: Nancy Retemoi Cook

Totem Name: Gurringaygu - King Parrot

Clan: Murray Island (Mer) and Darnley Island (Erub), Torres Strait

Commenced at Tjapukai: 2013

Nancy's Story

Nancy is a gifted dancer, having studied contemporary dance for five years. ‘I wanted to work at Tjapukai because of my passion for the performing arts, especially dance. My favourite performance was the last one we did with Warren Clements, Wunba (Sugar Bag Tree). He worked at Tjapukai for 18 years and I feel privileged to have worked beside him.’

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