Spirits of the Red Sand is an Aboriginal experience that embodies a dream more than 20 years in the making.
In the mid 1990’s, Elder of the Yugembeh, Yuggera and Quandamooka tribes Eddie Ruska and his son Shannon created a drama and dance program for at-risk Youth. Aboriginal children would come to Eddie & Shannon’s programs to enjoy dance, drama and song – and to feel like they belonged. Eventually, this grew into a world acclaimed travelling dance group. As a reward for all their hard work, Eddie, Shannon and their family fundraised to take the dance troupe to New Zealand on an Indigenous Tour.
It was here the magic happened. Eddie, Shannon and their group of youth came across Tamaki Maori Village – and were entranced. Here was New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people making a name for themselves not only within their country, but internationally. Guests from all over the world came to Tamaki Maori Village to interact with the culture, performances and storytelling of the Maori people. The seed was sewn – why not take this similar concept to Australia, but with the Aboriginal culture? And when storytelling and cultural tourism mastermind Mike Tamaki came on board, this is exactly what took place.
The Spirits of the Red Sand experience is the meeting of two cultures, Maori and Aboriginal, both with incredible similarities and a deep mutual respect for one another. While Spirits of the Red Sand differs from Tamaki Maori Village in many ways, the essence is the same – to create respect and admiration for a culture through storytelling, to leave people from all over the world with unforgettable memories and to help local indigenous people thrive through sustainable work and career development.
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