• facebook
  • instagram
  • twitter

© Sunameke Productions

OUR STORY

Embracing cultural dances and adapting the techniques and their​
meaning in providing a new purpose for a modern audience is the
​driving force behind Darwin performance group, Sunameke.

Well-known in their hometown of Darwin, as well as having roots and strong connections elsewhere in Australia and across the globe, Sunameke isn’t just a dance group – they’re a multicultural force.

Formed in Adelaide in 1997 by Julia Gray, Yolanda Gray, Katrina Sonter and Samantha Sonter, ​
Sunameke grew out of a desire to be actively connecting with and expressing their Papua New Guinean heritage
in an environment where such cultural appreciation
and representation was not demonstrated on a constant and widespread public scale.

Over the years, Sunameke has grown in size and calibre, with members of Darwin’s Pacific Islander community beginning to expand what was originally a four-piece, into an ever-changing line up of performers. ​

More recently, the performers have included many other members of the cultural melting pot that is the Darwin community; both adult and children’s classes for the public being immensely popular since their implementation in 2011.​

Helmed by Julia, a graduate from the University of Adelaide with a BA (Hons) Dance, Sunameke has performed for a variety of audiences in a variety of locations.
From New York to Wellington, from Hawaii to Daly River,

Sunameke has been wowing crowds, inviting them to come on their journey of cultural pride and adaptation.

the crew

The Original Four

Founded by two sets of sisters.... ​

Joined by many more. 

Formed in Adelaide in 1997 by Julia Gray, Yolanda Gray, Katrina Sonter and Samantha Sonter, Sunameke grew out of a desire to be actively connecting with and expressing their Papua New Guinean heritage in an environment where such cultural appreciation and representation was not demonstrated on a constant and widespread public scale.

Over the years, Sunameke has grown in size and calibre, with members of Darwin’s Pacific Islander community beginning to expand what was originally a four-piece, into an ever-changing line up of performers.

More recently, Sunameke has spread its wings with a performance group based in Brisbane, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand.

 

Brisbane core members: Katrina Sonter, Samantha Sonter, Ranu James, Paia Ingram, Natalie Richards and Moale James .​

 

Auckland core members: Julia Gray, Elaine Pokarop, Aisa Pokarop, and Toria Maladina.

Artistic Director

MEKEO PEOPLE

BORN 1973, PORT MORESBY, CENTRAL PROVINCE,

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

LIVES AND WORKS IN AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

 

Julia Mage'au Gray is a dancer, choreographer, tattooist, photographer and film-maker who is interested in exploring her Papuan and Mekeo heritage within an urban Australian and New Zealand context. Her performances frequently combine dance with evocative video narratives. Now based in Auckland, Gray co-founded the performance group Sunameke in 1997. Dress or adornment, including the marking of the body with tatu (tattoo), is often of particular significance in her performances and films. 

Read more