What is yarning?

November 27, 2023

If you’ve been on a wawa biik experience, you would have had plenty of yarns. Yarning is more than a conversation or a story – it’s a deeply cultural way of learning, sharing and connecting. For thousands of generations the tradition of yarning has been practiced by our Taungurung Ancestors and First Nations Peoples across Australia. Today it is a big part of our culture– in sharing knowledge, story, experience, and building relationships.

Yarning is a way of connecting and purposefully sharing knowledge through narrative. It can include anecdotes, stories and experiences, plus if you’ve met any of our wawa biik guides – a good laugh. Yarns are typically non-linear and free flowing – so that means that topics and themes may seemingly go off on tangents, but these themes are often revisited, allowing for connections and learnings to surface as different parts of the yarn come together.

Yarning is just as much about sharing knowledge as it is for building strong relationships. Cultural protocols create a safe space for yarning between people – ‘active listening, mutual respect and building on what others have said rather than openly contradicting them’ (Yunkaporta 2019, 131) is incredibly important, enabling the flow to respect different points of view.

Aunt Jo on the importance of yarning on tour:

Our wawa biik experiences are built on dhumbak gadhaba (yarning together). We create a safe space for everyone to share and be part of the conversation. We acknowledge that we are all coming to biik (Country) from different places, experiences, understanding and knowledge and that’s ok. Our yarns are about sharing our culture, story and experience but this can only happen when we are there respecting each other, listening to each other, and to biik, our Country, so that we can walk together.

To keep learning about yarning see:

Atkinson, P, Baird, M & Adams, K 2021, ‘Are you really using Yarning research? Mapping Social and Family Yarning to Strengthen Yarning research quality’, AlterNative, 17 (2), 191 – 201.

Yunkaporta, T, 2019, Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World, The Text Publishing Company, Melbourne Australia

February marked our wawa biik one year anniversary. We think it is important to celebrate our milestones with you – after all, you are very much part of our journey. In this edition, our team reflects on the positives of what wawa biik has achieved and will continue to achieve for the Taungurung Nation; we touch on the team’s visit to Budj Bim and we hear from happy guests who enjoyed our new wawa Euroa Wayilak (young people) experience.

Over the coming weeks, we’d also love to hear from you – tell us what you loved about your wawa biik experience in 2023. Do you have any reflections a few months on? Do share with us via hello@wawabiik.com.au or post a google business review.

Thanks to everyone that has connected with us and to all those yet to say wawa to biik, we hope to meet you in 2024!

Head to our bio and check out our February newsletter now 😊
Everybody is welcome to join a wawa biik experience! So, which wawa biik experience will you choose this year? Jump onto our website to see our upcoming tours for March - June. We would love to meet you.

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There is a feeling of belonging that comes with being on biik, knowing biik, listening to biik, and engaging in cultural practices that have been tied to biik for thousands of years. We know that you will feel more at home too once you have experienced biik with us.

If you would like more information regarding our experiences please email or call. Contact details in bio. 

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12 months of wawa biik! Today we celebrate our 1 year anniversary! 

Thank you to the Taungurung community, TLAWC staff, partners and visitors for connecting with us and elevating the Taungurung story. 

We cannot wait to continue growing and connecting with community and country! Bring on the next 12 months!
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