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TAG Cares/Nakama Arts


Doesn't sound like a lot but it actually is! It's our ongoing company commitment to Community/Social projects.

The ‘S’ in ‘ESG’ has been in TAG’s DNA since Day #1 and where possible we’ve contributed to and undertaken our own community help projects. Scroll down this page and you'll see a few and you'll also see we've added the Nakama Arts initiatives to TAG Cares plus there's the various organisations, like Streetheart, that we support with equipment and assistance and there’s also our 40-FOR-40 series.

To guarantee funding for all this long term we’re now committing a guaranteed 1% of TAG sales turnover. It's non-negotiable and baked into our constitution so we can ensure certainty, permanency and continuity in whatever we do.

In 2024 we’ll have around $800,000 at our disposal and we’ll need most of it for what we’ve got planned! It's a decent sum of money and as TAG grows (hopefully we keep growing!) so does the size of the fund.

If you like what we’re doing we’ve got a simple message: 1% of every dollar you spend with TAG is underwriting the work on this page so, firstly, thank you, and secondly, please keep buying from us!






Contributing to community and society is really important to us at TAG and as our company grows, we want this contribution to grow accordingly. As documented below we’ve undertaken quite a few TAG Cares community projects over the years. But … and you know how it goes, the busier you get the less time you have etc., etc. So, we’ve taken a good hard look at ourselves and reflected on one of the things that has been successful for us in business - FOCUS!

To ensure continuity, follow-through and real progress we realised we needed someone who could focus 100% on TAG Cares… Introducing Chris Hamer-Smith!

We’ve known Chris and his work for a few years and we’ve seen how he’s changed the lives of marginalised kids in wonderfully positive ways. As well as being heavily involved in community-based projects and youth mentoring he’s also no stranger to the music industry. For over fifteen years he’s worked as a producer, recording artist and DJ. He’s produced two Aria nominated albums and has recorded, mixed and remixed numerous acts from around the globe.

We got lucky! In a moment of weakness Chris agreed to join TAG and head-up all things TAG Cares! Since then, he’s consolidated the social projects he was personally undertaking, ‘TAG Cares’ initiatives, plus reached out to other community organisations. He’s renamed this consolidation Nakama Arts.

‘Nakama’ is a Japanese word that refers to a friend or teammate who collaborates, shares ideas and helps and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do. The charter is to ‘assist young creatives who might otherwise not have opportunity.’

We’re super excited to provide a long-term platform for Chris and Nakama Arts, it’s a very humbling and rewarding experience for us as a company. Exciting times ahead!

Please click HERE to link to Nakama Arts and see what’s up because there’s a lot up now! Thanks.



2023 Wrap Up

It's been an incredible year for Nakama Arts. With multiple ongoing projects, tonnes of fresh tracks and some new spaces under construction - we have been mighty busy! Here's our fearless director Chris Hamer-Smith with a summary of 2023. 















Earlier this year, Buddy Hippi came up with a plan to transform an empty shipping container into a self-contained music studio to serve as an extension of the cultural education and healing services he provides for the youth of Boggabilla.


Creative Director/owner of Winangali Infusion, Buddy spent his teenage years in Boggabilla and has a transformative vision for the youth of the town, especially the First Nations youth.

‘We heard about the great work Winangali Infusion was doing via our mutual friend Sydney rapper and Gomeroi man Kobie Dee.’ Said Chris Hamer-Smith, head of Nakama Arts. ‘Buddy needed some assistance to develop a music program that shares the basics of songwriting, music production and Rap, similar to the Art of Rap program that we have undertaken with Kobie’s assistance in Bourke NSW.’ 

The brief matched Nakama Arts’ charter perfectly. Wholly owned and funded by TAG, Nakama Arts exists to ‘assist artists who otherwise might not have opportunity.’

The request to Nakama Arts was to fund the purchase and renovation of the container and provide the necessary studio equipment including midi keyboards, A&H mixer, QSC speakers, Audio-Technica headphones and microphones, computers, cabling and – don’t sweat it – an aircon! 


The town of Boggabilla lies in the far north of inland New South Wales and has a population of around 1000 with over 50% identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders. Like many other remote Australian towns, this close-knit community bears the weight of isolation and absence of many urban amenities.

Four years ago, TAG Cares was able to offer support in Boggabilla by supplying and installing an audio system in the community centre. During the process the team became acutely aware of the town’s needs, depletion of services and dearth of activities for the youth which in turn created a sense of boredom leading to destructive behaviour and high crime rates in the town. 

Having once trod his own challenging path, Buddy’s experiences shaped his commitment to steering the youth towards something more positive. His journey is more than a personal one; it is a testament to the redemptive power of cultural wisdom and resilience. 

As a Gomeroi Songman, he embodies the cultural heritage to pass down songs to the next generation, and it is this heritage that he channels as the glue binding the growth of Boggabilla’s youth. 

‘It’s my cultural obligation as a Gomeroi person.’ He says. ‘Our people have been denied the opportunity to heal, learn and understand themselves. We work to actively collaborate and increase awareness and education so we can live alongside a system that is accountable and inclusive. Our mission is to use these ‘edu-cultural’ healing practices to enable self-empowerment and growth.’ 

With Buddy and Kobie both coming from similar communities and with cultural kinship connections to the area there was a clear understanding of how the music program would meet the needs of the youth. Not just as a physical space but a beacon of purpose, offering the youth a canvas to express, learn, and grow through art, music, song, dance, and language.


Its convenient location means kids can walk to the studio after school and it has already become a vibrant hub for the younger ones to have fun and introduce themselves to the new music equipment and empower from within. 

In addition, a tight knit group of teens has also discovered the studio and found a new sense of purpose. The space has become a creative haven for them and given them a sense of belonging especially after graduating school.

‘The lads have said that music is now a part of their future and they’re set on what they want to do.’ Said Buddy. ‘Having contributed on their journeys we have a compelling responsibility to support and assist them for as long and as far as their talent and passion takes them. Some of them are at a fork in the road and making hard choices between very different pathways. We need to guide them in a positive direction. That’s really what this is all about, then it’s up to them.’


The emerging Boggabilla rappers are already on the bill of the launch event, scheduled for January 26th, and will be performing Hip-Hop tracks they’ve written for the occasion. There’s a lot of effort and work going on in the studio in preparation, which indicates that one of the studio’s founding concepts is already beginning to bear fruit.

‘There’s no shortage of skills, passion and capability amongst this community.’ Said Hamer-Smith. ‘Buddy and his team are incredibly positive and talented and their commitment to the next generation as role models, mentors and guides is truly humbling. To have played a small part in helping this vision become a reality is a huge privilege for us.’




Images like these make you want to reach out but it’s hard to know how and with what, right?

TAG Cares found a connection and we were able to get involved and help but let’s make one thing super clear, the story below is about Zeb Schulz and his amazing team at RealArtWorks. It’s a story about passion, commitment and determination. We’ve been humbled by the resilience of these guys and feel truly privileged to have connected and contributed to their work.



How a community arts institution is doing its bit to bring Lismore back to life.

Zeb Schulz has spent most of his working life flipping switches. He’s not an electrician or even a sound engineer; it’s the switches in people’s brains that interest Schulz – the ones that can take you from seeing someone’s disabilities and deficits to envying their strengths and talent. And the ones that transform individuals and organisations into inclusive, vibrant communities.


Schulz is the General/Creative Manger of RealArtWorks, a post Disability Arts Company based in the Northern NSW town of Lismore.  RealArtWorks’ flagship building and artists’ studios, SeeSpace, took the full brunt of the flooding that occurred on the town earlier this year.

Lismore is a flood town, but in the early hours of February 28, water levels of 14.4m were recorded - more than 2m higher than the previous record – and SeeSpace was inundated. The aftermath has been devastating and exhausting but, with a little help from their friends, RealArtWorks are building back, “flipping the switch” yet again to turn disaster into opportunity


In the days leading up to the flood, Schulz was on tour with his partner Sunita, RealArtWorks’ Creative Producer. The couple decided to head home to Lismore urgently due to a COVID scare, becoming aware of potential flooding in the town along the way.

On only a few hours sleep, they spent the day of February 27 enacting SeeSpace’s comprehensive flood plan, which included moving everything upstairs to above the 12.5m mark. By midnight, with torrential rain and localised flooding continuing, the news emerged that the town’s levee had been breached and the water was going to go higher. It was too late and too dangerous to return.

Everything, bar some precious artworks that had been stored in SeeSpace’s newly built mezzanine section, was submerged, with most of the building’s electrical, IT and sound production equipment damaged beyond repair. Some items were swept way in the torrent, and mud filled the building.



The months since the flood have delivered Schulz and company a rollercoaster of experiences and emotions. Schulz describes the “initial euphoria” when he was energised by practical tasks such as cleaning, and inspired by the way fellow artists pitched in from first light till after dark for weeks, to clear up the worst of the mess and empty the building. But then some inertia set in as he realised the enormity of the task ahead.

“I can remember about 2 ½ weeks in and I was thinking we were nearly half way there, and actually we’re maybe nearly half way there now, three months later!”

He now realises that recovery will be “a marathon, not a sprint”.

RealArtWorks’ predicament first came to the attention of Technical Audio Group’s Chris Hamer-Smith via a friend’s Instagram story a few days after the flood. A Pozzible Campaign listed items that had been destroyed and Hamer-Smith realised TAG might be able to help.

This led to a series of emails between Hamer-Smith, Schulz and TAG’s Max Twartz, an advance visit from Streetheart’s Rik Johnson with emergency supplies, TAG’s generator and a shopping list of cleaning requirements and further visits from TAG Directors, Max Twartz and Tony Russo to provide support, further supplies and monitor what was needed.


Says Hamer-Smith,

“We have been fortunate enough to assist RealArtWorks with getting ’SeeSpace’ up and running again. We’ve shipped up speakers, microphones, headphones and a mixer and Store DJ have generously donated all the bits to connect, mount and interface and together we’ve got them back recording, rehearsing and performing.

It’s been an absolute privilege to be able to support the great people that run RealArtWorks and we hope to collaborate further with the team on future projects.”

In the inevitable moments of grief and anger, Schulz says that offers of help have provided solace – the fact that others perceive RealArtWorks’ benefits and are willing to pitch in to save it, has allowed him to grieve and given him impetus to carry on. The personal connections with people who have turned up to help have been healing in themselves. He has also found expression in writing poems, one of which he performed for a Lismore Radio event soon after the flood.

There are good people everywhere

The universe, which modern science tells us is may be sentient,

Is more possibly concerned with the health of the river

Than my tiny part of the everything that is

Than my colliding atoms as consciousness are.


The serpent and its lungs look healthier after the good flush

It was here before any human eyes saw it, and will be her after we are gone

Horseshoe Creek flowing almost clear my friend tells me

She’s been there nearly 30 odd years

The earth is weeping

And has no care for my weary tears

Keys to a comeback

RealArtWorks’ core characteristics, embodied in SeeSpace, are perhaps key to the company’s resilience. SeeSpace currently provides studios for seven artists who work with supporting artists, as well as being a hub for artists in the community and from further afield.  Musicians, visual artists, writers, poets, puppeteers, projectionists, and artists of all ilks are welcome and encouraged. The organisation works within the social model of disability.

Says Schulz,

“People experience disability rather than have a disability. The disability that they experience is the barriers that society put up to disable them.”

“We’re not a disability org, we’re an arts company. We have supporting artists and supported artists and that line blurs.”

“We’re a bunch of artists some of whom experience disability and some who don’t – we don’t really say who does and who doesn’t – and the barriers that we face to create art, we face them together

Facing the devastation of the flood together, underpinned by this way of working, has strengthened the SeeSpace team. Schulz says that a recent full team meeting with all the supported and supporting artists, in which everyone shared their enthusiasm and vision for the future has been re-energising.

“For me, it’s not actually about re-building, it’s about re-setting. Both our personal visions and our collective visions are informing the re-set. I guess we’re seeing it as an opportunity. It’s like a blank canvas.”

Into the future

Amidst the clean-up, and despite the ongoing threat of further flooding as Australia’s dangerous east coast weather patterns continue, the SeeSpace team has been creating new work. The artists have returned, the sounds of musicians jamming fill the building again and the recording studio is taking shape, thanks to the arrival of a new Allen and Heath mixer – the last piece of the equipment puzzle.

RealArtWorks has, for some time, been undertaking a creative investigation called Nothing is Useless, that looks at society’s compulsion to consume the new via the creation of interactive artworks that repurpose obsolete technology. Since the flood they’ve had to throw out a lot of stuff, but they’ve managed to salvage two huge collages made up of damaged audio cassette tapes from an exhibition in the Wagga Regional Art Gallery in 2016 that have been through two Lismore floods.

In late June, RealArtWorks produced and performed LOVE LEVEL 2022, a “happening”, compiling the expression of flood narratives from the SeeSpace team and the wider Lismore community in a kind of creative debriefing. Schulz initially had concerns that the event, entitled LOVE LEVEL 2022 : a series of unprecedented events might be “too soon” for the artists and the community but the group worked hard to honour each person’s story and the night was a success.

Says Schulz,

“There is something incredibly powerful and transformative when creatives committed to both their own and community driven narratives come together and make great art.”

RealArtWorks will continue to be part of the Lismore and South Lismore’s community’s healing process. As well as their current activities they recently received funding to turn one of their spaces into a No Commission Gallery to host regular art exhibitions, with a donation of professional gallery lighting. RealArtWorks plan to take the LOVE LEVEL 22 concept to surrounding flood affected towns so that they can tell their own stories, and would like to see audiences from further afield come to Lismore to see what RealArtWorks is doing.

Despite the challenges, RealArtWorks has a clear vision for the future: to strengthen the connection they feel with this group of artists, to have fun and create valuable work together, and to make SeeSpace a place where his team can create community.

And Schulz is confident that when people see what RealArtWorks do, they will also have their eyes opened to possibility rather than disability.

“That is our work; our primary work.

It’s to create shows engaging the skills of artists of varying abilities that flip switches in people’s brains. That’s our core job.”



Audio Gear Donated to Glebe Youth Service

The Glebe Youth Service has been a staple for 30 years in one of the most diverse communities of Sydney. We were able to provide audio equipment for their new music area. The recording setup includes two AT-LP120x-USB direct-drive turntables, a number of M-series monitoring headphones, AT2020 microphones, AT9934USB microphones as well as an Allen and Heath ZEDi 10 mixer and a QSC K10 speaker. Michael Coleman, Program Manager at Glebe Youth Servicescontacted Technical Audio Group with the idea of organising some recording gear for the new break-out room at the centre. The space will be transformed into a hang-out area with computers, a lounge, and a recording setup for music and podcasts. When asked about the reason for starting a music program, Michael said, ‘We want to give young people a positive form of self-expression’.

He is going to arrange classes for lyric writing and music production. However, the main purpose to have the space is so the kids can create their own music. Thanks to Michael’s connection to the Sydney Hip Hop scene, he is able to engage experienced musicians and audio professionals who can run workshops. The tracks created by the course participants would then be premiered during the quarterly hip hop nights at the youth centre.

At the moment, the community centre is only open for individual support and small group programs, to keep staff and visitors safe. In the meantime artists, Aunty Kathryn, Georgia Riley Frew and many others have created a large mural spanning over all four walls of the new room. Many members of the community helped out by painting and immortalising the people who rose to fame or made a difference in their neighbourhood. Among the portraits are many famous people such as Olympian Cathy Freeman, AFL Player Adam Goodes, and other influential Indigenous Australians. For privacy reasons, we were not able to take pictures of the mural.

Aunty Kath spoke to us about how kids from difficult backgrounds come to Glebe Youth Service, where they find a positive environment and are encouraged to get involved in activities. She pointed out that there are many symbols in the mural standing for freedom, which means that it is ok to leave your past behind and be free.

We admire what the people at Glebe Youth Service have done for their community and are happy to be able to contribute to their music program.




TAG Cares met up with in The Musgrave Band on our previous Amata trip.

They impressed us so much that we offered to come back and record them. They were super keen!

Below are the links to the music tracks we recorded and Nicole and Chris videoed during our visit in early March 2020.

The musical talent in small communities like Amata is off the charts and it’s been an incredible experience helping the band reach a wider audience.

Check out the link and circulate – be great to help put the Musgrave Band and their music on the map!




During the last weekend of July 2020 the Western NSW town of Bourke became a meeting of missions for TAG Cares and Sydney homeless support charity, Streetheart.

Streetheart’s founder, TAG team member and pied-piper Rick Johnson AO, led a team of nine people in five laden vehicles from Sydney, completing the 1500+ kilometers in three long road-trip days.



With Bourke’s overnight temperatures often below freezing, Rick was inspired to take an Ampervan-load of winter relief goods to the town, but as donations flowed it was clear that a convoy would be needed. Thus began Streetheart’s  “Bourke or Bust mercy mission” bringing  winter clothes, blankets, food and Covid care packs to the Indigenous communities in and around the town.

TAG Cares’ connections with Bourke go back a few years: in 2011, following a chance meeting, a QSC audio system was installed for Paster George Mann’s Full Gospel Family Fellowship and Indigenous community centre.

Never one to ask for help, it was nonetheless apparent when TAG recently checked in that George dearly needed a portable audio system, both to encourage the local musical talent and also to amplify his message at outdoor events and gatherings in the outlying communities, where large, socially distanced crowds call for quality PA.   

Seizing the timing, Max from TAG Cares took his own trip to Bourke with a portable audio system including a set of QSC speakers, microphones and mixer, meeting up with the Streetheart convoy and George’s team for an afternoon of unloading goods and exchanging thoughts and ideas over a Bourke bakery lunch.

“It’s a privilege to meet inspirational leaders like George and Rick”. Said Max. “To share some moments with two of them in the same place at the same time is a truly humbling experience.”




TAG Cares partnered with Barkly Regional Arts and provided a microphone-mixer-speaker suite of audio equipment for use in the incredible programmes and assistance BRA provides to the Barkly Community.



Slick Rik works in TAG’s warehouse and he’s just been awarded an Order of Australia Medal!

We take no credit for this but we definitely want him in this list because we’re so proud of him.

Rik and his registered charity for the homeless STREET HEART sets the bar. TAG Cares is a mere shadow in comparison and if ever Rik ask us for anything, we’re 100% all in.

Loan of a van – YES!

Bit of warehouse space – YES!

Headphones for charity works – YES!






TAG handed over the office keys to the gamer nerds from Generozity for a monumental Bush Fires Fundraiser weekend.







TAG Cares assisted A Sound Life with speakers (white ones!) and other audio for their Wellness, Creativity and Community Dome.


AMATA 2019



Music plays a very important part in the lives of many Indigenous Australians and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) mob are no exception.  Seeing an opportunity to contribute some quality audio to the APY homelands TAG put together two packages and took a long drive. Music plays a very important part in the lives of many Indigenous Australians and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) mob are no exception.  Seeing an opportunity to contribute some quality audio to the APY homelands TAG put together two packages and took a long drive.








Seven years ago, when George Mann began to build a new church and community centre in Bourke, he knew only one thing for sure. He had to start work and keep working -- and the rest would follow.

George is no stranger to hard work. He and his wife Shelly have been leaders of the Bourke Full Gospel Family Church, an Apostolic Church, since 1989, but they are originally from the Darumbal people in the area around Rockhampton in central Queensland, where George was a mining gang leader. In 1981 they moved to Griffith NSW, to work for the Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship, before continuing on to Bourke.

Situated on the Darling River 800km northwest of Sydney, Bourke has a reputation of being an easy-going outback frontier town but, over the years, George and Shelly identified some glaring gaps in the facilities available for the local population, about a third of whom are Indigenous Australians.

They began to envision a centre where people could be trained and equipped to lead local groups in the many small towns and communities in the surrounding area. The apostolic Church also has a strong emphasis on providing safe services for children and caring for vulnerable groups in the general community, and there was a need for a venue that was specifically conceived to fulfill these roles.

True to his calling to “just work”, George did not publicise his activities, seek funding or ask for any help. He saw the project as an opportunity to empower his church and the wider Bourke community to make the building their own: a facility arising out of community need and desire, with community ownership.

It was the right call. Beginning with the laying of the massive concrete slab on which the building has been built, materials, money, labor, fit-outs and furnishings have just kept rolling in. George calls it a series of “Divine connections”.

A heads-up from a local school, for instance, revealed some unwanted construction steel that was exactly the right size for the main frame; a charitable company that provides housing for less developed communities heard about the project and provided more materials; an electrician donated months of his time and all the materials to elegantly wire the entire building; a Baptist college provided furnishings and set up a state-of-the-art learning centre.

Local people have embraced the project with hands-on work and with financial support as well, including a policeman who expedited the air conditioning, a doctor who has never attended the church but decided to tithe to the project and even a publican, who approached George in the street with a wad of cash!

On a family visit to Bourke earlier this year, Technical Audio Group marketing manager Maxwell Twartz became one of George’s divine connections. A chance meeting through a friend led to a tour of the building, which by then was nearing completion. “It became immediately apparent that George was no ordinary man” Max said. “His vision was backed by solid engineering, a huge amount of hard work and remarkable attention to detail.”

The facility building looks like a huge corrugated iron shed from the outside and architecturally fits in perfectly with Bourke’s “Aussie outback” style.  Inside there’s a substantial foyer, a semi commercial kitchen/catering area, flexible meeting/dining space, a high tech classroom and a remarkably large auditorium.

“We’ve been around a lot of community projects over the years in various guises but most recently with TAG Cares (through which Technical Audio Group makes irregular charitable donations often in the currency of audio equipment).” explained Max. “Finding worthy causes is easy. Finding people of the quality of George and Shelly who can implement is much, much harder.  So it was a no brainer for TAG Cares to support this project in whatever way we could.”

Over the next few months TAG shipped up to Bourke a set of Audio-Technica wired and wireless microphones, 32-way multicore cable, wall boxes, connectors and a pair of QSC KW153 3-way, 1000w powered speakers.

“The quality of George’s vision left us no choice but to professionally install the multicore with split front and rear of stage wall boxes and cable tray it back to the mix position.” Said Max. “For this I was lucky enough to roll back time and get on board my brother Peter Twartz (Jands Logistics Manager).  He co-opted his son, and freelance audio engineer, Christopher Twartz and along with George and his work gang we ran cable, soldered, drilled holes, tested and got the install done in one long Saturday.”

By late afternoon on that Saturday word was out that the centre was getting some serious audio and members started drifting in - many of them musicians.  So it wasn’t long before playing and singing started as the testing and labeling was being finished.

After spending some time explaining how best to use what had been installed along with some mixing, microphone positioning and general audio advice it was nearing sunset when the tech team left.  Shona, George and Shelly’s very musically talented daughter, was singing and accompanying herself on the keyboard and the new system was delivering it with volume, punch and clarity. It was a very moving moment for all.  A simple song of worship or the sound of community empowerment? Maybe both.