Mihi - introductions (2023)

Mihimihi – Introductions/Speeches

At the beginning of any hui, following the pōwhiri (formal welcome) or the mihi whakatau (a welcome, as practised off marae across the Ngāi Tahu tribal region), a round of introductions and speeches – or mihimihi – usually occurs. During this time, people ordinarily stand to share a little bit about where they come from and who they are in relation to this (i.e. share their pepeha, or tribal aphorism); many share significant parts of their whakapapa (genealogy).


While whakapapa is about the recitation of genealogy – lineage or ancestry – it also literally means to ‘place in layers’ or ‘create a base’. It places our people in a wider context, linking us to a common ancestor, our ancestral land, our waterways and our tribal (and sub-tribal) groupings. Hence, the literal translation fits with the broader meaning of ancestry and the expansive nature of its ‘layers’.

As alluded to previously, whakapapa is about relationships, with both the land and with people. The name tangata whenua or ‘people (tangata) of the land (whenua)’, our nation’s first people, makes reference to this relationship, as does the term mana whenua, the mana (prestige) held by the people of that place. Another significant term which highlights this relationship is tūrangawaewae, literally, a place (tūranga) to stand (waewae). Tūrangawaewae tends to be where we were either born or brought up, or alternatively, our ancestral land. It is a place where we feel we have a strong sense of belonging and a deep spiritual connection. The importance of our foundational relationship with the whenua and its enduring ability to sustain us is described aptly in the following whakatauki (proverb):

Whatu ngarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua.
People will perish, but the land is permanent.

Everything we do as a people is derived from our whakapapa, the way we:

(Video) Introduction to te reo - giving your mihi

  • Greet the dawn and farewell the day
  • Gather kai (food) and ensure our food collection methods are sustainable for future generations
  • Farewell our loved ones who have passed on
  • Communicate with our Atua (gods) and call for their protection and guidance
  • Cut, prepare and utilise natural fibres for our clothing
  • Go about our day

Our tikanga (traditions, practices, beliefs) are derived from whakapapa and dictate the way our society functions, in terms of the ‘lore’ we adhere to as well as the ‘law’ we abide by.

Whakapapa is also about our connections to people and our relationship with them. So often when we meet others, we listen out for tell-tale signs of where they come from; it could be a common land feature (e.g.: Ko Aoraki te mauka/Aoraki is my mountain – linking that person to the South Island, and most likely, the iwi of Ngāi Tahu) or a well-known name (e.g. Ko Brooking te ingoa whānau/Brooking is my last name – linking that person to the East Coast of the North Island, and probably, the tribe of Ngāti Porou). People, and therefore relationships, are the cornerstone to the essence of being Māori.

Hutia te rito o te harakeke, kei hea rā te kōmako e kō?
Kī mai ki ahau, he aha te mea nui o te Ao?
Māku e kī atu, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

If you were to pluck out the centre of the flax bush, where would the bellbird sing?
If you were to ask me, "What is the most important thing in the world?"
I would reply, "It is people, people, people."

Example of a Pepeha

Mihi - introductions (1)

What follows is a template to begin building your pepeha (an introductory ‘speech’ – based on whakapapa – recited during mihimihi). It is important to remember that a pepeha is not simply a ‘cut and paste’ affair. Please seek advice about the structure and content of your pepeha from someone with expertise in this area before simply inserting the relevant information and reciting it in a formal situation. This will not only ensure it is structured accurately, but it might also save you from an embarrassing situation when you deliver it publicly!

Also remember that there are a number of different ways to structure your pepeha; some people use tōku (indicating that something belongs to them, or that they belong to it), whereas others use te (a singular ‘the’) following the proper noun. A pepeha therefore might look like either of the two examples below:

Ko Kapukataumahaka tōku māunga
Mt Cargill is my mountain

Ko Kapukataumahaka te māunga
Mt Cargill is the mountain (to which I affiliate)

We need to consider, however, that there is no one way of doing things and that this is an area still up for discussion. People need to do what feels right for them, so long as they develop their pepeha with good intent and ensure that, after checking it with a reo Māori expert (Māori language expert), it is delivered with both humility and respect.

(Video) How to introduce yourself in te reo Māori

What follows is one example of a pepeha:

(Video) Mihi and Introductions

Ko ____________ te māunga
Ko ____________ te awa/roto/moana
Ko ____________ te waka *
Ko ____________ tōku tīpuna *
Ko ____________ tōku iwi
Ko ____________ tōku hapū
Ko ____________ tōku marae *
Nō ____________ ahau
Ko ____________ rāua ko __________ ōku mātua *
Ko ____________ tōku ingoa

The mountain that I affiliate to is _________________________
The river/lake/sea that I affiliate to is ____________________
The waka that I affiliate to is ____________________________ *
My (founding) ancestor is _______________ *
My tribe is _____________________________
My sub-tribe is _________________________
My marae is ___________________________ *
I am from _____________________________
My parents are __________ and ___________ *
My name is ____________________________

* NOTE: these components of the pepeha are optional. Generally speaking, people who whakapapa back to one or numerous iwi recite these (and more) parts of their whakapapa (and there will be variation among different iwi), however in western terms, this may not be feasible, or desirable.

Kia maumahara koe! : remember that a pepeha is also usually shared within a context of mihimihi, or introductory speeches. It is important to begin and end with an appropriate greeting. At a very basic level, you may begin with: Tēnā koutou katoa (Greetings to you all) and end with: Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa (Therefore, greetings, thrice over). More proficient speakers may begin with a tauparapara (tribal chant) from their own or the local iwi. There are literally hundreds of tauparapara in existence, but here is one commonly used example:

Ka tangi te tītī
Ka tangi te kākā
Ka tangi hoki ahau

(Video) How to Say a Maori Mihi (greeting/introduction)

As the sooty sheerwater voices its presence
As the parrot voices its presence
So too do I

Considerations for preparation and delivery of a Pepeha

When thinking about preparing to speak during mihimihi, it is vital that you consider the kaupapa (purpose) of the hui (meeting) you are attending so as to ensure that: a) it is appropriate for you to stand and speak; and b) that your mihi (speech) or pepeha is suited to the occasion.

For example, at tangihanga (a ceremony to farewell the dead) it would not be appropriate for an undesignated speaker to stand and deliver a pepeha in the wharenui (meeting house); an event such as this is steeped in tradition and ritual and best left to those who have experience and/or have been afforded the status to do so (although it would still be fitting for you to attend to acknowledge the deceased and show your support for the bereaved family, the whānau pani).

Alternatively, if your department or school has organised a noho marae (marae visit) and a round of mihimihi occurs following the pōwhiri, then it would be appropriate to stand and recite your pepeha along with the rest of your colleagues. This may not be the case, however, if you are meeting with colleagues (in a non-Māori forum, for example) to develop the department’s Māori Strategic Plan, which is held in your departmental board room!

Finally, if you are representing your department/institution at a hui to do with – for example – resource management, it is best to follow the lead of others (observation reigns in this situation). If appropriate, the discussions might start with mihimihi, however it may just be that the kaupapa of the hui is launched into straight after the cup of tea. Remember the following; ‘when in Rome, do as Romans do’!

(Video) Mihi Self- introduction


How do you introduce yourself in Māori? ›

A pepeha is the traditional Māori way to introduce oneself. It connects us to our tribal lineage and ancestors, tracing our connection to maunga, waka, awa, and more. Standing and sharing pepeha is how Māori introduce themselves and make links with others, mostly in formal situations.

What is a basic mihi? ›

Mihimihi are informal introductions at the beginning of any hui, gathering or event. Everyone's mihi can be different and many different styles can be used. For learners it is often difficult to decide how/when/where/what mihi is appropriate.

What is the basic introduction in Māori? ›

Introduction (Pepeha)

It tells people who you are, linking you to the land, mountain, river, sea, tribe, subtribe, whakapapa (genealogy) and marae (sacred meeting place). Here is a simple pepeha: Tihe mauri ora! Let there be life!

What is included in a mihi? ›

The mihi (or pepeha) is a brief personal speech used to introduce oneself in a way that goes beyond one's name. It offers the opportunity to express one's heritage (or whakapapa), one's links to this land, one's spiritual home and one's sense of purpose.

What is the difference between mihi mihi and Pepeha? ›

A mihi is a greeting while a pepeha is a form of introduction that establishes identity and heritage. In formal settings, the pepeha forms part of an individual's mihi. A group situation where everyone gives their mihi (including their pepeha) is called a mihimihi. This is often held at the beginning of a hui.

What does Nga Mihi Nui mean? ›

The English translation is : Greetings to all.

What is a Māori greeting word? ›

Kia ora can be used to say hello, express gratitude, send love and make a connection. Kia ora is a warm and welcoming greeting you'll hear throughout New Zealand and comes from the indigenous Māori language.

What are examples of Māori phrases? ›

Useful Maori Words & Phrases
  • Kia ora — Hello.
  • Kia ora tatou — Hello everyone.
  • Tena koe — Greetings to you (said to one person)
  • Tena koutou — Greeting to you all.
  • Haere mai — Welcome.
  • Nau mai — Welcome.
  • Kei te pehea koe? — How's it going?
  • Kei te pai — Good.

Can non Māori have a Pepeha? ›

In essence, the pepeha is an introduction for any person and their affiliations in a Māori context for one purpose, to make connections. I'm emphasising this because most people mistakenly think that the pepeha is all about introducing yourself.

How do 2 people greet in Māori? ›

  1. Kia ora - Hello.
  2. Morena - Good morning.
  3. Tēnā koe - Hello (more formal than kia ora)
  4. Kia ora kōrua - Hello to two people.
  5. Kia ora tātou/kia ora koutou - Hello everyone.
  6. Tēnā koutou - Greetings to you (said to three or more people)
  7. Nau mai, haere mai - Welcome.
  8. Kei te pēhea koe? - How's it going?

How do you welcome in Māori? ›

nau mai. 1. welcome!. Ka tū a Ngā Puhi ki runga i te marae karanga ai, “Nau mai!

How do you start a meeting in Māori? ›

Here is a karakia you can use in the workplace to open meetings with clients, customers or colleagues. Tūtawa mai i runga, Tūtawa mai i raro, Tūtawa mai i waho, Tūtawa mai i roto, Kia tau ai te mauri tū, te mauri ora ki te katoa. Hāumi e, hui e, taiki e!.

What is the importance of mihi? ›

Mihi whakatau are use today to make a “person feel more comfortable in their surroundings. Therefore one would expect that following the whakatau visitors would feel relaxed, less inhibited and psychologically reassured.

How do you start a mihi Whakatau? ›

Mihi whakatau procedure
  1. Karanga (if being provided)
  2. All guests will be guided to their seats.
  3. A karakia/blessing is then recited.
  4. Followed by a mihi/speech by the hosts.
  5. When host speeches are completed manuhiri/visitors will be invited to speak.
  6. All speeches are followed by a waiata tautoko/song of support.

Does Nga mihi mean thanks? ›

Ngā mihi (Congratulations, regards, thank you)

What is my Mihimihi? ›

Mihimihi are introductory speeches which take place at the beginning of a gathering after the more formal pōwhiri.

What does it mean to mihi to someone? ›

a Māori ceremonial greeting. verb. 2. ( transitive) to greet (a person)

What does ngā mihi Nui Ki a Koutou mean? ›

Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa, warm greetings to you all.

Does word Aroha Mai mean? ›

The Māori proverb, 'aroha atu, aroha mai' means 'love received, love returned'.

Why do you say Tena koutou three times? ›

If there are three or more persons, the form of address is Tena Koutou. In a congregation, the greeting is repeated three times to greet you, your ancestors, and your descendants. The term Katoa emphasises the inclusiveness of everybody present,” she said. Kia Ora is uttered many times a day.

What is the most useful Māori phrase? ›

Kia ora is the easiest and most useful Māori phrase you can deploy to impress the Kiwis around you. Mostly used as a greeting, it can also be used to thank someone for a kind deed. Examples: “Kia ora Tony, how are you?”

What is ka pai to mahi? ›

The sentence Ka pai / te mahi may be translated as "The work / is good" but the verb particle ka does not translate to "is". This is readily demonstrated by comparing two simple sentences: Ka waiata / te hine (Sings / the girl = The girl / sings) and Ka pai / te mahi (Good / the work = The work / is good).

What does Ka Kite Ano mean? ›

Ka Kite Ano (See you tomorrow)

Although this is generally remarked as incorrect usage, 'ka kite ano' is commonly said by local TV presenters and newscasters when bidding goodbye to their viewers. It may pop up in daily conversations with Kiwis too – so keep this one at the back of your mind for future reference.

What is disrespectful to Māori? ›

This formal custom is very important and taken seriously by Māori. It is highly disrespectful to eat, drink or talk amongst others during the welcome.

What are 5 Māori words every New Zealander should know? ›

50 Māori words every New Zealander should know
  • Here are the 50 Māori words every New Zealander should know. ...
  • aroha (love)
  • awa (river)
  • haka (generic term for Māori dance. )
  • hangi (traditional feast prepared in earth oven)
  • hapu (clan, sub-tribe; to be born )
  • hīkoi (walk)
  • hui (gathering, meeting)

What is the Māori motto? ›

The Māori motto on the masthead is 'Ko te tika, ko te pono, ko te aroha' (justice, truth and love).

Are there any full blooded Māori? ›

Being Māori is so much more than blood quantum. In New Zealand, many believed there are no full-blood Māori left. It's often been used by critics of Māori who seek equal rights and sovereignty. My results, at least, show there is one full-blooded Māori contrary to that belief.

Do Maori All Blacks have to be Māori? ›

Originally team selected was 'loosely' governed in terms of heritage, but now all players must have Māori whakapapa or genealogy confirmed in order to represent the side.

Is it OK for non Māori to do the haka? ›

While there are some haka that can only be performed by men, there are others that can be performed by anyone and even some women-only haka. Non-Māori are welcome to learn the haka; however, it's important that you respect the culture and traditions behind the dance.

What does Ka Nui Te Aroha? ›

It's Māori Language Week and we're celebrating with a few easy phrases you can use in every day conversation like ka nui te aroha – it means “love you lots”.

What does Hari Tau Hou mean? ›

Kia hari te tau hou is Maori for Happy New Year. Do you know how to say Happy New Year in another language?

How do you greet a Māori? ›

  1. Kia ora - Hello.
  2. Morena - Good morning.
  3. Tēnā koe - Hello (more formal than kia ora)
  4. Kia ora kōrua - Hello to two people.
  5. Kia ora tātou/kia ora koutou - Hello everyone.
  6. Tēnā koutou - Greetings to you (said to three or more people)
  7. Nau mai, haere mai - Welcome.
  8. Kei te pēhea koe? - How's it going?

How do Maoris greet people? ›

Kia ora can be used to say hello, express gratitude, send love and make a connection. Kia ora is a warm and welcoming greeting you'll hear throughout New Zealand and comes from the indigenous Māori language.

How do Māori refer to themselves? ›

The Māori used the term Māori to describe themselves in a pan-tribal sense. Māori people often use the term tangata whenua (literally, "people of the land") to identify in a way that expresses their relationship with a particular area of land; a tribe may be the tangata whenua in one area, but not in another.

How do you greet someone in Māori culture? ›

Māori men usually greet each other with the 'hongi'. This involves two people pressing their noses and foreheads together, while clasping hands, and breathing in simultaneously to share a breath. Māori women generally greet close family and friends, as well as acquaintances, by kissing on the cheek.

Why do Māori say Tena koutou 3 times? ›

As well as being used as a greeting, kia ora is also a general expression of appreciation. Tēnā koe (to one person), tēnā kōrua (to two people), or tēnā koutou (to three or more people) also means thank you in Māori.

What is disrespectful in Māori culture? ›

This formal custom is very important and taken seriously by Māori. It is highly disrespectful to eat, drink or talk amongst others during the welcome.

What is a Māori welcoming called? ›

A pōwhiri is a Māori welcoming ceremony, involving whaikōrero (formal speech) , waiata (singing) and kai (food).

How do you welcome guest in Māori? ›

'Haere mai, ngā manuhiri tūārangi (welcome, strangers from afar)! ' The colourful and distinctive manner in which Māori greet visitors is the custom which usually makes the first and strongest impression on non-Māori.

How do you greet a woman in Māori? ›

The 'Hongi' is a traditional Maori greeting in New Zealand used by the Maori people. To hongi you press your nose and forehead together with the nose and forehead of the person you are greeting. Many people of Maori decent prefer to hongi, instead of shaking hands.

Does nga mihi mean thank you? ›

Ngā mihi (Congratulations, regards, thank you)


1. Mihi a Maori introduction
(Jodi Maran)
2. Mihi Talks - The introduction Video
(Mihi Talks)
3. Mihi Whakatau - Introduction
(Soft Ball)
4. #MyMihi - Waitangi Day moment 2021
(Reo Māori)
5. Mihi
(Pembroke School)
6. Tatai Korero - Nga Mihi introduction by Bruce Aranga
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated: 03/11/2023

Views: 5329

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.