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MihimihiMihimihi refers to the introductory speeches which take place at the beginning of a gathering or meeting after the more formal powhiri. Mihimihi are generally in Maori language and can be given by both males and females.

The purpose of mihimihi is to establish links with other people present. It involves individuals standing to introduce themselves by sharing their whakapapa (genealogy, ancestral ties) and other relevant information. Culturally, it is important for Maori to know and be able to share their whakapapa - to know one’s whakapapa is to know one’s identity.

Mihimihi can vary in length depending on the reason for the gathering, how well the individuals at the hui know each other and their links to one another.

During a mihimihi, a person will usually identify specific geographical features associated with their tribal area including maunga (mountain), awa (river), moana (sea). They may also identify waka (ancestral canoe), hapu (sub tribe), iwi (tribe), marae and sometimes an eponymous ancestor. This information is considered more important than the individual’s own name which accordingly may be the last piece of information disclosed during a mihimihi.

Some people include pepeha - well known set verses that describe their whakapapa links to a particular hapu or iwi.

Here is an example of a simple mihimihi:

Ko (name of your waka) te waka
My canoe is (name of your waka)
Ko (name of your mountain) te maunga
My mountain is (name of your mountain)
Ko (name of your river) te awa
My river is (name of your river)
Ko (name of your tribe) te iwi
My tribe is (name of your tribe)
Ko (name of your sub tribe) te hapu
My sub tribe is (name of your sub tribe)
Ko (name of your chief) te rangatira
(Name of your chief) is the chief
Ko (name of your marae) te marae
My marae is (name of your marae)
Ko (your name) ahau
I am (your name)
Ko Tinana te waka
My canoe is Tinana
Ko Whangatauatea te maunga
My mountain is Whangatauatea
Ko Karirikura te Moana te awa
My river is Karirikura te Moana
Ko Te Rarawa te iwi
My tribe is Te Rarawa
Ko Patukirikiri te hapu
My sub tribe is Patukirikiri
Ko Poroa te rangatira
Poroa is the chief
Ko Roma te marae
My marae is Roma
Ko Haami Piripi ahau.
I am Haami Piripi.

Take a look at other protocols in this section:

  • Greetings: How you say hello and introduce yourself
  • Powhiri: The formal marae welcoming ceremony
  • Whaikorero: The art of Maori oratory
  • Mihimihi: Less formal introduction given by individuals
  • Marae Visits: A guide on what to do on the Marae
  • Tangi: Maori funeral protocol and customs

Now why don’t you find out how to pronounce Maori place names correctly. or take a look at our fun interactive conversations and brush up on your pronunciation skills.