Mihimihi are introductory speeches which take place at the beginning of a gathering after the more formal pōwhiri. Mihimihi are generally in te reo Māori and can be given by females and males.
Mihimihi establish links with other people present. Mihimihi involve individuals standing to introduce themselves by sharing their whakapapa (genealogy, ancestral ties) and other relevant information. It is important for Māori to know and 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.
A person will usually identify specific geographical features associated with their tribal area including their maunga (mountain), awa (river) and moana (sea). They may also identify their waka (ancestral canoe), hapū (sub tribe), iwi (tribe), marae and an eponymous ancestor. This information is considered more important than the individual’s own name which may be the last piece of information given in mihimihi.
Some people include pepeha - well known set verses that describe their whakapapa links to a particular hapū 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 hapū / 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 Whangatauatia te maunga / My mountain is Whangatauatia
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 hapū / My sub tribe is Patukirikiri
Ko Pōroa te rangatira / Pōroa is the chief
Ko Roma te marae / My marae is Roma
Ko Haami Piripi ahau. / I am Haami Piripi.