Pepeha in the Junior School

What is a Pepeha?

A pepeha is integral to Māori culture as a way of introducing yourself to others.  It makes connections to whanau (family) and whenua (the land). In contrast a mihi is a formal greeting including your whakapapa (lineage). 

Piper video here

For many of our juniors, this may be the first time they realise that mum and dad have first names and are people beyond their parenting identity. For the juniors, everything begins with family.  We begin our learning by saying a welcome and our name, then dads name and mums name. This is done orally, just as we learn the karakia we say each day ‘off by heart’, so too, do we gradually learn to say the family part of our pepeha.

Ava video here

Learning the words is the first step.  Learning how to stand and say your pepeha in front of others is another step.  Knowing how to stand comfortably, feet slightly apart for balance, to look at your audience and to speak in a clear voice are skills gradually gained.  Especially as you try to remember all the parts of your pepeha.  How are we doing?  It’s a gradual process that we will continue to work on over the year.  The goal?  To be able to eventually include our connections to whenua as well.  This gained in significance after our floating classroom trip, during which, whaea Kristie explained the local landmarks and their significance to Tuwharetoa.

Titus video here

Charlie says,  Its hard but I like being able to say mum and dad’s names.

Piper says,  I’m getting better at remembering all the parts.

Koda says,  I found out dad and mum’s names.

Erica-May says,  I have to use a ‘big’ voice.

Curriculum Areas:

Social Sciences

  • Understand how belonging to groups is important for people.

  • Understand how places in New Zealand are significant for individuals and groups.

  • Understand how the cultures of people in New Zealand are expressed in their daily lives.


  • Language features :  Recognise and begin to understand how language features are used for effect within and across texts.

  • Indicators:  begins to recognise that oral, written, and visual language features can be used for effect

Keywords: pepeha, mihi, greeting,