Our pepeha connects us to each other and our whakapapa.

Pepeha is a way of introducing oneself. It will usually follow a set format and identifies who we are, where we’re from and where we belong.

Pepeha is used in a Māori context and has a formal basis, but the idea of making ourselves known to others is universal. When people meet they tell each other who they are and where they’re from. They might share where they were born, who their parents and whānau are, where their whānau came from and so on. It helps us to make links with one another.

Discovering who we are

Discovering who we are and where we’re from is an important part of building our sense of belonging. It can be very significant for those who, for whatever reason, have been distanced from their whānau or tūranga waewae.

This topic may need to be broached with sensitivity, especially with whānau who don’t feel connected or have been removed from their roots.

It may take many months of searching and seeking to be able to fill in the gaps of their pepeha but is part of the process and part of the learning. The important thing is to be able to help link the whānau with their iwi and their kin.

Creating a pepeha

Use the Whakatipu booklet Te Pihinga 7-12 months, page 7 to get a conversation going with the whānau. The conversation will be linked to whānau, whakapapa and whenua.

  • Do you know your pepeha?
  • Are you able to fill in any of the lines on the example below for yourself?
  • Would you be interested in finding out more?
  • What about your pēpi? They will have links to two sets of ancestors.
  • Is there someone in your whānau who would be able to help you?
  • Would you like to make a chart for pēpi?

Ko ____________ te māunga

Ko ____________ te awa/roto/moana

Ko ____________ te waka

Ko ____________ tōku iwi

Ko ____________ tōku hapū

Nō ____________ ahau

Ko ____________ tōku ingoa

How does this relate to Tākai resources?

Baby wall frieze – Kōrero mai mō tō tātou whānau – Teach me about my family

Six things children need – Te ārahi me te māramatanga - Guidance and understanding

Helpful resources for whānau