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. Our pepeha connects us to each other and our whakapapa.

In te ao Māori, sharing your is how you introduce yourself – it identifies who you are, where you’re from and where you belong. Standing and sharing our pepeha is a common practice, especially at the start of a hui or gathering where we don’t all know each other. A pepeha is great way to make links and connect with others.

Everyone has a pepeha that links them to their ancestors. It’s like a story that connects you to your , your and . It identifies important places like your maunga, and marae. and their whānau may have several pepeha that link them to their different whānau.

Teaching tamariki their pepeha through stories, photos, pictures or even waiata helps them grow up feeling connected and familiar with who they are and where their people are from.

Sharing pepeha is an important part of Māori 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. It helps us to make links with one another.

Handout for whānau

Pepeha template

You can work through this template to create a simple pepeha. This is one common way of structuring a pepeha.

pdf 5 MB

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 .

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 for whānau to be able to fill in the gaps of their pepeha, but this is part of the process and part of the learning. The important thing is to be able to help link whānau with their iwi and their kin.

Hokia ki ō maunga kia pūrea koe e ngā hau a Tāwhirimātea.

Return to your mountains so you can be cleansed by the winds of Tāwhirimātea.

Creating a pepeha

Here is one way to structure a simple pepeha.

Ko ____________ te māunga

Ko ____________ te awa/roto/moana

Ko ____________ te waka

Ko ____________ tōku iwi

Ko ____________ tōku hapū

Nō ____________ ahau

Ko ____________ tōku ingoa

Conversation ideas

Use the Whakatipu booklet Te Pihinga 2, pages 10 and 11, to start a conversation with whānau about whakapapa and whenua.

Do you know your pepeha?
Are you able to fill in any of the lines on the example above?
Are you interested in finding out more?
What about your pēpi? They 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 whakapapa chart for pēpi?

Helpful resources for whānau