Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
195:  Global Mormonism:  Nepia Mahuika – Mormon or Māori?  (New Zealand)

195: Global Mormonism: Nepia Mahuika – Mormon or Māori? (New Zealand)

Credit: skepticalview @ Flickr

During the month of May 2017,  we look at Mormonism across the world and how Mormonism has made its way into cultural, national and social systems beyond the United States.  We discover that Mormonism isn’t the clean and tidy fit that some have romanticised it to be.  Mormons outside of the United States invariably pay a heavy tax in trying to negotiate the cultural, social, economic and political demands placed on them by their Utah-based faith tradition.

Nepia Mahuika is Ngāti Porou, on both his paternal grandmother and grandfather’s side of the family. He has links to Ngāti Manaipoto and Waikato Tainui through his grandmother, Manawanui Te Materoa Ormsby, who was raised at Horotiu just south of Ngaruawahia, He has two strong family lines with differing religious backgrounds, the Ormsby family were long associated with the LDS church, while the Mahuika side of Nepia’s whanau were devout Anglicans and iwi (tribally associated) people. He grew up in the Church, and is a sixth generation member of a family that has been staunchly LDS. He was sealed in the temple in 2001, served in various callings, but never served a mission. He teaches history at the University of Waikato, and has been lecturing there since 2004 in New Zealand history, Maori and indigenous histories, historical methodology and theory, and oral history. He is the chair of Te Pouhere Korero – a national Māori historians Collective, the current President of the National Oral History Association of New Zealand, and is involved in several global academic organisations.


Note:  There are times when Nepia and I use Māori terminology to describe our thoughts and feelings and we don’t always provide the English translation so here’s a short glossary:

Ngāti Porou – a tribe associated with the Northern East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand.  The literal meaning:   “Ngāti = descended from, Porou = Porourangi”

Iwi – loosely  refers to one’s tribe

Tamariki – children

Tangihanga – funeral

Korero – talk

Reo – language- usually refuses to the Māori language

Tikanga – customs and protocols



  1. Corwin Hudson

    I really enjoyed the podcast and there was some great content. However could you give a glossary for all the Maori terms that were thrown around for all of us non Maori’s? I can’t tell you how many times I got lost and that a glossary could help. Thanks

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