Huhana (Bubbles) Mihinui


1919 -

Huhana Mihinui was born in Whakarewarewa and was educated at Point Chevalier Primary School, Auckland, Poroporo Native School and Whakarewarewa Native School for short periods. She was raised by her maternal grandparents, Ngapera and Waretini Eparaima, and most of her learning was through the oral tradition. She became a guide in 1936 and still occasionally guides. She states: "When I was appointed as a guide, my grandfather said ‘Like begets like; treat people like you would like to be treated and you won’t go wrong. You won’t know these people; they will be strangers, but the Māori way is to treat them like visitors.’" "Her mentor was Guide Bella whose philosophy of guiding was to treat those coming to Whakarewarewa as visitors. Guide Bubbles states: "Our people insisted we tell of our lifestyle rather than the geological and geographical information of the thermal region. We took notice of the weather signs and their impact on the geysers and scientific testing proved the guides were correct. We were close to nature; it was part of our upbringing.... You planted and harvested at the special times." Guide Bubbles learnt through the oral tradition and still sees herself as an exponent of that tradition rather than the written tradition. She contributed to a video presentation on Guide Sophia at the Rotorua Museum.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversations with Guide Bubbles Mihinui, 15 June and 9 July 1998.


  • "Guide Bella: Bella Te Hoari Papakura." The Book of New Zealand Women - Ko Kui Ma Te Kaupapa. Ed. Charlotte Macdonald, Merimeri Penfold and Bridget Williams. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams, 1991: 488-491.
  • Co-authors Bubbles Mihinui and Cushla Parekowhai.
  • Sound recordings

  • Alice Hall Recalls Māori Tohunga and Medicine in Northland, 1910-25. Audiocassette. Timaru, N.Z.: Radio New Zealand Sound Archives, [1986?].
  • One cassette.