One man traces his ancestry back 200,000 years

One man traces his ancestry back 200,000 years
Knitting together tradition and technology, Graham Jensen has won the supreme Mix & Mash award with the very scrollable Mihimihi, tracing his ancestry back to the dawn of time.

graham jenson mihimihi mix and mash  2013 supreme winnerKnitting together tradition and technology, Graham Jenson has won the supreme Mix & Mash award with the very scrollable Mihimihi, tracing his ancestry back to the dawn of time.

International guest judge Lawrence Lessig says the entry showed great skill. "There is something impossibly difficult about the telescoping nature of the story this tries to tell, and the combination of the two perspectives – the timeline and then video – to create a powerful impression."

According to Jenson:

"A mihimihi is a Maori speech where a person gives their whakapapa (genealogy) by describing their iwi (tribe), their hapu (local tribe), their whanau (family) and finishes with an introduction to themselves. The purpose of the mihimihi is to establish links to the people that hear it, as if you go back far enough and include enough people, everyone is linked.

"My submission is my mihimihi. To establish a link to anyone who reads it, I have started my mihimihi when modern humans first evolved in Africa 200,000 years ago. From there I describe the journeys and some of the challenges my ancestors would have gone through getting from Africa to New Zealand. I introduce my family (as far back as I have found), and finally I introduce myself.

"I present this as a description of where I came from, in an attempt to understand who I am. This is the story of my ancestors, my family, and therefore the story of me."

Mix & Mash is a remix initiative where people are encouraged to use Creative Commons material to tell stories.

Winners of the Mix & Mash competition since 2010 are on display at the National Library until October 2014.