Mihiteria King hails from the real far North. Te Rarawa from the Hokianga and she’s proud of it. Forthright is another adjective that springs to mind to describe this articulate woman. A former psychotherapist, Mihiteria’s language is visually rich, peppered with many stories.
“You’ll never get a yes or no answer when you ask me a question, always a full story.”
Mihiteria says, laughing, as she takes me back to the Hokianga, for it’s up that way that you’ll find the Waipoua forest - home of Tane Mahuta - New Zealand’s largest living Kauri tree.
Not surprisingly, a visit to the forest is on the list for many tourists.
It’s such a peaceful place she explains, that even the sound of people talking becomes an unwelcome distraction.
“Going in there, to greet Tane Mahuta, you wander from busyness to stillness. There’s a reverence - like going to nature’s cathedral. So I waiata, and the talking stops, down go the phones and they just start being, to be with the wairua, to be with nature, y’know?” Says Mihiteria describing a recent visit to Waipoua.
“The last time I went,” she continues, “I sang three waiata, and after, I offered a “In a world full of deadlines, Mihiteria King would like you to take a deep breath.” To find out more about Mihiteria or to ask her anything visit stanleyst.nz or call 09 358 5752 mihi to those who’d gathered, to explain the words and why I sing. The way I see it, is that being there at that time was an opportunity to share knowledge and insight from my world, from te Ao Māori, to enhance their experience of being with the bush, the forest, te ngahere. I wanted them to have the best experience possible.
Funnily enough it’s this story which makes a lovely metaphor for the role she has at Stanley St, which she likens to a 'Cultural Anthropologist'. On one level she explains and shares insight informed by a Māori worldview and perspective for both clients and the agency alike. But on a much deeper level, you can see how the staff gravitate towards her and engage her with their stories and lives to realise the true value she adds.
This is in part because Mihiteria is such a good and empathic listener, but also because she helps bring a calmness to a business which at times is anything but.
Typically though, Mihiteria has her own view, describing her role as giving her mana to the agency and in turn bringing the mana of Stanley St to the client.
“It’s all about mana and relationships,” explains Mihiteria. “It’s about bringing the best of me, what I understand and know, so the client gets the best experience.”
Mihiteria may not describe herself as a secret weapon for NZ's largest independent advertising agency, but be left in no doubt that she is.
More evidence that Stanley St is the most integrated agency in every way they can be.
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