Auckland local board election candidate Tiaria Fletcher says the Māori language has changed so much since her childhood that she is no longer confident to use it.
Fletcher, 56, grew up in the Māori-speaking village of Whakarewarewa at Rotorua.
"It was the main language around me," she says.
But she has lived most of her life in non-Māori-speaking Auckland, where she is the manager of the Waitakere Anti-Violence Essential Services (Waves) Trust.
And now that she has put her hand up as one of four Māori candidates for the eight-member Henderson-Massey Local Board, she is no longer confident to speak to the board's 16,000 Māori residents in her native tongue.
"The reo taught today is a very different reo to what I grew up with, so I do find it harder to understand," she says.
"They will use 20 words for something for which I ... use three. If you think like that, the reo is shorter, and you are hearing this additional reo ... then it's quite hard to follow it."
Georgina Papa, 54, who also grew up in a Māori-speaking family and is standing with Fletcher on the Labour ticket for the board, says that when she speaks te reo to her grandchildren they sometimes tell her, "That's wrong, Nan."
"For example, a cousin to us was always a 'whanaunga'. They have a new word for it, 'kaihana'," she says.
"Sometimes you can sit there and someone is talking and you don't understand a word they're saying because of the usage of the reo. They have taken it to a different level."
The other two Māori candidates on the ticket, Waitematā Community Law Centre manager Paula Bold-Wilson, 46, and Rutherford College Māori Studies head Will Flavell, 30, both grew up in non-Māori-speaking families and have learnt te reo as adults.
Flavell, the only one already on the board, says he speaks "as much te reo on the local board as possible".
"When we have ... speakers who talk about local Māori things, I love to reply in te reo Māori," he says.
He is one of a tiny minority of Māori in local politics.
AUT researcher Karen Webster says only 4 per cent of all local board and council members across Auckland are Māori, compared with 11 per cent of the city's population.
Nationally, says University of Auckland political scientist Ann Sullivan, fewer than 5 per cent of elected local body members identify as Māori and 8 per cent have some Māori ancestry. Fifteen per cent of New Zealanders are of Māori ethnicity and 17.5 per cent have Māori ancestry.
"This is the first time that four Māori have stood in one local board," says Bold-Wilson.
"Standing is about making sure that the Māori world view is considered at that level."
Nominations for this year's local body elections close on August 12. Voting will be by postal vote between September 16 and October 8.
E ai ki a Tiaria Fletcher, kaiwhakauru pōtitanga poari ā-rohe o Tāmakimakaurau, nā te rerekē noa atu o te reo Māori mai i te wā e tamariki ana ia kua kore noa ia e ngākau tau ki te kōrero i te reo ināianei.
I tupu ake a Fletcher, e 56 ōna tau, i te kāinga kōrero Māori o Whakarewarewa ki Rotorua.
"Ko te reo matua kē tēnā ki a mātou," e ai ki tāna.
Engari mō te nuinga o tana oranga kua noho kē ia ki Tāmakimakaurau reo Māori kore, kei reira e mahi ana hei kaiwhakahaere mō te tarahīti nei Waitakere Anti-Violence Essential Services (Waves) Trust. Nā nō nāianei ko ia tētahi o ngā kaiwhakauru Māori tokowhā mō te Poari ā-Rohe o Henderson-Massey tokowaru ōna mema, ka mutu kua kore hoki tana ngākau e tau ki te kōrero i tōna anō reo Māori tūturu ki te hunga Māori 16,000 kei te rohe poari nā e noho ana.
"He rerekē noa ake te reo o ēnei rā i tērā i tupu ake ai ahau, kua kore noa au e mārama," hei tāna.
"E 20 kē ā rātou nei kupu mō tētahi mea e toru kē nei āku. Ki te pēnā, he māmā noa te reo, ana kei te rongorongo atu i ngā hoihoi tāpiritanga reo katoa, he uaua ki te whai atu."
Ko Georgina Papa, e 54 ōna tau, i tupu ake hoki i roto i te whānau kōrero Māori, ko rāua ko Fletcher e tū ana mō Reipa mō te poari, hei tāna ka kōrero ia i te reo ki ana mokopuna ka kīia mai, "Kei te hē tēnā, Nan."
"He pēnei i te kupu hou nei 'kaihana' ki a mātou ko te 'whanaunga' kē tēnā kupu," tana kī.
"Hei ētahi wā ka noho koe i reira whakarongo ai ki te kaikōrero tē aro i a au tētahi kupu kotahi ā rātou nā te whakamahinga rerekē o te reo. He taumata rerekē tō rātou."
Ko tērā atu tokorua kaiwhakauru Māori e tū ana mō te pōti, ko Paula Bold-Wilson te kaiwhakahaere o te Pokapū Ture Hapori o Waitematā, e 46 ōna tau, rāua ko Will Flavell te Tumuaki o te Wāhanga Māori o te Kāreti o Rutherford, e 30 ōna tau, ko rāua tahi i tupu ake i roto i ngā whānau kāore i kōrero Māori ka huri kē ai ki te ako i te reo i a rāua e pakeke ana.
Ko Flavell anake o rātou kei runga kē i te poari, hei tāna ka kōrero ia "i te katoa atu o te reo e whakaaea ana i runga i te poari".
"Kia tae mai ngā tira manuhiri me ngā māngai e kōrero ana i ngā mea Māori o te rohe, ka rawe ki au te whakahoki kōrero i roto kē i te reo Māori," e ai ki tāna.
Ko ia tētahi o ngā Māori tokoiti rawa i te ao tōrangapū ā-rohe. Hei tā te kairangahau nei o AUT tā Karen Webster e 4 paiheneti noa iho o ngā mema poari ā-rohe, mema kaunihera hoki puta noa i Tāmakimakaurau he Māori, engari anō ia 11 paiheneti kē o ngā tāngata katoa kē o te taone whānui.
Puta noa i te motu, e ai ki a Ann Sullivan, kaipūtaiao tōrangapū i Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau, iti ake i te 5 paiheneti o ngā mema ā-rohe i pōtitia he Māori, ā, e 8 paiheneti he whakapapa Māori kē ō rātou. Engari anō mō ngā tāngata katoa o Aotearoa 15 paiheneti kē he Māori, ā, 17.5 paiheneti he whakapapa Māori kē ō rātou.
"Koinei te wā tuatahi tokowhā rawa ngā Māori e tū ana mō tētahi poari ā-rohe kotahi," tā Bold-Wilson. "Ko te tū ake tēnā mō te ao Māori ki taua taumata."
Kati ai ngā whakaingoatanga mō ngā pōtitanga ā-rohe o tēnei tau ā te 12 o Ākuhata. Ko te pōtitanga mā te poutāpeta rawa i waenga i te 16 o Hepetema me te 8 o Oketopa.