It wasn't difficult for me to learn German. When you live in a country you are curious about what's going on around you.
You want to learn, understand and be part of the community in which you live.
You are surrounded by the sights, sound and language of your new home. And so it was in Zurich, Switzerland, my home for most of the 1970s.
So why did I not embrace te reo Māori when I had returned to New Zealand? I had the perfect opportunity when I married Theo Netahio Tait, a native speaker of te reo.
Theo explained that until 'I wanted' te reo I wouldn't be interested in learning. He was right. Now I'm in catch up mode.
Most meetings I attend these days are in both English and te reo.
I can follow what's being said in te reo quite well but I am hesitant to answer and reply in te reo. Probably fear of getting it wrong.
Funny, because I never worried when I was attempting to learn German. I wasn't expected to be perfect, I was learning and with that comes trial and error.
Now I love seeing and hearing children speaking te reo. It comes naturally and they bounce between English and te reo with ease.
Many parents are taking an interest in the language too now, it wasn't always available to them growing up, as they want to be able to converse in te reo with their children and learning becomes a fun family activity.
I hope te reo classes also encourage learners to gain an understanding of tikanga Māori that Theo insisted underpins the language.
He was initially opposed to te kohanga reo schooling as he was adamant it was the responsibility of parents to instil in their children the culture, and behaviours, that made them Māori.
Tikanga must be daily demonstrated by parents he would say. His was the old ways.
He got impatient with newly imbued speakers, who itched to get up and speak on the marae.
"Never see them any other time and they're never around to do the work that keeps marae 'warm and alive'."
I don't judge. Younger speakers are doing a necessary job, even if some of them are only interested in the mana derived from speaking on the paepae. All roles on the marae have their respected place.
Te reo Māori is a beautiful language. It belongs, lives and breathes in New Zealand and is an official language of our country.
I know there is a generation of New Zealanders who don't like to hear te reo spoken.
Some are openly hostile to those who have the temerity to speak it in public.
I recently saw TV presenters Mahinerangi Forbes and Tova O'Brien co-host TV Three's Newshub Nation current affairs programme. They moved seamlessly from te reo to English.
The use of te reo is being encouraged right across the spectrum and is spoken by presenters on all channels.
They started small and you can see their efforts increasing all the time.
Our place names are, at last, being pronounced correctly and the announcers seem genuinely pleased to be assisting in the revitalisation of te reo.
Now it is just natural when you turn on the radio and TV or read the newspapers for te reo to be seen and heard.
Classes are oversubscribed with people sitting it out on waiting lists.
Those who complain are the remnants of a racist system that only saw the English language as having value.
There is nothing to fear when you hear te reo spoken. It is the language of our beautiful country. A gift handed down through the ages.
It is being embraced and used by those who want to see it continue in perpetuity.
Now I ask myself "what will be my contribution to ensuring te reo remains a living language" or as Theo would put it, "do you want te reo"?
I know the answer. It was only ever a matter of timing. And it will be underpinned by the tikanga I saw Theo living every day while he was alive.