COMMENT

More of us Kiwis than ever are taking up the challenge of learning te reo, with huge waiting lists for courses across the motu.

But the number of fluent speakers is not increasing at the same rate. There are many reasons, but one most obvious: it is hard.

Learning a language is hard by nature, especially if you are monolingual (like most Kiwis).

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But it is even harder if the only place you hear that language is three hours a week in a classroom.

As part of a series of articles we are running at the Herald on people learning te reo, I have heard the same piece of advice: whakamāori to ao - make your worldview Māori.

So that is my challenge for this week. Every conversation I have, will start and finish with a Māori greeting.

To complement the challenge I will spend 30 minutes a day practising at home with Scotty Morrison's latest book Māori Made Easy 2, and explore other mediums of learning.

A key part of learning a language is immersing yourself in that environment.

Before starting at the Herald, I worked at the Gisborne Herald, in a community that was close to 50 per cent Māori, and 50 per cent Pākehā, with a few other nationalities mixed in.

Speaking te reo was not a novelty. I interviewed many people whose first language was te reo. I took te reo courses there both out of interest, and necessity.

Moving to Tāmaki Makaurau was a cultural shock.

It is a multicultural city but, at least in the spaces I move within, still very Pākehā (and subsequently English) dominated.

Partly out of laziness I stopped speaking Māori, and my reo has dwindled. But no more.

I will be sharing my daily experiences here, and I hope you will join me.

Kia pai tō rā!