In Years 9 and 10 at high school, I studied te reo Māori as my elective language subject.

I had a few other options - Mandarin I think, certainly Japanese and French. Te reo seemed the natural choice given the proximity and my lack of ties to the alternatives. Perhaps this was short-sighted of me - the French class went to New Caledonia and the Japanese to Japan. Zero points for guessing where we went.

I vividly remember the day I chose the subject - a hot summer afternoon on the blindingly steep downward slope of school holidays, before I

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