When Anna Coddington (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa) first entered the music scene, singing in Māori wasn't "seen as cool" but then it never crossed her mind as she faced a language barrier.
Now, the singer-songwriter is one of many New Zealand artists who have released a new single in te reo Māori for Waiata Anthems Week called Aho / Beams ft. Louis Baker.
Although she is at a place in her te reo Māori where she can say what she wants to, that wasn't always the way.
Coddington is one of more than a dozen New Zealand artists who have joined forces and re-recorded their tracks in te reo Māori for Waiata Anthems Week to support a bilingual musical landscape.
Coddington says her reo journey kicked off once she was born, taking classes throughout high school and in adulthood but she says her children were the real "catalyst" for her picking her reo back up.
"I learned a lot and then it all dropped away because I was never in a situation where I was having to use it," she said.
Once she had her two children, Coddington took it upon herself to learn her language, attending te reo Māori night classes with her son in a front pack and practicing whenever she could.
Now, with her two children attending kura kaupapa, Coddington is on a mission to show her children that speaking te reo Māori is okay.
"I try really hard to speak Māori to them in public places so they feel it's a language for everywhere."
The mother of two says projects like Waiata/Anthems are "massive" for her as she continues to normalise te re Māori for her children and those around her.
Coddington acknowledges the hard work fellow Māori musicians have done to pave the way.
"I feel like i am standing on the shoulders of giants like Moana and the Moa Hunters and Hinewehi [Mohi]."
In the past Māori music and mainstream music have been seen as separate areas of music but Coddington says Waiata/Anthems "sees the two things bridge together".
"Our kids can hear te reo and hopefully more increasingly in mainstream environments with mainstream artists who are all choosing to get in the waka and paddle with those of us who are learning and support the journey."
The translation process for Coddington's 2020 single Beams was quite special as it gave her a "new perspective" on the song she had written.
"Obviously direct translation doesn't really work, it doesn't really capture the poetry."
Once translated, Aho took a more personal meaning for Coddington as one particular lyric connected the artist to her tupuna, Ngatoroirangi, which she said was "beautiful and special".
"To have a line like that in there, it's not an exact translation but it perfectly captures what I was saying," she said.
• Waiata Anthems week (September 6-12) is a week fully dedicated to waiata reo Māori, where more than a dozen New Zealand artists have re-recorded their tracks in te reo Māori. Anna Coddington is also an artist who worked on Kono 003.