It is a beautiful irony that a language some said would divide us, is bringing so many of us together. At last count more than 20,000 people were preparing to march with us in celebration of the Māori language in parades taking place in seven cities across Aotearoa.

Māori language is being celebrated everywhere from our classrooms to our workplaces, on the trains we ride to work, and the computer games our children play, to the newspapers we read: what began as a protest movement is turning into a unique celebration of our national identity.

Attitudes have changed so much in a generation, and we suspect we have more champions than critics: particularly amongst our younger generation.

But it wasn't always