Christopher Luxon has a burning ambition in his new role as a National Party MP – to learn te reo Māori.
"Personally, it's one of my goals," he told the Herald, having recently been made iwi development spokesman for the party. "I really would love to get a bit fluent in te reo."
But it is not a new ambition. He had tried to sign up for classes before "and they are sold out big time".
He added: "Our issue is not the demand for te reo. Our issue is actually finding enough teachers that can actually teach te reo to people who want to learn it."
Luxon is not alone. He has several other colleagues who want to do the same.
"So I reckon we'll get four or five MPs that actually want to do some learning and we'll try and find a way to hot-house ourselves to do that."
Luxon, the former chief executive of Air New Zealand, was elected MP for Botany in October's election, having won selection pre-Covid in 2019 when it looked as though it could be a close election.
It wasn't and National sank to 25.6 per cent and 33 MPs, down from 44.4 per cent.
Despite his business experience and having been a former head of the Prime Minister's business advisory council, Luxon was given no head start in Judith Collins' post-election reshuffle.
Like the rest of the 2020 intake, he is unranked and he was given local government and iwi development, previously held by ex-MPs Lawrence Yule and Jo Hayes respectively.
Asked if he thought it unusual to have a Pākehā in the iwi development role Luxon quipped: "Yes. It was probably difficult because I think Shane Reti was quite busy doing lots of other things."
Reti, the deputy leader of the party and health spokesman is now one of only two Māori MPs in National, the other being former leader and justice spokesman Simon Bridges.
"But I'm really excited to do it and I really want to give it a go and like everything here, it's a great opportunity," said Luxon.
In the next little while, he expected he and all his colleagues would be focused on going out to listen to people in their areas of responsibility, and to build relationships.
"And from relationships we will talk about the possibilities of what we can do together and how it works but our first job is to build relationships.
"We should actually go out and go listen and actually hear what the issues are and understand before we are understood."
Several MPs who touched on the Māori portfolios would work together, whether it was Joseph Mooney in treaty negotiations, Simon Bridges on water, Louise Upston on Whanau Ora, or himself on iwi development.
Luxon said iwi development meant unleashing the potential of iwi after their treaty settlements to build and create value for their community.
He had seen that close up at Air New Zealand particularly in a partnership the airline developed with Ngāti Porou on the East Coast.
"So Ngāti Porou were very good to me. They helped me with my cultural fluency and literacy in our company which we didn't feel we were where we needed to be.
"But actually, we could work with them on some commercial things as well and so we worked together on trying to develop different tourism propositions."
The most compelling part of the relationship developed because Air New Zealand had an issue with its prawn entrée in business class and questions over whether it could be ethically sourced, other than being from Southeast Asia.
It was replaced with smoked fish from Ngāti Porou after the airline worked with the iwi to upgrade its small smokehouse operation and regulatory requirements and meant they could supply any airline.
"You look at that as an example and it is just a win, win, win."
Before leaving the airline last year, which he ran for seven years, it abolished the ban on visible tattoos in hospitality roles. That had come about after an employee network of Māori and Pasifika employees, the Manu network, had raised it.
"We don't put limits on people's weight, sizes, age, anything else. It's really about being able to bring your whole self to work and as long as you meet high standards around character and personality and energy and all the other things we want you to do, we can manage that and that hasn't been a downside at all."
Cultural literacy and diversity were fundamentally important in any organisation, Luxon said, and not just diversity of thought.
"The research is really compelling in a business sense. You don't just do it because it's Kumbaya and it's a nice to do.
"You also do it because it is very good business"
It could deliver up to 30 per cent more profitability because it involved talking to customers not previously reached and also tapped into new talent pools.
The airline used to go to schools to encourage girls to become pilots and now 30 to 40 per cent of pilot trainees were women.
He cited a programme called TupuToa that exposed corporates to smart Māori and Pasifika graduates, the majority of whom would be offered jobs immediately.
"We had never seen them before because we hadn't ever engaged with the community.
As a typically white male person, when they talk about this thing called unconscious bias that's what they mean."
So would he like to see more diversity in the National Party?
"Absolutely. There's diversity of thought. There are people who have come from very different backgrounds in the National Party," he said.
"That's a good thing but we need to see ethnic diversity, diversity on all the dimensions, that's only a good thing. And that means you have got to be a bit intentional about that."