In celebration of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week, and with an election looming, candidates from the Waiariki electorate have been promoting their policies to enhance the Māori language.
Māori Party hopeful Rawiri Waititi said they have a policy to change all Pākehā place names to Māori, and the party wants every child to learn te reo Māori up to Year 10.
"We want it to be a core subject and this is the way we'd like to do it. We aren't going to do it the way they did to us in school. They beat it out of us and they were cruel," he said.
"We are opening our doors with a whole lot of love, compassion and kindness. That's the phrase that's been thrown around this year, 'be kind'.
"So te iwi Māori are showing how kind we are by allowing people access to our reo, as the indigenous language of our country."
Labour Party policy is a little different. Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey said if re-elected the Labour Party will continue to support and grow te reo Māori.
"In the last budget we set aside $200 million for our kohanga reo, acknowledging the role that they have in revitalising our Māori language and I hope we can continue to support our kura kaupapa too," he said.
"We also put in place Te Ahu o te reo Māori which is about increasing the capability of all our teachers in New Zealand. We've put one thousand teachers through that and we're hoping to train a further 7000 in the coming 12 months.
"This is how we get to the goal of making te reo Māori a viable and correctly pronounced subject in our schools," he said.
Although Vision New Zealand doesn't have a specific plan how to support te reo Māori, party leader Hannah Tamaki said when Māori do well, all of New Zealand does well too.
"It's about promoting our culture, promoting the beautiful actions of our waiata and our haka and all of those things which make up who Māori are."
Despite the differences in policy, all candidates agree that the key to speaking reo Māori is to just give it a go.
Waititi said start with "kia ora", which has many meanings including "be well" and is more commonly known as "hello".
Coffey recommended "aonga ake", a popular greeting in Te Arawa.
Although still "on her own language journey", Tamaki recommends starting with simple phrases such as "kia ora whānau", "morena whānau" or "kia kaha whānau".
For the more advanced, Waititi suggested combining kupu into simple phrases at home or at work.
"Homai te pene" means give me the pen. Or if you want to give a pen, say "anei te pene".
"The more people give the reo Māori a go, the more understanding and aroha we will have for it," he said.
Made with funding from