Bill Roberts has a London accent through and through, but he realised as soon as he came to Aotearoa he wanted to understand te reo.
"We should all be lifelong learners, maintaining our curiosity because little knowledge is a dangerous thing," Roberts, the economic development manager at Napier City Council said.
Roberts, together with one of the council's kaiwhakahaere hononga Māori, Hilary Prentice, have teamed up this week to help council staff learn Hawke's Bay's pre-colonial place names.
Te reo Māori is recognised by Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a taonga, and this Wiki o Te Reo Māori a series of quizzes created by Roberts, Ngāti Pākehā, and Prentice, Ngāti Kahungunu, have been causing big debates.
"We've been doing daily quizzes, which are actually really hard," Prentice said.
"One of the questions asked us where Te Tiriti was signed in here, which was at Waitangi Park," she said.
The aim of these quizzes for Roberts was to start people at the council on their journey of learning about te ao Māori.
"It teaches us everything in te ao Māori has a meaning, and that geographical and historical place names matter. These histories are an entry point into the language and culture," he said.
"The name Waitangi Park was given to the area because Te Tiriti was signed there by tangata whenua and other learned people say that the name Waitangi also refers to the crying sound the water makes when the wind blows across it," Roberts said.
Ahuriri/Napier is one of four cities that began to build a Reorua strategy in partnership with Te Taiwhenua o Whanganui ā Orotū last year, which aims to increase the use of bilingual signage.
"This programme is the start for Ahuriri/Napier to follow the bilingual policy of Māori to be on the left and English on the right," said Morehu Te Tomo, pou whakarae/director of Māori partnership for Napier City Council.
"We are also awaiting the Mana Ahuriri Claim, which is yet to be passed by Parliament, which means the council will have to carry out name changes by law," Te Tomo said.
These changes will mean that the pre-colonial, te reo Māori place names of Te Matau-a-Māui/Hawke's Bay will replace the current place names.
Roberts came to Aotearoa from Greenwich in the United Kingdom in 2009 and took up te reo out of polite respect for the national tongue.
He has been studying te reo Māori at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa since 2017.
"If my family had moved to Italy we would learn Italian, or if we moved to France we would learn French, but we came to Aotearoa so we learned te reo Māori," Roberts said.
"Learning as an adult is hard and uncomfortable, but it's an important feeling. We shouldn't be confident in all situations."
For the Napier City Council, its relationship with Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is more than just a one-week fling.
"Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is not just a one-week moment in the office, we celebrate and participate in te reo every day," Prentice said.
The council has been doing karakia every morning, led by Prentice and her colleague Beverley Kemp-Harmer, kaiwhakahaere hononga Māori/director of Māori.
"It blew me away how hungry everyone is for te reo and all things te ao Māori," Prentice said.
"Everyone's jobs at the council are demanding and stressful, it's full-on work, but people are still making time to contribute to this week," she said.
As far as her personal te reo journey goes, Prentice has been challenging herself by stepping into the space of kaikaranga at one of her marae.
"I've been standing with Beverly at Moteo marae as a kaikaranga for several years. Bev is like my reo mentor," Prentice said.
The most important tool for learning te reo for Prentice was being able to tap into the knowledge of people around her, like Kemp-Harmer and her whanau.
"A few weeks ago I did my first karanga alone for a tangi, and it was good because it went over a few days so by the end of it I was feeling more confident. It's about building confidence and telling myself, I've got this."