Montana Karena was denied the chance to live with her reo growing up, so she is doing whatever she can to ensure the same doesn't happen to her children.
The full-time student and mother of four from Paharakeke (Flaxmere) has made it her family's goal to become fluent Māori language speakers, and make it the primary reo in their homes going forward.
"Ki ahau nei ko taku whāinga, mō mātou ko aku tamariki, me kōrero Māori mātou ao noa, po noa," she said.
Karena is in her third year of learning the language herself, now in the first year of a degree Bachelor of Arts in Māori Studies at EIT's Te Ūranga Waka.
"Because I wasn't brought up with my reo, I'm actually learning it so I can pass it down to my children," she said.
After starting her education at a kōhanga reo, Karena lost the everyday nature of her language use, when she went into mainstream schooling.
That left her feeling like a part of her was missing, so she wants her children to know their kōrero, their waiata so they have a solid grounding for the challenges of life.
"To be able to feel more connected to themselves, and know more about who they are," said Karena.
"Therefore they'll be able to see where they are going."
Though she has learned a lot over recent years, and always had a solid grounding in Māori values like manaaki, or supporting and caring for others, Karena said she still struggles to "think in Māori".
Setting her children up to be able to instinctively use the language to conversate is therefore a key goal.
And beyond her own family, Karena hopes to take her passion and study into a career:
"To help our people learn more about themselves, and their reo and tikanga Māori."
She wants New Zealand and New Zealanders to be less whakamā about their native tongue, and not just during Māori language week.
"Don't be shy to learn your language, now's the time," Karena said, noting all the resources available now mean everyone has plenty of opportunities to learn.
"Whatever reo you do have, whether it be big or small, kōrero Māori.
"Tukua te reo kia rere, get it out there."