When I was teaching, one of the coolest things was pronouncing a student's name correctly and seeing their eyes light up because they expected you not to.
I think it's exciting that there is going to be a new generation of children who will have perfect - or at least close to it - pronunciation of Māori language.
Te reo should be compulsory for all primary age children.
Many schools already have te reo as part of their teaching but there are many, I'm sure, that don't.
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Sadly for our older generation their pronunciation of Māori words just isn't right and for a lot of these older people, re-learning the correct pronunciation proves difficult.
It's like learning any new language. It takes time to master new sounds and new ways of speaking.
Newstalk ZB host Marcus Lush highlighted last week that there are still many generational gaps when it comes to the way some New Zealanders speak when pronouncing Māori words.
The talkback radio exchange between Lush and two women in the South Island pointed out what in my opinion is the ignorance of people who flat out refuse to try.
The New Zealand Herald picked up the clip from the show after it went viral because "the callers argued it was their right to mispronounce Māori words".
Newstalk ZB host Marcus Lush was shocked to receive two calls during his show on Thursday night from New Zealand-born women who insisted on mispronouncing the Māori names of the places where they'd been born.
Even after being told the correct pronunciation, both callers made it clear they would never start pronouncing it properly and insisted that it was their right to say the place name the way they'd always been told to say it.
"If I told you how it was pronounced, would you do it?," Lush asked the first caller, an 83-year-old woman from Ōpoho, Dunedin.
"No. Because it's mine. My region," the woman replied. The caller insisted she meant "no disrespect to anyone" but the host pointed out it was disrespectful as he said the caller was "being wilfully ignorant".
"Like hell I am," she responded.
Since marrying and assuming the surname of Trask, I often have to correct people who pronounce my surname incorrectly.
I often hear sports commentators pronouncing it wrong during rugby games on TV, when my stepson is playing, and it does make me a bit mad.
Imagine if it was like that for your entire language.
Every time you heard your words pronounced wrong, people are murdering the very essence of your culture.
So it's Traaask instead of Tr-ask. An "R" sound instead of an "asssk".
Language is hard.
It's like new combinations of letters become scary.
But there is no harm in trying and failing, attempting and then succeeding.
And like most things in life, it takes effort and hard work.
My knowledge of te reo and helping to educate my own children with their pronunciation and Māori word learning in their pre-school years has come largely from my 15 years teaching in two Rotorua high schools.
I relished in learning te reo and improving my pronunciation has been one of my proudest outcomes.
I take pride living in the Bay of Plenty where unlike untouched pockets of the South Island, Māori culture, our culture, my culture that I've adopted as part of my own, is alive and thriving.
Our bi-cultural area means that exposure to Māori language is everywhere.
Te reo is spoken around us often, it is a musical language that makes me feel at home as I work hard to pick out words and meanings I know, even if I don't recognise or know it all.
I cringe and feel uncomfortable when a Māori name or word is pronounced incorrectly over and over again.
I feel sadness that there are people so uneducated who are scared to change, scared to pronounce words for the fear of failure and with no one to support them and their journey into te reo.
I spent the first eight years of my life growing up on the North Shore.
I imagine if not for moving to Rotorua then my own perceived culture of how I see myself and how much value I place on pronunciation of Māori language could be different.
How do we get our older generation to try when they are isolated from Maori language living and breathing around them?
They are not lucky like me. They do not have access to a culturally rich city that encompasses, celebrates and loves its Māori culture.
I am impressed, proud and somewhat jealous at the ease that my children pronounce Māori words.
They have been exposed to Māori language since birth.
I am proud at how they deliver te reo and they have no idea there is a wrong way to say the words they know so well.
I work hard to help my family to re-pronounce words that they tried but got wrong.
I have friends who call me out and help me to continue to speak correctly.
It is easy to slip back into old ways of how we used to say something rather than continually striving to get it right.
It is important to correct others without making them feel inadequate or wrong for trying. For if we do, we may discourage them from trying again.
Just because people grow up saying something one way doesn't mean it's the right way. I encourage people to change their mindset and perception. Learn how different vowels sound and ways to move their mouths to make new sounds that may be foreign to you.
For the more we try the more we will succeed. There is no greater feeling that speaking confidently in a language or using words other than your first language in the correct way they were intended to be delivered.