Tino mīharo ki ahau tēnei kaupapa, Te Wiki o te reo Māori.
Turn on the television and the announcers and presenters greet viewers with a mihi. Interview subjects litter their kōrero with words like mahi, whānau and aroha.
It's all part of the nationwide drive to normalise te reo into the general community.
The battle for recognition of te reo began in the 1970s, and in 1980 protesters marched to Parliament. But it was not until 1987 that te reo was granted recognition as an official language.
But what about on the streets of Rotorua?
Thanks to the pandemic it's like a zombie town, with few outsiders. It's nigh impossible to smile and say "kia ora" when you have to wear a mask and stay 2m apart.
Just in the past few days grieving whānau followed the Delta protocols to the
letter at the tangihanga for their mother. From the time mourners arrived at the waharoa, went into the whare tupuna and had kai, numbers were strictly enforced.
Masks and handwashing were mandatory and there were scanning stations. There were no handshakes, hugs or kisses, just tuke ki te tuke (elbow to elbow).
Instead of everyone sitting down to hākari after the burial, hot pre-packed hangi meals were handed out to mourners in their cars. Only 50 of the kirimate (close family) ate at the marae.
Apart from formal speeches, little te reo was spoken in the meeting house.
When I was growing up at Whakarewarewa in the 1950s and 60s, use of te reo was widespread but not passed on to the children. I spoke Māori as a pre-schooler but couldn't communicate with the other kids at school and I was miserable.
My parents kept me home until I learned.
They actively discouraged the use of te reo, saying it was of no use, We needed to speak English to get good jobs. Kids those days did as they were told. No argument.
Neither of our parents had formal schooling past the equivalent of Year 8 and were keen on education.
School was not such a great place. For us, Māori wasn't a subject at primary school and only by correspondence at high school. Except for action songs and haka.
The Pākehā teachers mangled our names, making no attempt at correct pronunciation. Most believed we would have only menial jobs. Nothing to aspire to.
We accepted that as "normal". Thankfully that has largely changed.
Our mother was the only one of her whānau who was comfortable in te reo and she credited the time living with her Aunty Moana and Uncle Taame Tunui in Whakatāne for her fluency.
Māori was dad's first language.
So to the present day. We lived kawa and tikanga, which are ingrained in my psyche with manaakitanga and whanaungatanga.
Bilingual Rotorua was a good starting point for the reo journey but it needs to spread beyond kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa and academia.
So open up your hearts and minds, "ordinary citizens", and embrace the bold Rotorua Daily Post initiative of bilingual pages. This is a positive journey. I promise it won't be scary - instead it will introduce a whole new universe.