Today marks the begginning of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, a week celebrating Māori language.
First celebrated in 1975, the week-long celebration of the official language is held every September, encouraging Kiwis to learn and make use of the language in day-to-day conversation.
This year, the week's events include the Māori Language Moment where organisers are hoping the country will all join in at 12pm on Monday "speaking, singing and celebrating te reo all at the same time".
Organisers are hoping a million people will take part in the moment, with more than 400,000 people already signed up including schools, businesses and offices across the country.
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As well as a hoped increase of conversational usage of te reo in daily life, organisers are also hoping that more people consider taking up te reo classes.
UCOL spokeswoman Shivarn Stewart said there were currently 188 students enrolled in both the beginner and intermediate te reo courses across the four UCOL campuses, ranging from students in their 20s to grandparents wanting to learn alongside their grandchildren. The courses are free for all students, and co-ordinators say they've seen a significant uptake in recent years.
One student, Mahalee Guieysse, started learning te reo as her sixth language in late August and has loved the interaction and hands on learning the classes provided.
"The beginners' class has been incredible. I never knew this type of learning existed and its a really beautiful way to learn not only te reo Maori but also other important cultural aspects," Guieysse said.
UCOL Whanganui campus manager Bronwyn Paul said te reo Māori was fundamental to New Zealand identity.
"It is a cornerstone of Aotearoa New Zealand's culture. We see learners taking part in these free classes for so many different reasons – to connect with their roots, to share it with family, to do better in their jobs or just for their own enjoyment," she said.
"When we share language with each other we can better understand each other, and that's something a lot of Kiwis are really passionate about."