"Neither grew up speaking te reo, they started to learn the language in high school and university. “My nan was fluent in te reo but didn’t teach her kids because back then it was considered a waste of time,” Hamuera explains. It’s hard to imagine but in that era, speaking Māori in schools was punished. Fortunately, times have changed!
Aroha acknowledges that there’s also a whole new vocabulary to learn when you have children, so there are labels in te reo dotted around the house and she and Hamuera are on a learning journey with the kids. Couples like Aroha and Hamuera are torchbearers passing the taonga (treasure) of te reo on to the next generation."