Tena koutou I timata taku haerenga mo to au me aku tamariki. About five years ago I was sitting at home and wondering why don’t I know my language. A lot of thoughts and emotions ran through my head as I reflected back on my childhood. My father is Māori and my mother is Pākehā and I grew up with my mother so I never had any opportunity to embrace my Māori side which made me feel very pouri. So as a 29 year old single mum looking at my tamariki I knew I had to start that journey and out of everything I have achieved I have never been more proud of myself than the journey I had taken to learn the language of my tipuna. I started with my level 1 and this year I have completed my level 5 diploma in te reo Māori! I do this for my children so they don’t have to be in the same position as me when they are older. Now I work in schools and share my knowledge with teachers and students and when I am not in school I travel round with a team and teach kapahaka with my inner and outer community around Southland and otago, not only that, but with my skills these schools now have the opportunity to employ someone to help teach the language to the up and coming children of today, ka mau te wehi!. Kia kaha Aotearoa kia Maia, kia manawanui. Ka taea e tatou. Ngā mihi nui, Nā Ashlee.