Whangārei tutor embraces the beauty of te reo Māori culture
Before going to his marae in Opononi, former Aucklander Mike Looker was always a little apprehensive he'd be tapped on the shoulder to speak in te reo.
So he did something about it and pursued learning the language. As part of the Northern Advocate's Māori Language Week/Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, we look at his journey so far.
Growing up in South Auckland with a Māori mother and Pākehā father, the Māori culture wasn't a part of Looker's life.
"We grew up urban and my parents were from the generation where they weren't allowed to speak Māori – it wasn't encouraged. It was there but we didn't have a lot of interaction with it."