Most watched: Meet the Iraqi immigrant family learning Te Reo Maori - 'We have a responsibility to speak the language'

This story was first published on Thursday September 13.

Mariam Arif and her whānau are immersing themselves in te reo, as a way to feel more at home. Source: Seven Sharp

This last year has seen the number of people wanting to learn the Māori language skyrocket.

From the cape to the bluff - people are queueing up to get into Te Reo Māori classes.

One of those is an Iraqi immigrant and her whānau - who have immersed themselves in the Māori language.

"We are living on this land so we have a responsibility to speak the language of this land," Mariam Arif told Seven Sharp.

She's been living here for 20 years but has only been learning Te Reo Māori for two of those.

"When I started, I didn't really like talking, but I didn't give up and stop, didn't get shy and didn't get lazy and now I'm a lot better."

Ms Arif can speak three languages, English, Arabic and Te Reo Māori.

With her family also getting in on the act, she has plenty of people to help practice her newest language.


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