TJ Perenara embraces speaking Te Reo Māori while in camp with All Blacks

TJ Perenara's passion for learning Te Reo Māori has extended to him using it before English when in camp with the All Blacks.

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The Hurricanes and NZ halfback has been learning te reo, saying he wants his daughter to hear it at home. Source: 1 NEWS

The Hurricanes and New Zealand halfback has spoken openly in the past about the whakamamae [pain] he felt not being able to speak te reo, and has thrown himself into learning it.

As the All Blacks gathered at Whakatāne's Te Manuka Marae as they begin preparations for next month's Test matches with Australia, Perenara spoke to reporters about the ongoing importance he placed on learning te reo, especially now he was a father to a baby girl.

He was also using it more and more at work.

"Within our environment I will speak Te Reo Māori first, and then speak Te Reo Pākehā afterwards," he said.

"For example, 'he kawhe māu', and then I say 'would you like a coffee' to one of the boys. 

"So I'll say things in Te Reo Māori before I say them in Te Reo Pākehā to our team, and it's not tying to force it on anyone, it's just trying to make it normal in our environment.

"And also, it helps me with Te Reo Māori, being more confident, the more than I use it."

He said one of his teammates in particular was embracing his efforts - Jordie Barrett. 

"Jordie's a really good one, Jordie speaks to me in Te Reo Māori now, he will walk in and say 'he kawhe māu' to me, and I'm like kia ora."

"It's mean that I haven't pushed it on him, but he's picked it up really well."