2020 was supposed to be the year I began my Te reo journey. It sat at the very top of my New Year Resolution list that New Year's eve between 2019 and 2020, the commitment was made to myself and with witnesses...and then well, we all know what happened to 2020...suddenly it was 2021. This year though is to be known as the year of no more excuses!

We are babies Tarnz (our incredible kaiako) tells us at the Powhiri, remember as babies you mastered one word at a time, you made mistakes and you slowly learnt how to speak single words, then phrases and then sentences...and that took years. And so it begins....I am but a baby.

This is no "Learn to Speak Te reo in 30 days" experience though. Having selected something far more special - Held at the beautiful Araiteuru Marae and using the accelerated learning methodology of Tākina to aid in our retention and learn first hand of the customs, cultural practices, processes and responsibilities that come with the mahi kaitiakitanga of a Marae.

To date I can confidently introduce myself - Ko Bex Twemlow tāku ingoa, nō Otepoti ahau. We have begun to frame the "Where" and "Who" with my brain nearly exploding at that....but still feel "Kei hea mai" or Outstanding is an appropriate comment to us all!

Joy is found with progress for me, it is also found in song so learning the beautiful waiata we start each class with...yes, I belt those out with full noise and passion!

Wherever you may be in your journey of connecting, understanding and embracing our Aotearoa - ka pai.