New Green Party Maori MP Denise Roche says there is still a long way to go to until the country properly recognises the Treaty of Waitangi.
Ms Roche is of Ngati Raukawa descent. As one of nine children she left school with no qualifications but returned to education later and became a union organiser.
The Waiheke Island resident says as part of acknowledging Te Tiriti she is passionate about te reo.
Ms Roche wants to raise the status of the language and increase the opportunities for Maori to learn te reo and tikanga, particularly for those who don't live mainly Maori areas.
She says she wants to ensure all children have access to te reo, and not just Maori children, but for all people to be able to learn the indigenous language.
"It serves us for all people to learn the indigenous language of this country," she says.
She also wants to use her new role to help reduce poverty among Maori and Pasifika whanau.