That little smile of acknowledgement from a native speaker is often all that it takes to reinforce the joy of learning a language. And, this can happen at the most unexpected of occasions.
Having never visited Kohimarama in Auckland, I only knew how to pronounce the place name from my study of Te Reo. I had no idea that locals refer to the beach as “Coey.” So, jumping in a taxi and asking the driver to take me to “Kohimarama” produced a wonderful response from the driver. He was obviously surprised at someone attempting to pronounce the word properly and even paid me the respect of asking “Ko Maori koe?” “Are you Maori?” That gave me a feeling of great satisfaction and is a moment that I will cherish for a very long time.
Bruce Scott (Te Reo Maori enthusiast)