Singer Hinewehi Mohi says Kiwis should be proud of their Māori language and culture.
Ms Mohi spoke to The AM Show on Thursday morning about her singing the national anthem at the 1999 Rugby World Cup, which created controversy when she left out the English verse.
She told host Duncan Garner she didn't mean to become an activist for the Māori language and culture and at the time hadn't realised her anthem rendition would cause such outrage.
"I was an accidental activist. I didn't set out to offend anyone or upset anyone," she said.
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"I really do love the language and the culture and the uniqueness of it and I think that all New Zealanders share in it and that was really important to me."
Garner said the Māori national anthem was his preferred version, but without Ms Mohi he doesn't think he would even know it.
"It's something that stirs me, I love it, but if it wasn't for you would I know it?"
Garner said even co-host Mark Richardson prefers the Māori version.
Ms Mohi said she had been in the UK to promote her Māori language album and so thought it would be appropriate to sing the anthem in Māori at the 1999 Rugby World Cup quarter final against England.
She said in the following test against France, she was asked to sing in only English, and the All Blacks lost 43-31.
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