Adult Māori-language learners are an under-researched yet crucial part of efforts to revitalise te reo Māori. This paper presents and analyses a qualitative case study of the learning journey of Julian Wilcox. As an exemplar learner, Julian’s story helps to shed light on the factors that led to his development of proficiency in te reo Māori and these insights may have implications for other Māori-and Indigenous-language learners. We have used a framework based on the literature to analyse Julian’s story (narrative inquiry). This framework consists of three themes of successful adult Māori-language learning. Those themes are identity factors as motivation, relationship building and transferable skills.