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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

1 in 5 Māori people speak Te reo Māori – Media release

6 April 2020

Almost 1 in 5 Māori adults said they could speak Te reo Māori, and a third said they could understand the language at least fairly well, Tatauranga Aotearoa Stats NZ said today.

Over half of Māori people had some Te reo Māori speaking ability. This is similar to the proportion reported in Te Kupenga 2013.

The data on Te reo Māori was collected in Te Kupenga 2018, Tatauranga Aotearoa Stats NZ’s survey of Māori wellbeing, which was answered by almost 8,500 individuals of Māori ethnicity or descent.

The proportion of those who could speak the language fairly well, well, or very well, varied by age group. Māori people aged between 15–24 years and those over 55 appeared to be among the most likely to speak Te reo Māori at least fairly well.

 “The high proportions of younger people who are able to speak Te reo Māori may reflect the emergence of Māori immersion teaching and learning environments over the past few decades,” wellbeing and housing statistics manager Dr Claire Bretherton said.

“Of Māori people aged between 15 and 34 years who speak at least some Te reo Māori, 45 percent said they learned it through Kōhanga reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, or Wharekura. This rose to 68 percent for those who speak Te reo Māori fairly well or better.”

Data on ways of learning Te reo Māori was collected in Te Kupenga for the first time in 2018. This showed that the language was learned in a variety of ways across different age groups. For those who spoke more than a few words or phrases of Te reo Māori, the most common method of learning it was by listening and speaking with relatives, fri