Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

www.stats.govt.nz

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Comparison of te reo Māori speaker rates

This chapter compares te reo Māori speaker rates across the 2001 and 2013 Censuses and the two post-censal surveys, Te Kupenga and the 2001 HMLS.

Te reo Māori speakers in 2013

2013 Census

The 2013 Census found 125,352 Māori (21.3 percent of all Māori) could hold a conversation about a lot of everyday things in te reo Māori. This figure included 92,391 Māori (23.7 percent) aged 15+.

Te Kupenga

In 2013, Te Kupenga found that 257,500 ethnic Māori aged 15+ (55 percent) could speak more than a few words or phrases in te reo Māori. Fifty-thousand Māori (10.6 percent) could speak te reo Māori ‘very well’ or ‘well’, 56,500 (12.0 percent) could speak ‘fairly well’, and 151,000 (32.1 percent) spoke ‘not very well’. Overall, 106,500 Māori (22.6 percent of all Māori) spoke te reo Māori ‘very well’, ‘well’, or ‘fairly well’.

Comparison between speaker rates

Survey differences make direct comparisons difficult (see chapter 5). However, it seems likely the 2013 Census rate aligns with those in Te Kupenga who said they could speak te reo Māori very well, well, or fairly well – 106,500 Māori (22.6 percent of all Māori) in 2013. This figure is very similar to the 2013 Census figure (125,352, or 21.3 percent).

Census and post-censal surveys show different trends

2001 and 2013 Censuses

Census data shows a decline from 2001 to 2013 in the proportion of the Māori ethnic group aged 15+ with conversational ability in te reo Māori – 28.2 percent in 2001 to 23.7 percent in 2013. However, over this time period the number of those with conversational ability increased from 91,809 to 92,391.

2001 Survey on the Health of the Māori Language and Te Kupenga

When compared with the 2001 HMLS, Te Kupenga shows the percentage of ethnic Māori aged 15+ who could speak te reo Māori very well, well, or fairly well had increased from 19.8 percent in 2001 to 22.6 percent in 2013. The number of Māori with this range of proficiency increased from 72,000 to 106,500 over this time period.

Comparison between trends

These figures highlight a contradiction between these data sources – 2013 Census data shows a decrease in the percentage of te reo Māori speakers, while comparable information in Te Kupenga shows a small increase. However, note that these results are based on measuring language proficiency in different ways.

The proportion of ethnic Māori aged 15+ who could speak only about simple things in te reo Māori increased from 22.4 percent in the 2001 HMLS to 32.1 percent in 2013 (Te Kupenga).

Differences between age groups

2001 and 2013 Censuses

Between 2001 and 2013, census figures show a decrease in the proportion of Māori with conversational ability in te reo for all age groups. However the figures showed an increase in the number of those with conversational ability in the 45–54-year and 55+ age groups (table 1).

Table 1 
Ability to hold a conversation about everyday things in te reo Māori, by age group
For the Māori ethnic group census usually resident population count aged 15 years and over
2001 and 2013 Censuses

Age group (years) 

Number of Māori with conversational ability in te reo Māori 

Māori population 

Proportion of Māori population with conversational ability in te reo Māori(1) (percent)

2001

2013 

2001 

2013 

2001 

2013 

15–24 

22,164 

21,039 

91,623 

106,998 

24.5 

20.0 

25–34 

18,300 

16,011 

79,413 

71,394 

23.4 

22.7 

35–44 

17,595 

15,849 

71,181 

73,545 

25.0 

21.8 

45–54 

13,407 

15,495 

44,568 

67,878 

30.4 

23.2 

55+ 

20,343 

23,997 

43,014 

76,467 

48.1 

31.9 

Total 

91,809 

92,391 

329,796 

396,285 

28.2 

23.7 

1. These proportions exclude responses that cannot be classified (eg ‘not stated’, ‘response unidentifiable’, and ‘response out of scope’).

Source: Statistics New Zealand

2001 Survey on the Health of the Māori Language and Te Kupenga

When compared with the 2001 HMLS, Te Kupenga showed an increase in the proportion of Māori in the 15–24-, 25–34-, and 35–44-year age groups who could speak te reo very well, well, or fairly well (figure 1).

Figure 1 

Graph, Proportion of Māori population who can speak te reo Māori very well, well, or fairly well, by age group, comparison between the 2001 HMLS and Te Kupenga (2013).

Comparison between age groups

The increase in the ability to speak Māori very well, well, or fairly well in the post-censal surveys appears to contrast with the decline in the proportion of Māori with conversational ability for all age groups from the 2001 to the 2013 Census.

The contradiction between the 2013 Census and Te Kupenga about the trend since 2001 is also present across the majority of age groups, but particularly younger age groups. While the 2013 Census showed a decrease in the proportion of Māori in the 15–24-, 25–34- and 35–44-year age groups with conversational ability in te reo, Te Kupenga showed an increase across these age groups of those who could speak te reo very well, well, or fairly well.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Top
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+