Summary sheet of the 2009 Māori Language Attitudes Survey

Attitudes Among Māori

Māori people generally hold very positive attitudes toward the Māori language. Table 1 shows consistently positive responses from Māori between 2000-2009 for various attitudinal statements, with very high levels of support for statements about proficient speakers and Māori language use at marae. It is interesting to note, however, that Māori respondents are more likely to support Māori language education for all children, rather than for Māori children only.

Table 1: Attitudinal Statements about Māori Language, 2000-2009

Māori Respondents
% Agree/strongly agree 2000 2003 2006 2009
Well spoken Māori is a beautiful thing to listen to 97 96 95 96
It is a good thing that Māori people speak Māori on the marae 94 98 98 98
I have a lot of respect for people who can speak Māori fluently 89 94 93 95
It is a good thing that Māori people speak Māori in public places, such as the street or supermarket 68 89 94 89
All Māori should make an effort to learn Māori themselves 63 77 77 75
Some Māori language education should be compulsory in school for Māori children 41 66 61 61
Some Māori language education should be compulsory in schools for all children - 67 65 68

Māori consider that the Government has an important role in language revitalisation. In 2009, there was particularly strong support for the role of Government in supporting Māori radio stations (94% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with this statement) and in recording how well the Māori language is doing (91%). Māori support for these statements has remained consistently positive over the last decade.

Table 2: Attitudes Toward Government Involvement in the Māori Language, 2000-2009,

Māori Respondents
% Agree/strongly agree 2000 2003 2006 2009
The Government’s support of Māori radio stations is a good thing - 93 95 94
The Government should encourage the use of Māori in everyday situations such as in the home or at the marae 58 82 81 81
It is important that the Government takes a role in recording how well Māori language is doing 77 88 88 91
It would be good if the Government departments could conduct business in Māori if requested 74 82 80 79
It is only right that the signage is in both Māori and English - 77 78 74

There is some lag between the positive attitudes reported by Māori people towards the language and their participation in Māori language and culture events. While 94% of Māori respondents in 2009 agreed that Government should support Māori radio stations, only 30% of respondents reported that they listened to these stations on a regular basis. This figure has decreased from 40% in 2006. On the other hand, there are increases in the number of Māori people who access information about the Māori language and culture on the internet, from 27% in 2006 to 31% in 2009. The lag between behaviour and attitudes is commonly identified in studies of attitudes towards social issues.

Table 3: Participation in Selected Language and Culture Related Activities, 2000-2009,

Māori Respondents
% Undertook following activities often/very often 2000 2006 2009
Go to a marae 59 63 58
Watch or listen to the Te Reo television channel - - 50
Watch or listen to the Māori Television station - 62 63
Access websites about Māori culture - 27 31
Access websites that contain Māori language resources - 27 31
Attend ceremonies of events with Māori welcomes and speeches 48 55 56
Read or browse Māori magazines 41 50 39
Go to kapa haka or Māori culture group concerts 40 42 41
Listen to Iwi Radio (Māori Radio) 38 40 30
Visit Māori art, culture or historical exhibits 30 41 40

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