Summary sheet of the 2009 Māori Language Attitudes Survey

Attitudes Among Non-Māori

Non-Māori people hold positive attitudes toward the Māori language, but not to the same extent as Māori. However, non-Māori attitudes towards the Māori language have improved significantly between 2000 and 2009. In particular, support for the statement that ‘It is a good thing that Māori people speak Māori in public places, such as the street or supermarket’ has increased from 40% in 2000 to 77% in 2009. This reflects a growing awareness about the importance of the Māori language for Māori people and in wider New Zealand society. In addition, there were increases in support for the provision of Māori language education to children over this period.

Table 4: Attitudinal Statements about Māori Language, 2000-2009,

Non-Māori Respondents
% Agree/strongly agree 2000 2003 2006 2009
Well spoken Māori is a beautiful thing to listen to 78 82 80 78
It is a good thing that Māori people speak Māori on the marae 90 95 96 97
I have a lot of respect for people who can speak Māori fluently 74 84 81 87
It is a good thing that Māori people speak Māori in public places, such as the street or supermarket 40 73 80 77
All Māori should make an effort to learn Māori themselves 51 57 57 66
Some Māori language education should be compulsory in school for Māori children 21 54 43 58
Some Māori language education should be compulsory in schools for all children - 54 56 64

Non-Māori people strongly support the Government’s involvement in Māori language revitalisation. In particular, in 2009, they indicated that the Government’s support for Māori radio stations (85%) and measuring the health of the Māori language (79%) is important. There has been growth in the support for the role of Government to encourage the use of the Māori language in everyday situations between 2000 (25%) and 2009 (64%).

Table 5: Attitudes Toward Government Involvement in the Māori Language, 2000-2009,

Non-Māori Respondents
% Agree/strongly agree 2000 2003 2006 2009
The Government’s support of Māori radio stations is a good thing - 73 75 85
The Government should encourage the use of Māori in everyday situations such as in the home or at the marae 25 61 59 64
It is important that the Government takes a role in recording how well Māori language is doing 53 71 76 79
It would be good if the Government departments could conduct business in Māori if requested 48 55 54 55
It is only right that the signage is in both Māori and English - 48 54 59

While there has been a clear move in attitudes towards the Māori language among non-Māori people, there has not been an equivalent shift in behaviours. Some non-Māori people watch the Māori Television Station (26%) and attend ceremonies or events with Māori welcomes and speeches (23%). Otherwise, non-Māori participation in Māori language and culture events has remained uniformly low between 2000 and 2009. For this reason, many non-Māori can be described as ‘passive supporters’ of the Māori language.

Table 6: Participation in Selected Language and Culture Related Activities, 2000-2009,

Non-Māori Respondents
% Undertook following activities often/very often 2000 2006 2009
Go to a marae 5 6 8
Watch or listen to the Te Reo television channel - - 13
Watch or listen to the Māori Television station - 10 26
Access websites about Māori culture - 3 6
Access websites that contain Māori language resources - 3 9
Attend ceremonies of events with Māori welcomes and speeches 11 26 23
Read or browse Māori magazines 3 3 3
Go to kapa haka or Māori culture group concerts 6 8 7
Listen to Iwi Radio (Māori Radio) 4 4 3
Visit Māori art, culture or historical exhibits 11 16 21

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