The Health of the Māori Language in Tamaki Makau Rau 2006

Māori Language Use

International research on language revitalisation suggests that for minority languages like Māori to survive, intergenerational transmission is required.

Māori speakers are clustered together and are not spread evenly throughout the Māori population. Thirty percent of Māori households in Tāmaki-Makau-rau have at least one Māori language speaker. In just over half of these households there is only one speaker, limiting the possibility of language use in the home.

Twenty-four percent of children or dependants live in households where there is at least one adult speaker of te reo, meaning that acquisition through intergenerational transmission is possible.

For people with Māori language skills, use of te reo Māori in the home has increased since 2001, especially in communications with children and young people. For example: Māori language interactions between adults and their pre-school children have increased from 57% in 2001 to 76% in 2006; Māori language interactions between adults and their primary school-aged children from 53% in 2001 to 64% in 2006; and, Māori language interactions between adults and their secondary school-aged children have increased from 37% in 2001 to 61% in 2006.4 Whilst this is a positive indicator of the occurrence of intergenerational transmission, communication patterns in the home have not yet reached a level where the Māori language is considered the primary means of communication.

The use of the Māori language in the community remains most common in Māori cultural domains such as in hui and on the marae. The Māori language is not the primary means of communication in other everyday activities within the community setting.

Māori Language Competencies by Age

Māori Language Competencies by Age
Age grouping No. of people with Māori
language competencies
Total
population size
Māori
language rate
Proportion of all Māori
with Māori language
competencies
0-14 7050 49413 14% 25%
15-34 8961 46443 19% 32%
35-54 7428 32577 23% 27%
55+ 4449 11547 39% 16%

Source: Census 2006.

 

4 These percentages combine the percentage of Māori adults who used the Māori language as a significant language of communication and the percentage of Māori adults who made some use of the Māori language in their interactions.

Māori Language Use by Māori Adults in the Home

Line graph of usage of te reo in the home by Parents, Spouse, Preschool children, Primary school children, Secondary school children, Other adults

Source: HML 2001 Survey, HML 2006 Survey.

Table of contents

The Health of the Māori Language in Tamaki Makau Rau 2006

  1. Māori Language Knowledge and Proficiency
  2. Māori Language Use
  3. Provision of Māori Language Services
  4. Conclusions

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