The Health of the Māori Language in Te Tairāwhiti / Takitimu 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. Forty percent of Māori households in Te Tairāwhiti/Tākitimu have at least one Māori language speaker. In half of these households there is only one speaker, limiting the possibility of language use in the home.

Thirty-two 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 overall since 2001, especially in communications between Māori adults and their children and other adults. For example: Māori language interactions between adults and their pre-school children have increased from 66% in 2001 to 83% in 2006; Māori language interactions between adults and their secondary school-aged children have increased from 52% in 2001 to 73% in 2006; and, Māori language interactions amongst adults in the home have increased from 44% in 2001 to 85% in 2006.4 While 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 or on the marae. The Māori language is not the primary means of communication in other everyday activities within the community setting.

Māori with Māori Language Competencies by Age

Māori with 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 4,700 22,200 21% 28%
15-34 4,800 18,200 26% 29%
35-54 4,100 15,000 27% 25%
55+ 3,000 6,900 43% 18%

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

Source: HML 2001 Survey, HML 2006 Survey.

Table of contents

The Health of the Māori Language in Te Tairāwhiti / Takitimu 2006

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

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