The Health of the Māori Language in Waiariki 2006

Māori Language Knowledge and Proficiency

<p>This fact sheet provides a summary of the main findings of ‘The Health of the Māori Language in Waiariki 2006’ report.<sup>1</sup></p> <p>This report draws on a variety of research to provide a composite picture of the Māori language in the region; including: Census data; Health of the Māori Language (HML) survey data; education statistics; observations from national research; and information from language planners and community representatives working in Waiariki. The full report is available at</p>

According to the 2006 Census, the Māori language rate for Māori adults in Waiariki is 33%, among an adult Māori population of 49,100.

Waiariki has the highest Māori language rate among the eight regions in the HML Survey. The HML Survey shows that more people can understand the Māori language (49%) than speak it (35%).2

There are significant differences in the proportion of Māori language speakers across age groups. For those people aged up to fifty-five, the Māori speaking rate is 28%, whereas for those people aged fifty-five or over the rate is 51%. However, the population of Māori speakers aged over fifty-five is small compared to the population in younger age bands. older speakers are also more proficient in the Māori language than young adult speakers.

Since 2001, there have been significant improvements in Māori language proficiency levels within the Māori population. for example: speaking proficiency has increased from 23% in 2001 to 35% in 2006, and listening proficiency has increased from 39% in 2001 to 49% in 2006.3

Fifty-nine percent of Māori adults are dissatisfied with their level of proficiency in the Māori language and desire to learn and use more of the language.


1 For our reporting purposes, Waiariki is defined as the Tauranga, ōpōtiki, Western Bay of Plenty, Kawerau, Rotorua, Taupō and Whakatāne districts.
2 For more detailed data, refer to the full report.
3 Amongst Māori adults who can speak Māori fairly well, well or very well.

Back to top