Welcome to New Zealand






New Zealand Language


New Zealand Language

New Zealand Language

New Zealand’s official languages are English and Maori. Most people of New Zealand talk in English with an accent that closely resembles an Australian accent but not quite. It is uniquely a New Zealand accent.

Although English and Maori are the recognized languages of New Zealand, Maori did not become an official language of the country until 1987.
The Maori language falls under to the language family called Austronesian which is the family of languages used in Australia, Formosa, Polynesia, and Malaysia.


New Zealand became the very first country in 2006 of April to pronounce sign language as an official language, together with English and Maori. NZSL or New Zealand Sign Language is the prime language of the hearing impaired residents in New Zealand.

It is only in New Zealand that the Maori language is used and is found nowhere else on the globe. In spite its status as an official language, the Maori language remains to struggle against becoming obsolete.

Queen Victoria promised in the Treaty of Waitangi of 1840 that the Maori language would be preserved. It was only lately that the language of the Maori has garnered popular support. Today, the Maori language is usually used in schools and in the media.

In the 1940s when Maori people relocated to the cities, they felt forced to speak in English and the youth were brought up without their native language.


The Maori language was near to being completely lost by the 1970s.
A recent study by the government of New Zealand shows that approximately one hundred thirty thousand people know some Maori.

A small part of the total population of the Maori is believed to be proficient in Maori, but the language is currently being given new life in programs for early-childhood known as language nests or kohanga reo. Other European and Polynesian languages are used by a small part of the population.


Approximately 13 percent of New Zealand’s population today are Maori. For more than a hundred year, the Maori language in the country has been a minor language. Before World War II, the first language of the Maori people who lived mostly in the countryside was the Maori language. After World War II in 1945, large scale migration to urban areas happened that resulted in a breakdown in the passing on of Maori from one generation to the next.

The children of the Maori started to be brought up as knowing only English. This is very important because during this period approximately 60 percent of the population of the Maori was below the 20 years of age. In a survey on linguistics finished in the 1970s, it was obvious that less than 20 percent of Maori were fluent in the Maori language.

Despite intensive efforts to revitalize the Maori language in the 1970s to the 1980s, including the preschool language nests or kohanga reo and language radio stations, the most recent survey of the Maori Language

New Zealand Language


Commission done in 1995 indicates that the population of adult Maori who spoke the language fluently seems to have reduced substantially to approximately ten thousand.



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