Topic: Te Reo Māori

Positive news hoped for Te Reo Māori in 2018 census

By Aroha Treacher
  • Northland

In the last census that New Zealand conducted, which was in 2013, almost 150,000 people in New Zealand spoke Te Reo Māori. With the 2018 census set to get underway next month, it's hoped there will be some positive news for Te Reo.

Census figures show that the numbers of Te Reo speakers has declined over the last 15 years.

"The age group where the Māori language is most flourishing is within the age group 18 - 50 years old," says Te Reo Māori exponent Timoti Karetu " for instance there are many tribes who's elders are not able to speak Māori."

In 2013, 70% of Māori adults said it was somewhat important for them to be involved with Māori culture, just 10% said it was not.

"If you say you're Māori then should be learning your language," says Karetu.

Figures also show that 55% of Māori adults had some speaking ability, while only 11 per cent could speak Māori very well.

"Don't leave it up to the government or the teachers or media to make you speak Te Reo Māori, it's up to you to begin your own language journey," says Ngāti Kahungunu broadcaster Crystal Edwards.

But with the upcoming census due to begin on March 6 it will hopefully shed new light on the health of Te Reo Māori.