Ethnologue.com home
Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Pacific > New Zealand > Maori

Maori

A language of New Zealand

ISO 639-3mri

Population  60,000 in New Zealand (Fishman 1991). 100,000 understand it but do not speak it (1995 Maori Language Commission). Population total all countries: 60,260. Ethnic population: 530,000 (2002 Honolulu Advertiser).
Region  Far north, North Island, east coast. Also in United States.
Language map  New Zealand
Alternate names   New Zealand Maori
Dialects  North Auckland, South Island, Taranaki, Wanganui, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua-Taupo, Moriori. Formerly fragmented into regional dialects, some of which diverged quite radically from what became the standard dialect. Lexical similarity: 71% with Hawaiian [haw], 57% with Samoan [smo].
Classification  Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Central Pacific, East Fijian-Polynesian, Polynesian, Nuclear, East, Central, Tahitic
Language use  Used officially for legal needs. Until the 20th century spoken throughout New Zealand. Moriori dialect in Chatham Islands is extinct. Mainly adult speakers. Also use English.
Language development  322 government-funded Maori language schools, including preschool. Grammar. Bible: 1858–1952.
Writing system  Latin script.
Comments  VSO. Christian.
Contact us