Maori

Print

A language of New Zealand

Alternate Names
New Zealand Maori
Population

60,000 in New Zealand (2011 SIL). 100,000 understand but do not speak it (1995 Maori Language Commission); 30,000–50,000 adult speakers over 15 years old (1995). Population total all countries: 60,660. Ethnic population: 565,000 (2006 census).

Location

Far north, North Island, east coast. Also in United States.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Statutory language of national identity (1987, Maori Language Act, No. 176, Article 3), legal domains mostly.

Dialects

Bay of Plenty, Moriori, North Auckland, Rotorua-Taupo, South Island, Taranaki, Wanganui. 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].

Typology

VSO

Language Use

Until 20th century, Maori was spoken throughout New Zealand. There is a recent reluctance of the young generation to use Maori (2007). Mainly adult speakers. All are bilingual in English [eng] (Wurm 2007).

Language Development
322 government-funded Maori language schools, including preschool. New media. Grammar. Bible: 1858–1952.
Writing
Latin script.
Other Comments

Moriori dialect in Chatham Islands has no remaining speakers. Christian.