Just over 5000 people have joined the Maori roll so far - a month from the option closing.
The majority of that number is made up of first time voters, according to the statistics released by the Electoral Commission on Tuesday.
It's about 10000 short of the final number of those who joined the Maori roll in the last option, in 2006.
Those on the roll will be able to vote in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election this Saturday.
The main candidates running for the seat have joined together to encourage Maori to make the switch to the Maori roll and join up, by writing letters to networks within Maoridom and pushing the option in their campaigns.
They say if every Maori voter chooses to go on the Maori roll there could be at least 13 Maori seats, instead of the current seven in a Parliament of 121.