3 Dec 2013

Te Reo speakers fall, Maori population rises

1:49 pm on 3 December 2013

New information collected from the Census shows a drop in the number of Te Reo speakers.

Just over one in five Maori can now hold a conversation in their native tongue.

That's a decrease of 4.8% since the last official count in 2006.

The ability to speak Te Reo has fallen across all age ranges, except among the over 65s where it is up 11%.

There's also been a slide in the number of Maori who can speak more than one language, dropping 4.9% to 125,388 people.

Meanwhile, the Maori population has climbed 5.9% to 598,605.

The rise is faster than the increase in the overall population of New Zealand, which has grown by 5.3 % or 214,101 people.

Statistics New Zealand says the biggest surprise in the information is the number of Maori achieving formal qualifications at university.

The proportion of Maori with a bachelor's degree has increased by 56.4% to 36,072.

Hindi is now the fourth most common language in New Zealand, after English, Maori and Samoan.