Languages of New Zealand
|Languages of New Zealand|
|Official languages||English, Māori, New Zealand Sign Language|
|Main languages||New Zealand English|
|Sign languages||New Zealand Sign Language|
|Common keyboard layouts||
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There are several languages of New Zealand. English (New Zealand English) is the dominant language spoken by most New Zealanders and is one of three official languages of New Zealand. The country's de jure official languages are Māori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Other languages are also used by ethnic communities.
English is a de facto official language by virtue of its widespread use.
The Māori language has had official language status, with the right to use it in legal settings such as in court, since the Maori Language Act 1987. There are around 70,000 native speakers of Maori out of a population of over 500,000 Māori people, with 161,000 of the country's 4 million residents claiming conversational ability in Māori.
New Zealand adopted sign language (New Zealand Sign Language or NZSL) as an official language on 10 April 2006. It is now legal for use and access in legal proceedings including in court and access to government services.
The pre-European inhabitants of the main islands of New Zealand all spoke Māori. A number of outlying islands and territories of New Zealand have their own native languages:
- Cook Islands Maori is the official language of the Cook Islands.
- Niuean is an official language of Niue (along with English).
- Tokelauan is an official language of Tokelau (along with English).
- Moriori language was the language of the Chatham Islands.
- Penrhyn language
New Zealand has more speakers of several Polynesian languages resident in New Zealand than are resident in the country that language is native to (for example Niuean). It also has immigrants from other European and Asian countries who have brought their languages with them. According to Ethnologue, the largest groups are Samoan (50,000), "Rarotongan" (Cook Islands Maori, 25,000), Hindi and other Indian languages (26,200), Yue Chinese (20,000) and Arabic (4000).
At the 2013 New Zealand Census, the following languages were spoken by more than 0.1% of the population.
|Language||Number||Percentage||Change from 2006|
|English (New Zealand English)||3,819,969||96.14||+0.24|
|Chinese (not further defined)||42,753||1.08||+0.09|
|New Zealand Sign Language||20,235||0.51||−0.12|
|Cook Islands Māori||8,124||0.20||−0.05|
|None (e.g. too young)||67,509||1.70||−0.27|
- "Becoming a Kiwi". NZ Immigration. Retrieved 2006-08-19.
- Dyson, Ruth (6 April 2006). "NZ sign language to be third official language". New Zealand Government.
- "Education and Language", p90, MFAT
- Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.) (2005). "Languages of New Zealand". Ethnologue: Languages of the World, (Fifteenth edition. ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 2006-08-19.
- "2001 Census: National Summary" (PDF). Statistics New Zealand. p. 119. Archived from the original on 2006-09-02. Retrieved 2006-08-19.
- Governor-General gives assent to Sign Language Bill, Press Release: Governor General, 10 April 2006. Retrieved 11 April 2006.
- "2013 Census totals by topic". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 11 December 2013.