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The percentage of people living in the Waikato region who say they speak Te Reo Māori is declining.

This indicator is the percentage of people within the total population living in the Waikato region, who reported that they speak Te Reo Māori. This information is drawn from the New Zealand Census (1996, 2001, 2006 and 2013).

Why is this indicator important?

The number of Māori language speakers reflects understanding of the importance of New Zealand’s cultural heritage. Te Reo Māori has been formally recognised as an official language of New Zealand since 1987. As the number of Māori language speakers increases, there is less likelihood of the language not being lost through lack of use. Our connection and pride in keeping the language alive can also help us to create and present a sense of identity for ourselves, our communities and our country.

Measuring the number of Māori language speakers within a population can indicate how connected Māori and non-Māori living in our region are with regional and New Zealand history; our indigenous heritage and people; and each other.

Te Reo Māori speakers

Bar graph showing info on te reo Maori speakers in the Waikato region 

Year Per cent Maori langauge speakders in the total population
1996 6.3
2001 6.4
2006 5.8
2013 5.3


Note: Denominator is total people. This includes a small proportion of people who did not state a response.

What is this indicator telling us? 

  • The proportion of people living in the Waikato region who said they spoke Te Reo Māori at the time of the 2013 Census was above the national average (5.3% compared to 3.5%). This is at least partly due to the higher proportion of Māori residents in the Waikato region.
  • The percentage of Waikato region residents who say that they speak Te Reo is down from 5.8% in 2006 and 6.4% in 2001.
  • The highest proportions of Māori language speakers in the Waikato region were recorded in the Waitomo district (10.3%) and Taupō district (7.5%).

Check out related information on our website and other organisations’ websites listed on our Waikato Progress Indicators’ Useful Links page.

Click here to view report cards



Census data on languages spoken is available via the NZ.Stat table builder for 2001, 2006 and 2013. Numerator is number of people who speak Māori and denominator is total people (including those who did not state a response to this Census question). Data for 1996 were sourced through a customised data request.

Update details: Most recent figures are from the 2013 Census results released 3 December 2013. Statistics NZ will start to release 2018 Census data from 23 September 2019.

Customised data request requirements: Nil


Territorial Authority (TA) disaggregation: Yes

Other regions: Yes 

New Zealand: Yes 

Other countries/ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): No