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Languages spoken in New Zealand

New Zealand is an English speaking country. Maori is the native language of the country that is spoken by a small amount of the population. As time goes by New Zealand will have more and more people who are bilingual with the amount of Asian and pacific island immigration to New Zealand.

New children to mixed relationships are also brought up learning two languages. You will also notice that many Maori words have worked there way into normal everyday use.

The figures below total more than 100%, because the census counted all languages in which individuals considered themselves fluent; many speakers of minority languages were therefore counted more than once.

All figures taken from the 2006 Census.

  • English: 98.0%
  • Mâori: 4.2%
  • Chinese: 3.5% (sub-divide into the following dialects)
    • Yue (Cantonese): 1.2%
    • Mandarin: 1.1%
    • Other Chinese dialects, or not further defined: 1.2%
  • Samoan: 2.3%
  • French: 1.4%
  • Hindi: 1.2%
  • German: 1.0%
  • Tongan: 0.8%
  • Dutch: 0.7%
  • Korean: 0.7%
  • New Zealand Sign Language: 0.6%
  • Japanese: 0.6%
  • Spanish: 0.6%
  • Afrikaans: 0.6%
  • Other European languages: 1.9% (including Italian, Russian, Greek and many others).
  • North Indian languages (excluding Hindi): 1.2%
  • Other South Asian languages (including Malay and Indonesian): 0.9%
  • Pacific languages (excluding Samoan and Tongan): 0.7%
  • Other languages (including Tamil, Telugu, Arabic, etc): 2.0%

Source: Language spoken (total responses) for the census usually resident population count, 2006, Statistics New Zealand.

Those with no language (e.g., too young to talk) and those who gave unusable responses were excluded from these percentages.



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