Māori language

Polynesian language spoken in New Zealand

The Māori language (Māori: Te Reo Māori, shortened to Te Reo) is the language of the Māori and an official language of New Zealand. It is an Austronesian language.

Native toNew Zealand
EthnicityMāori people
Native speakers
(60,000 cited 1991)
157,000 New Zealand residents claim they can converse in Māori about everyday things (2006 census)[1]
Latin (Māori alphabet)
Māori Braille
Official status
Official language in
New Zealand
Regulated byMāori Language Commission
Language codes
ISO 639-1mi
ISO 639-2mao (B)
mri (T)
ISO 639-3mri
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Although it is an official language, not many people speak it fluently. In the 2013 census, about 149,000 people, (3.7% of the population) said that they could have a conversation in Māori about a lot of everyday things.

The language can be seen everywhere throughout New Zealand, as many of the placenames are Māori, such as Whangarei, Rotorua, and Timaru. Lots of government or city buildings use te reo on their signs as well as English, and most of the public schools have a Māori name as well as an English one.[2][3] Some Māori people living in Australia also speak the language.

Te Reo Māori did not have a writing system until the Europeans arrived. In 1817, a Ngāpuhi chief, Tītori, and his relative Tui worked with Professor Samuel Lee and prepared a writing system for te reo.


  1. Statistics New Zealand:Language spoken (total responses) for the 1996–2006 censuses (Table 16) Archived 2013-03-09 at Archive-It.
  2. "Newtown School | Wellington". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  3. "Wellington High School". Wellington High School. Retrieved 2020-01-27.