Our Languages - Tō Tātou Reo

Image of globe with Languages on itNew Zealand has three official languages: English, Te Reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.  According to Census 2013, English, Te Reo Māori, Samoan and Hindi are the most widely spoken languages in New Zealand.

The information on the following pages includes data from the 2001 Census, 2006 Census and 2013 Census. Where possible the most recently published data have been used.

Languages spoken in New Zealand  

People have come from all over the world to make New Zealand their home. As they do so the range of languages spoken in New Zealand is becoming more diverse. Read more about which languages are spoken in New Zealand.

Who Speaks What?

Almost everyone speaks English in New Zealand, particularly those born here. But more and more people in New Zealand also speak other languages. People born overseas are much more likely to speak an additional language. Read more about who speaks what in New Zealand.

Languages we are learning

Language plays a critical role in all our lives; it determines who we interact with and how we are perceived. Learning a language can also help us learn about our heritage or connect with a culture different from our own. It can also bring employment or business opportunities. For most of us, learning a language starts in school. Read more about what languages are being learnt in New Zealand’s primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions.

Language Line

The Office of Ethnic Affairs provides the Language Line telephone interpreting service for those who speak little or no English.  Read more about the Language Line Telephone Interpreting Service.

Language Information and Advice

The Office of Ethnic Affairs provides advice to Government, other public sector agencies and the public about ethnic diversity, including language issues. Here you can read a report and information produced by the Office about language issues in New Zealand.