Maori Population

New Zealand has a population of 4.2 m people. 600,000 of those people identify themselves as Maori. Only 20% of Maori say they can hold a conversation in Te Reo (the Maori language).

Most Maori now live in urban areas. 24% live in Auckland, but 30% in Northland and 45% in Gisborne. Very few Maori live in the South Island. Maori people tend to live in poor housing areas, have more health problems than pakeha people and have low educational achievement. However, the number of Maori who have a university degree is fast increasing.

The median age of Maori is 24 whereas the median age of pakeha is 41. One third of Maori are under 15 years old. Maori often have bigger families. By 2026, the number of Maori could be 800,000.

About half of all Maori adults have a non-Maori partner. New Zealand has a long history of inter-marriage but identity and customs are still important to Maori.

One in 6 Maori lives overseas, especially in Australia. It is very hard for them to keep their language and identity so far from home.


• identify themselves – feel they are Maori (evidence is not necessary)
• median – average
• pakeha – European people in NZ

Note: the word Maori is used for singular or plural

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