Learn Maori, the vibrant and “extraordinary” language of the indigenous people of New Zealand
Māori is the language spoken by the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand, mainly in the North Island, and it has been one of New Zealand’s 3 official languages since 1987. It’s closely related to the language spoken in the Cook Islands (known as Cook Islands Māori or Rarotongan). The Māori call their language either te reo Māori (the Māori language) or simply Māori . Until the Second World War most Māori spoke te reo as their first language. Before the war, about 75% of Māori lived in rural areas. Two decades later, approximately 60% lived in urban centres and English become dominant. Thanks to a major Māori-language renaissance in the 1980s, Māori is once again heard throughout Aotearoa (Māori for New Zealand), and Māori art, songs, dance, and traditional carving are being brought back along with the language. The word Māori means common or ordinary, but this is definitely an extraordinary language!