Below is a list of the 25 languages with the highest number of speakers at the time of Census 2013.

Table 1: Top 25 Languages by number of speakers, 2013.

 

Language

Number of
speakers

Percentage of
Total Population, %

1 English 3,819,969 90%
2 Māori  148,395  32%
3  Samoan  86,403  2%
4  Hindi  66,309  1%
5  Northern Chinese  52,263  1%
6  French  49,125  1%
7  Yue  44,625  1%
8  Sinitic  42,753  1%
9  German  36,642  1%
10  Tongan  31,839  1%
11 Tagalog 29,016 1%
12 Afrikaans 27,387 1%
13 Spanish 26,979 1%
14 Korean 26,373 1%
15 Dutch 24,006 1%
16 New Zealand Sign Language 20,235 <1%
17 Japanese 20,148 <1%
18 Punjabi 19,752 <1%
19 Gujarati 17,502 <1%
20 Arabic 10,746 <1%
21 Russian 9,426 <1%
22 Italian 8,214 <1%
23 Cook Island Maori 8,124 <1%
24 Thai 7,599 <1%
25 Tamil 6,840 <1%
  Total People 4,242,051  
Source: Statistics New Zealand, the New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings 2013

Table 1 includes all of the people who stated each language spoken, whether as their only language or as one of several languages. Where a person reported more than one language spoken, they have been counted in each applicable group.

In 2013, there were significantly more English speakers than speakers of any other language. English had over twenty-five times more speakers than second placed Te Reo Māori. English (90 per cent), Te Reo Māori (3 per cent), Samoan (2 per cent) and Hindi (2 per cent) were the only languages that could be spoken by more than 2 per cent of the population.

Eleven languages (Northern Chinese, French, Yue, Sinitic, German, Tongan, Tagalog, Afrikaans, Spanish, Korean and Dutch) were spoken by about 1 per cent of the population. All other languages on this list were spoken by less than one per cent of the population.

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