FAQ about Māori Population

Q1. How many Māori people are there?

A1. StatsNZ estimated the Māori population to be 875,300 as at 30 June 2021 (17.1 % of national population).

New Zealand's 2018 National Census reported that 775,836 people belonged to the Māori ethnic group.

There were 128,430 Māori living in Australia in 2011 (a third of those were born in Australia). Approximately 6 percent of Māori living in Australia reported that they spoke Māori at home.

New Zealand's total population is estimated to have reached 5 million in May 2020.

Q2. How Māori people were living in New Zealand during first European contact?

A2. Estimates suggest that up to 100,000 Māori were living in New Zealand in 1769. At that time there was no other ethnic group in residence.

Q3. When was the Māori population at its lowest number (post European contact)?

A3. In 1896 there were only 42,113 people of predominantly Māori descent.

Q4. Is the Māori population increasing?

A4. Yes, the Māori population is increasing and at a faster rate than the European (i.e., those of European descent only) population of New Zealand.

Q5. Where can I find further details on the Māori population?

A5. StatsNZ The Statistics New Zealand (formerly Department of Statistics) website is frequently updated, but still is very difficult to navigate.

NZ's most respected demographers include Ian Pool and Tahu Kukutai both from the University of Waikato.

For further details on the number of Māori speakers from census data see Peter J Keegan's GitHub pages



NZ's National Census is undertaken every 5 years. The census due in March 2011 was postponed until March 2013 due to the large after-shock (i.e., earthquake) in Christchurch in February 2011 which badly damaged many downtown buildings and severely disrupted Statistics NZ's Christchurch staff.

The 2018 National Census was undertaken, for the 1st time mostly online, on Tuesday 6 March 2018. Regrettably there was low Māori participation in that census.

The 2023 National Census was undertaken on 7 March 2023, but remained open until 20 June 2023. Data will not be released until May 2024.

Last modified 28 October 2023.

This page is Copyright © Peter J Keegan PhD, 2003-2024. All rights reserved.