16 Apr 2014

Rangatahi pick up Te Reo - Census

6:47 am on 16 April 2014

Rangatahi are riding to the rescue of Te Reo - despite the census showing a drop in Maori language speakers.

Statistics New Zealand had a reported an almost 5 percent slide in the number of tangata whenua who could hold a general conversation in their native tongue.

But census manager Gareth Meech said it had looked deeper into the data and found young Maori were learning the language.

A quarter of young Maori aged under 20 could speak Te Reo, which was higher a proportion than among older Maori, Mr Meech said.

The information showed the language was being picked up by youth, he said.