Frequently Asked Questions

New Zealand's official languages

Are Māori and New Zealand Sign Language official languages in New Zealand?

Although English is currently the most widely spoken language in New Zealand, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language both formally have special status under the law as official languages of New Zealand. People have the right to speak Māori and New Zealand Sign Language in any legal proceedings. 

Due to the growing numbers of migrants, many other languages are now spoken. The Commission has produced guidance on language policies in the workplace to ensure employers and employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

The Commission provides increasing amounts of information in all three languages, and other languages including Samoan, Tongan and Chinese.

More information

To find out more read the Commission’s Statement of Language Policy and visit: