March 5, 2013

NZ language maps

There’s a new information paper from the Royal Society of New Zealand, on languages. We have 160 of them, which is a lot, but the paper says we could do with more coherent policy about them.

It’s accompanied by some neat interactive maps, produced by Paul Behrens and Jason Gush from the Royal Society and Paul Murrell from our department. The map of average number of languages per person across the country is visually dominated by the largely-rural areas where te reo Maori is widely spoken



but if you zoom in to Auckland, the detail gets dramatically more complicated.  I speak 0.286 fewer languages than average for my neighbourhood.



There are also national maps for  NZ Sign, Samoan, and all other languages combined.




Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »


  • avatar
    Julie Middleton

    Don’t you think it’s a bit odd that this elderly and probably out-of-date data was released around Census day, meaning that a new, improved set of shiny data is in the offing? Since 2006, we’ve had a new cohort of reo-speaking kids start school …

    5 years ago

    • avatar
      Thomas Lumley

      Not really.

      It will be quite a while before the new data are available, and I think this is just when they did it. The maps are 2006 data, but the report isn’t — it’s based on consultations will all sorts of groups around the country.

      It will be interesting to see how many of the new cohort report te reo fluency on this Census — the question being “could you have a conversation about a lot of everyday things?”.

      5 years ago