Leo Moana o Aotearoa Survey Report

Leo Moana o Aotearoa Survey Report
01 Mar 2022


This report presents pan-Pacific findings from the Leo Moana o Aotearoa Survey on the use of, and attitudes towards, Pacific languages by Pacific people in Aotearoa New Zealand. These findings are from the online survey component of the study and is the first report in the Leo Moana o Aotearoa Series. The report presents the baseline data from which subsequent policy work will stem over time.


A mixed methods approach incorporating both quantitative (online survey) and qualitative (individual and focus group talanoa) methods was employed in the project, driven by the Tivaivai methodology.

Key Results

There are distinct differences across the Pacific communities of New Zealand, and these should be considered in light of their own unique contexts. Such ethnic-specific findings are not the subject of this report, however, they will be included in a number of dedicated reports later in the series.

The key findings from this report indicate that:

  1. Pacific languages are valued highly by Pacific people. Pacific languages are an important part of New Zealand’s national identity. There was a strong call for official recognition of Pacific languages by the Government.
  2. There is unmet demand for Pacific language education – both the learning of Pacific languages in education, as well as Pacific bilingual and immersion schooling.
  3. There is a clear and significant break in intergenerational transmission of Pacific languages across all language groups. The rates of transmission of languages from adults to school-aged children are extremely low. This threatens the continuity of Pacific languages.
  4. There is an increasing number of Pacific people, particularly young people, who speak English as a first language.
  5. The emerging domains of media and technology, sport and recreation, and the workplace as spaces where more Pacific languages are being used, are significant.
  6. English is permeating all facets of life for Pacific people, including domains which have traditionally been bastions of Pacific language use such as Pacific churches, homes, and families.
Page last modified: 07 Jul 2023