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Niuean - Language


  • In 2001, 28 percent of Niuean people (with a language) were able to hold an everyday conversation in Niuean – down from 32 percent in 1996.
  • A higher proportion of the overseas-born Niuean population was able to speak Niuean (61 percent of those with a language) than the New Zealand-born Niuean population (12 percent of those with a language). This pattern held across all age groups, as shown in figure 2.1.

graph - Niuean Population Able to Speak Niuean, 2001

  • The proportion of the New Zealand-born Niuean population able to speak Niuean in 2001 was slightly lower than in 1996 (15 percent of those with a language).
  • Among the New Zealand-born population, the 25–34 year age group was the most likely to be able to speak Niuean (17 percent) in 2001.


  • English is the most widely spoken language among the Niuean population. The proportion of Niuean people not able to speak English decreased from 5 percent (of those with a language) in 1996 to 3 percent in 2001.
  • In 2001, the majority (82 percent) of Niuean people unable to speak English had been born overseas. Of those born overseas and unable to speak English, more than three-quarters (78 percent) had been in New Zealand for more than 10 years.
  • Eighty-two percent of Niueans who could not speak English were more than 20 years of age in 2001.

Pacific Profiles - Niuean

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