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Future Maori population - summary of latest trends

These projections are based on the concept of self-identification of ethnicity. They include people who belong to the Mäori ethnic group, either solely or with other ethnic groups (eg European, Pacific), and exclude those people who have Mäori ancestry but do not identify with the Mäori ethnic group.

Projection series 6 assumes that:

  • The total fertility rate will decrease to 2.40 births per Mäori woman by 2011 and then remain constant, and the total paternity rate of Mäori men (with non-Mäori women) will decrease to 0.80 children per Mäori man by 2011 and then remain constant.
  • Life expectancy at birth will increase by six years to 75.8 years for Mäori males and 80.1 years for Mäori females by 2021.
  • There will be an annual net migration loss of 2,500 Mäori people.
  • There will be annual net inter-ethnic mobility due to people changing their ethnic identity of -0.3 percent.

The following analysis is based on series 6, unless otherwise stated.

  • The Mäori population is projected to grow from 586,000 in 2001 to 749,000 by 2021. This represents an increase of 163,000 or 28 percent during the 20-year period.
  • The annual growth rate of the Mäori population is projected to slow, from 1.4 percent in 2002 to 1.2 percent in 2021. Despite the slow-down in the growth rate, the Mäori population is projected to grow at a faster pace than the total New Zealand population.

Annual Growth Rate

Note: The growth rate of the total New Zealand population shown above is based on the latest (2001-base) projections.

  • Because the Mäori population is projected to grow at a faster rate than the total population, its share of the total population is projected to rise from 15.1 percent in 2001 to 16.6 percent in 2021.
  • The Mäori population overall will become older, but will continue to have a much younger age structure than the total New Zealand population because of higher Mäori birth rates. Half of the Mäori population will be older than 26.8 years by 2021, compared with a median age of 22.1 years in 2001. In comparison, the median age of the New Zealand population will rise from 34.7 to 39.8 years over the same period.

Median Age of Mäori Population
2001-2021, Series 6

  • The number of Mäori children (aged 0-14 years) is projected to remain stable between 2001 and 2016 before increasing by 9,000 to 225,000 in 2021. Children will make up a smaller proportion of the Mäori population, dropping from 37 percent in 2001 to 30 percent in 2021. This is due to the projected decline in the Mäori birth rate and the gradual ageing of the Mäori population.
  • Mäori children will make up about 28 percent of all New Zealand children in 2021, compared with 25 percent in 2001. This increasing share reflects the higher birth rate of the Mäori population.
  • The working-age population (defined as those aged 15-64 years) is projected to increase from 350,000 in 2001 to 468,000 in 2021, an increase of 34 percent.
  • The fastest growth during the 20-year period, however, will occur among Mäori aged 65 years and over. Their numbers will almost treble, from 20,000 in 2001 to 57,000 in 2021. This increase will result from movement of the current working-age population into older ages. The 65+ group will make up 8 percent of the Mäori population by 2021, compared with 3 percent in 2001.

Mäori Age Distribution
2001-2021, Series 6

  • Projection series 6 is one of eleven alternative Mäori population projection series produced using different assumptions about future changes in fertility, mortality, migration and inter-ethnic mobility. These projections are subject to future uncertainty and should be used as an indication rather than exact forecasts of future changes in Mäori population size and structure.
  • Projection series 11 (incorporating high fertility, low mortality, low inter-ethnic mobility and a net migration loss of 1,500 Maori a year), indicates that the Mäori population will increase by 279,000 or 48 percent during the 20-year period to reach 865,000. On the other hand, projection series 1 (incorporating low fertility, high mortality, high inter-ethnic mobility and a net migration loss of 3,500 Maori a year), will result in 645,000 Mäori by 2021. This represents an increase of 59,000 or 10 percent during the period 2001-2021.

Alternative Mäori Population Projections

The following Excel file contains all the data used in the graphs/tables included in the section on 'Future Mäori population'. They are available to download.

Downloadable MS Excel file

Excel Tables (Maori Projections).xls
Microsoft Excel 97 format (26.0KB)

If you do not have access to Excel 97 or higher you may use the Excel file viewer to view, print and export the contents of this file.

More detailed information

For a more in-depth analysis of the latest Mäori population projections, see the latest Hot Off The Press entitled National Maori Population Projections, 2001(base) - 2021 (including tables free to download).

Note: the derived figures contained in the Monitor, such as numerical and percentage changes, have been derived using data of greater precision than that published in the Hot Off The Press. As a result, some of the figures contained in the Monitor may differ slightly from those published in the Hot Off The Press.

For more detailed information on Mäori projections, see:
For more information on Mäori, see:
Mäori Population Estimates Tables - 1996-2001, for single year of age by sex.

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Future Maori population

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