The Official Languages in New Zealand

Official Languages in New Zealand

English and Maori are the official languages of New Zealand.

The New Zealand accent can be difficult to understand, even for speakers of the English language.

Maori became an official language in 1987.

In early 2006, New Zealand became the first country to declare sign language as an official language.

Maori Language

New Zealand is the only country in the world where Maori is spoken. Despite its official status, the language continues to struggle against being lost.

In the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, Queen Victoria gave her word to the Maori that their language would be protected. however, it was only in recent years that the Maori language gathered its widespread support. Currently the Maori language is used in the media and in schools.

In the 1940's when Maori people moved out of rural areas and into the cities the Maori language began to decline and children were raised in English rather than Maori. By the 1970's, the Maori language was close to extinction and therefore an effort was made to include the native language into the media and school curriculums.

A recent survey by the New Zealand government shows about 130,000 people speak some Maori in New Zealand.

Kiwi Slang

Here are just a few samples of specific words used in daily life New Zealand:

Barbie - Barbeque

Bro - Friend, Brother

Bush - Forest of native trees and plants

Down Under - Australia, New Zealand

Footy - Rugby

Gidday - Hello, Good day

Good as Gold - Affirmative, approval of quality

Haere Mai - Come here (Maori language)

Heaps - A lot

Hows it going mate? - Greeting, how are you?

Jumper - Sweatshirt

Knackered - Exhausted

Kumera - Sweet Potato

Mozzie - Mosquito

No Sweat - No problem

OE - Overseas experience, long term holiday

Op Shop - Second hand shop

Pouring down - Heavy rain

Ripped off - Payed too much

Sweet As - Very good

Ta - Thanks

Tea - Dinner, evening meal

Togs - Swimwear

Whanau- Family

 

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English Language Requirements for Migrants

Skilled Migrant Category:

Principal applicants meet the minimum standard of English if

  • they can provide an IELTS certificate showing an overall band score of at least 6.5 in the General or Academic Module,
  • their recognised qualification was taught entirely in English,
  • they have been employed in skilled employment in New Zealand for at least 12 months or
  • otherwise meet the minimum standard.

Partners and Children aged 16 and over meet the minimum standard of English if

  • they can provide an IELTS certificate showing an overall band score of at least 5 in the General or Academic Module,
  • their recognised qualification was taught entirely in English,
  • they have been employed in skilled employment in New Zealand for at least 12 months,
  • they have an English speaking background or
  • otherwise meet the minimum standard.**

 


 


**by providing evidence which satisfies a visa or immigration officer that, taking account of that evidence and all the circumstances of the application, they are a competent users of English. These circumstances may include but are not limited to:
* the country in which the applicant currently resides;
* the country(ies) in which the applicant has previously resided;
* the duration of residence in each country;
* whether the applicant speaks any language other than English;
* whether members of the applicant's family speak English;
* whether members of the applicant's family speak any language other than English;
* the nature of the applicant's current or previous employment (if any) and whether that is or was likely to require skill in English language;
* the nature of the applicant's qualifications (if any) and whether the obtaining of those qualifications was likely to require skill in the English language.

 

Partners and Children who do not meet the above minimum standard of English can pre-purchase English for Speakers of Other Languages tuition (ESOL-tuition), English language courses that can be taken once they have arrived in New Zealand.

The IELTS score determines the amount payable for pre-purchase ESOL tuition (NZ$1,700-6,650). If an IELTS certificate is not supplied, the maximum charge applies.

In any case a visa or immigration officer may require an applicant to provide an IELTS certificate to determine whether the applicant meets the minimum standard of English.

 

Business Categories:

Applicants under the Investor, Entrepreneur, Long Term Business Visa or Employees of Relocating Business categories will need to meet a minimum standard of English.

Principal applicants meet the minimum standard of English if

  • they can provide an IELTS certificate showing an overall band score of at least 5 in the General or Academic Module,
  • they have an English speaking background
  • otherwise meet the minimum standard.

Partners and children aged 16 and over will be able to purchase ESOL tuition.

If the application has been lodged under the LTBV category, partners and children are not required to meet the minimum level of English at the time the LTBV application is lodged, but at a later stage, when the residence application follows.

 

Pre-purchase of ESOL tuition

1. Instead of meeting the minimum standard of English, non-principal applicants may pre-purchase ESOL tuition. ESOL tuition must be pre-purchased from TEC (Tertiary Education Commission) by paying the required charge to the NZIS (who collect this charge on behalf of TEC).
2. Applicants must pay any ESOL charge due, sign the ESOL Agreement and return it to the NZIS within the time specified by the NZIS before a residence visa is issued or a residence permit is granted.

 

We offer our clients an online preparation course for the IELTS Test. Please contact us if you would like to receive further information.

 


 

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