Australia & New Zealand

National indigenous survey report

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. (2005). National indigenous languages survey report 2005. Canberra: Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA). (PDF file). This document is a current survey report of the status of aboriginal languages in Australia. Out of an original 250 known languages, 110 are considered endangered and 18 are “strong.” The report is a definitive source of official government information and statistics about Australian languages, language speakers, levels of use, linguistics policies, and recommendations for language preservation action. The PDF file is approximately 255 pages. The report was submitted to the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in association with the Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages. 

State of indigenous languages in Australia

McConvell, P. & Thieberger N. (2001). State of indigenous languages in Australia, 2001 (Australia State of the Environment Second Technical Paper Series, Natural and Cultural Heritage). Canberra: Department of the Environment and Heritage. This is a comprehensive report produced for the Department of Environment and Heritage on aboriginal languages in Australia. This is an important source of government research on language. Statistics, tables, maps, and analysis of trends along with strategies for preservation actions are included in the 120-page document.

 Australian Bureau of Statistics

Statistics about speakers of aboriginal languages are gathered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Language data can be found by searching the Census website by topic (i.e., “indigenous culture”). Tables are available that detail the number of speakers of each language, language classification standards, and the overall health of the language for the future. In addition, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2002 (Publication 4714.0) includes information about the prevalence of native languages in Australia. is designed as a portal “to resources, contacts, information, and government programs and services for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.” Links to language resources are included, such as government documents and collections of indigenous language information. In addition, a wide range of documents such as fact sheets, articles, literature, and policy documents can be accessed. This source is recommended with the caveat that the website appears to be under development and has some broken hyperlinks. However, it is still an important government source of information about the endangered languages of Australian.

Maori Language Commission

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Maori Language Commission) of New Zealand is a government body that oversees the revitalization of the Maori language through its integration into everyday life in New Zealand. The agency’s activities include linguistic research and documentation, development of standards and policies, and implementation of community programs and initiatives. Information available on the website includes language learning resources, official publications (including reports and newsletters), and detailed descriptions of the Maori language and its history. The site is available in Maori and English.

Statistics New Zealand

The language section of the Statistics New Zealand website features three reports and two Census datasets that detail the state of Maori language in New Zealand. This data is an essential source of government information about Maori language.

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