Pre-1840              Māori is the predominant language of New Zealand. It is used extensively in social, religious, commercial and political interactions among Māori, and between Māori and Pākehā. Education provided by missionaries is conveyed in Māori.

1840       Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Māori is the predominant language of New Zealand.

1842       First Māori-language newspaper is published.

1850s     Pākehā population surpasses the Māori population. Māori becomes a minority language in New Zealand.

1858       First official census to collect data about Māori records a population of 56,049 Māori people.

1867       Native Schools Act decrees that English should be the only language used in the education of Māori children. The policy is later rigorously enforced.

1870s     Following the New Zealand wars, society divides into two distinct zones, the Māori zone and the Pākehā zone. Māori is the predominant language of the Māori zone.

1890s     Many Māori-language newspapers publish national and international news. Māori is the predominant language of the Māori zone.

1896       The Māori population, as recorded by official census, reaches its lowest point. A Māori population of 42,113 people is recorded.