Bill English: Numbers man, but not in Māori

Bill English has admitted he can't count to 10 in te reo Māori.

Appearing on The AM Show on Monday at the start of Māori Language Week, the Prime Minister said he can speak "a whole lot of words. Bits and pieces, you know."

Though he can't count to 10, Mr English is no slacker when it comes to Māori. At Ratana Pa in January he spoke for three minutes, without notes, in fluent Te Reo.

"I think it's important when you're going into a formal Māori situation that you show some respect for the language," he said at the time.

"I don't know a whole lot; I can understand roughly about half of what's said, and I can use some of it."

AM Show host Duncan Garner said he'll test the Prime Minister on his counting skills when he comes back on the show in a week's time. Mr English said he'll be ready.

"The other day some kids gave me a counting kit as part of their young enterprise scheme. They said to me, 'Prime Minister, here is the kit that will help you learn how to count to 10 in Māori.'"

There will be a parade in Wellington on Monday at 11am to mark the start of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.