The size of a Maori family ranges from one to 500 people, in a new approach that has family members saying how many people are in their wider family rather than just their household, according to a pilot study.
The pilot, carried out this year, will form part of the Te Kupenga survey of 5000 Maori people next year.
Deputy Government statistician Vince Galvin said it was important to stress the pilot study is not representative of the whole population, but was instead used to identify how useful information would be gathered for the full survey next year.
"What we've found in our pilot group is that while some people believe their whanau is around the size of what people might think of as a nuclear family, others see their whanau as having 50, 100, or even 500 people.
"The results are far from conclusive, but they indicate what we can learn about whanau if we try different things. We can understand the average size of whanau, how broadly Maori define whanau, and how many Maori include non-blood relatives in their whanau."
Individuals will be asked a range of questions relating to their wellbeing and their family - including who they think their family is, who is in their family and the size of their family.