New Zealand Sign Language Week

Issue: Volume 96, Number 6

Posted: 10 April 2017
Reference #: 1H9d7C

Each May, Deaf Aotearoa runs New Zealand Sign Language Week, celebrating one of New Zealand’s official languages. NZSL Week raises awareness of New Zealand’s Deaf community and provides a platform for Deaf people to proudly promote their language and culture. This year, NZSL Week will be held from May 8–14.

NZSL Week helps promote the language and raises awareness about New Zealand’s Deaf community.


It also provides the Deaf community a chance to put their hands up and be heard, and to stand proud as Deaf as well as promoting their language and culture.

NZSL Week is always a busy and exciting time and this year is no different.

This year, NZSL Week will run from May 8–14, with a range of activities on offer around the country.

Hundreds of free Taster Classes and dozens of events are being held all over New Zealand, with exciting and engaging resources always available online.

Taster classes

This year, Deaf Aotearoa is again offering taster classes for early childhood education services and for secondary and primary schools and kura. You can register now to receive a Taster Class at a time during term two.

Businesses, organisations and other groups can register now to have a Taster Class any time in May.

These free classes run for 45 minutes and introduce students to signs that can be used every day. Deaf Aotearoa staff will come to the school or organisation to deliver the workshop, so no travel is required.

For those who have had a class in previous years, Deaf Aotearoa and the Ministry of Education are encouraging teachers and students to take the next step and learn some more NZSL.
For inspiration, read about Freyberg High School’s first NCEA-level NZSL class for hearing students by visiting the Stuff website(external link) 

To register for a Taster Class and for more information including downloadable resources visit the NZSL week website(external link) 

What is NZSL?

NZSL is the natural language of Deaf New Zealanders and is used daily by more than 20,000 Kiwis. Rather than simply being a signed representation of spoken English, NZSL is a separate language with its own structure and grammar.

What does deaf Aotearoa do?

Deaf Aotearoa is a national organisation representing the voice of Deaf people, and the national service provider for Deaf people in New Zealand. Deaf Aotearoa also works closely with Deaf communities, government agencies and other organisations to increase awareness, promote NZSL and strengthen the rights of Deaf people. Deaf Aotearoa is the New Zealand representative member of the World Federation of the Deaf and one of 133 members. For more information, visit the deaf Aotearoa website.(external link)

The faces of NZSL week 2017

This year’s faces of NZSL Week, Monique, Joe, Chelcie and Miggy, represent the focus of NZSL Week 2017 – youth.

They are all youth interns at Deaf Aotearoa, spending 12 months gaining work experience, skills and a qualification. Based in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, Monique, Joe, Chelcie and Miggy demonstrate NZSL’s bright future with young Deaf people.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 7:01 PM, 10 April 2017

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