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Deaf community to celebrate sign language bill

Media Release 5 April 2006 1 page

Deaf community gathering to celebrate sign language recognition

Tomorrow’s third reading in Parliament of a law recognising the status New Zealand Sign Language as an official language will be marked in Christchurch with a gathering at the Deaf Society of Canterbury centre in Armagh Street.

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend, from about 4.30pm at 232A Armagh Street.

Christchurch City Council information technology staff and disability advisor Karen Rickerby have assisted the society in supplying and setting up equipment to process and show internet webcast coverage and interpretation of the NZSL Bill’s final stage before it goes to the Governor General to be signed into law.

According to the Office for Disability Issues, about 28,000 New Zealanders use NZSL and there are at least 210,000 deaf or hearing impaired people in the country. Sign languages are not universal and NZSL is unique to New Zealand. Among other things, it includes signs that express concepts from Maori culture.

Work has been under way for about 20 years to have the language officially recognised.

- On Thursdays Parliament sits from 2-6pm. The NZSL Bill’s final reading is expected to begin around 5pm, following question time. Streamed coverage of the MPs speaking, the vote and simultaneous interpretation is being carried by R2. More information about this is at www.r2.co.nz/20060406/

- More information about the NZSL Bill is available at www.odi.govt.nz/what-we-do/

- The City Council’s assistance has been in the form of loaning equipment and providing expertise. Such assistance fits with the Community Outcome which aims for a City of Inclusive and Diverse Communities.

ENDS

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