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Launch of e-book Hairy Maclary

Tariana Turia

16 MAY, 2014

Minister Turia congratulates Deaf Aotearoa on the launch of e-book Hairy Maclary during New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week

Minister for Disability Issues Tariana Turia congratulates Deaf Aotearoa today on the launch of e-book Hairy Maclary during New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week. The new e-book is a translation of the much-loved story of Hairy Maclary into New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) and was developed by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with Deaf Aotearoa. It is the first digital resource of its kind.

The launch was held at Shirley First Learners in Christchurch who last year won the inaugural Deaf Aotearoa Award for New Zealand Sign Language in School. This year the centre is a finalist for the 2014 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Award for Excellence in Leading.

“It is a wonderful resource for youngsters. It gives all readers the opportunity to engage in Dame Lynley Dodd’s much-loved story,” says Mrs Turia.

The e-book features video and sound and has been designed to use at home and in education settings to support early language development. It also gives hearing families and children the opportunity to share in NZSL alongside deaf children.

Mrs Turia says the e-book shows the wider New Zealand public how NZSL can be used and enjoyed in everyday life.

“I think we would all agree that sitting down with a child and sharing a story is one of life’s greatest pleasures – and now we can do that and enjoy NZSL at the same time.

“This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when government and community agencies work together to make New Zealand a more inclusive society for children with disabilities.

“I’m sure this is exactly the sort of thing the Human Rights Commission had in mind when it published the report, A New Era in the Right to Sign, in September last year.

“I launched that report and it is heartening to see the Ministry of Education respond so positively to its recommendations.

“I commend Deaf Aotearoa and the Ministry of Education for their efforts. I would also like to thank author Dame Lynley Dodd and her publishers Penguin for supporting this e-book initiative and Kiwa Digital for their development work,” says Mrs Turia.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week, Te Wiki o Te Reo Turi

When is NZSL Week?

This year NZSL Week is being held between 12 – 18 May to celebrate one of the country's official languages, New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).

Who organises it?

NZSL Week is coordinated every year by Deaf Aotearoa.

Who is Deaf Aotearoa?

Deaf Aotearoa is a Deaf-led, not-for-profit organisation that provides services to Deaf people. They also work with government agencies, businesses and other organisations to provide information and resources on life for Deaf New Zealanders, the Deaf community and NZSL.

What is the purpose of NZSL Week?

It has several key aims:

• to help promote the language

• raise awareness about New Zealand’s Deaf community

• raise awareness about the issues/challenges its members face each day

• provide the Deaf Community will an opportunity to stand proud and promote their language and culture.

Where can I find out more about what’s on?

Check out Deaf Aotearoa’s website. Go to: http://www.deaf.org.nz/nz-sign-language

What else is the Ministry of Education doing to support NZSL?

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education set up an NZSL Sector Advisory Group to support the Ministry to develop its response to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) report, A New Era in the Right to Sign, published in September 2013.

The Sector Advisory Group, led by Secretary for Education Peter Hughes, includes representatives from the deaf community (including Deaf Aotearoa), parents of deaf children and the education sector.

Some of the long term aims of the Group’s work programme are for:

• Deaf children to start school with the same ability in NZSL or spoken language skills as their hearing peers

• Deaf young people to achieve NCEA qualifications at similar levels and their peers

• Deaf children and young adults to leave school secure and confident in who they are.

Where can I get a copy of the e-book?

Download the Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy app from either iTunes or Google Play, pay $6.49.

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