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10th anniversary of New Zealand Sign Language week

Hon Hekia Parata

Minister of Education

10 May 2016

10th anniversary of New Zealand Sign Language week

Education Minister Hekia Parata today met with the New Zealand Sign Language Advisory Group and the visiting World Federation of the Deaf Board to mark Sign Language Awareness Week.

“2016 marks 10 years since New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) became an official language of New Zealand and it is used on a daily basis by thousands of people,” says Ms Parata.

“This language is, like all languages, both functionally and culturally important, and we’re investing in a range of initiatives to make NZSL more accessible to deaf students and their parents and whanau.”

Those initiatives include the First Signs service which helps deaf pre-schoolers and their families to learn NZSL, NZSL@School which increases the opportunities for deaf children to use and learn NZSL in school, the development of electronic reading books that incorporate NZSL and the development of Level 1 and 2 NCEA Achievement Standards in NZSL.

Ms Parata says the visit to New Zealand by the World Federation of the Deaf is just the second in the history of the organisation which is recognised by the United Nations as the international spokes-organisation for the world’s approximately 70 million deaf people.

“The visit is an acknowledgement of the work being done in New Zealand to protect and promote the Deaf community’s, language and culture.

“In education we are working hard to support deaf children, their families and schools so that deaf children have access to NZSL and the same opportunities to succeed in education as other children and young people.”


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