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International Day of Sign Languages

The Government joins the New Zealand Deaf community in celebrating International Day of Sign Languages, the first day of the International Week of the Deaf each year.

“New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is an official language of New Zealand, it is a taonga for us all,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“The government is committed to maintaining and promoting the use of New Zealand sign language.

“Its use opens up social, cultural, educational and employment opportunities for Deaf people and affirms culture and identity.

“While celebrating the International Day of Sign Languages and our own New Zealand Sign Language I am also aware that there is still more to do and greater progress to be made.

“Today, let’s focus on celebrating sign languages internationally and in Aotearoa,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Minister Sepuloni would also like to recognise the international contributions made by New Zealanders:

• Mark Berry, who has been re-elected this year as President of the Youth Council of the World Federation of the Deaf.

• Victoria Manning who was recently appointed to the Executive Board of the World Federation of the Deaf

• Deaf Aotearoa which was acknowledged by the World Federation this year for its outstanding contributions over the last four years and for its achievements in promoting the human and linguistic rights of Deaf people and raising awareness of New Zealand Sign Language.

A NZSL video of this statement can be downloaded at this link

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