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Launch of e-book Hairy Maclary welcomed

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.

Ends

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