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New Zealand Sign Language Week 2024: Celebrating "an Aotearoa Where Anyone Can Sign Anywhere"

 Deaf Aotearoa is delighted to announce the upcoming New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week, taking place from Monday 6th to Sunday 12th May. This year's theme, "an Aotearoa where anyone can sign anywhere," aims to inspire widespread adoption and celebration of NZSL throughout New Zealand.

Lachlan Keating, Chief Executive of Deaf Aotearoa, expressed excitement about this year's theme, stating, "this year, it’s about spreading the joy of NZSL to every corner of Aotearoa. We want to make NZSL a language for everyone, everywhere, from hikers in the South Island to fisherman out on the ocean in the upper North Island."

The theme for this year's NZSL Week is inspired by the vision of the World Federation of the Deaf, emphasising inclusivity and accessibility in communication.

Jon Tai-Rakena, who is Deaf and will be returning for a second year as the face of NZSL Week, shared his enthusiasm for the event, saying, "I'm passionate about teaching NZSL to everyone I meet. With dedication and passion, we can showcase the beauty of NZSL like never before. I'm honoured to continue as a Deaf hero for NZSL Week this year."

NZSL Week offers an opportunity for individuals of all backgrounds to learn and engage with this useful language. Whether it's through basic signs or more advanced communication, everyone is encouraged to participate in the celebration.

Some key points about NZSL highlighted for this year's event include:

· NZSL is easy to learn and fun to use, with practical applications for everyday life, from teaching communication to your baby to signing through a window at your kids outside.

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· NZSL became an official language in New Zealand in 2006, alongside Te Reo and English, and is one of only two native languages in the country.

· Approximately 4,600 Deaf people in New Zealand and 23,000 Kiwis regularly use NZSL, according to the 2018 NZ Census.

· NZSL is accessible to all children regardless of hearing levels, and it plays a vital role in the lives of Kiwi families with Deaf children and the wider Deaf community.

Visit for resources, challenges, and activities to make the week enjoyable and engaging for all Kiwis.

Follow Deaf Aotearoa:


Facebook: Deaf Aotearoa

Twitter: @Deaf_Aotearoa

Instagram: @deafaotearoa

Join the Conversation:

#NZSLWeek24 #HandsUp

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