Board meeting July 2019

The NZSL Board met on 8 and 9 July 2019 in which several topics were discussed. The meeting was chaired by ODI's director, Brian Coffey as the Board Chair had not been appointed. Board member Daniel Hanks provides us with an update.

A summary and update after each meeting will be filmed by different NZSL Board members.  This time, Dan Hanks won the 'flip of the coin'.

There has been a big change for the NZSL Board recently with all of the original establishment Board members stepping down after a four year term.  New Board members have been appointed after an application and selection process.  Each person was considered by a panel, including Deaf people, to look at skills, experience, gender balance and ensuring a majority of the Board are Deaf people.  Recommendations were approved by the Minister for Disability Issues.  Of the current Board members, three continued and are joined by five new members.  

The first meeting day was an induction for new members.  We discussed the Government context and how the NZSL Board fits into this structure.  Departing Board members were part of the induction, to help explain this information which was really helpful.  The new board members found this session valuable to get up to speed and to become confident with the work of the NZSL Board.

The second day focused on Governance to ensure that all Board members have a shared understanding of Board processes which will contribute to good Board meetings, including understanding that debates are a healthy as long as we have the same goal and agreed ways of working together.

The Board has two vacancies for Māori Deaf representation.  The NZSL Board are committed to working with the Māori Deaf community which will result in maintaining and promoting NZSL as the main responsibility of the Board.   Any decision making must be made with Māori Deaf involvement.  We recognise that there can be competing demands on Māori Deaf individuals and the wider community so the Board have contracted two people to work with the Māori Deaf community.  They will work together to look at the NZSL Strategy (2018-2023) goals and community priorities to develop a plan for we can work together.  We are hoping that two representatives will be identified to be nominated for the two Board vacancies.  The Board know that Māori Deaf involvement is critical so this project is very valuable.

The third day was focused on Board work.  Recently the Government announced an increase to the NZSL Fund to $1,695,000 from the Wellbeing budget.   The Board distribute funds in three ways.  Work might be done by ODI, contracts might be developed for work such as research.  Some contracts need to go through a procurement process, such as NZSL week.  Finally, funds can be given out through funding rounds.  The budget has been tight previously so the increased budget gives us more space to achieve more.  An analysis of the NZSL Fund, Rounds 1 - 5, has been completed to look at data, patterns and to see how the funds fit with the NZSL Strategy (2018-2023).  This information was useful and helped in discussions about NZSL Fund Round 6, which will open in August.

The Chair position on the Board was left vacant by a departing member.  This was discussed by the Board and a nomination was made for a new Chair.  Appointing the Chair position must follow Government processes, that ODI is now working on.  We hope that the appointment will be made by the end of August. An announcement will be made once the appointment is confirmed.   Finally the Board looked at the Sub-committees to clarify the purpose and assign new members.  A new sub-committee was established to look at Interpreter Standards or Register.

The feeling at the end of the Board meeting was positive.  Members felt motivated, supported and were focused on the language - NZSL.  To achieve can only be achieved by the Board working together with the community, setting up projects and distributing funds. 

If you want to know more about the NZSL Board, you can look at the ODI website where there are FAQ's with questions and answers. If your question is not there, please contact ODI who are the Secretariat for the NZSL Board.