NZSL Board meeting March 2024

Board member Jaime Brown shares the latest board update.

  • The Board had its first full and productive meeting for the year, on 1 and 2 March.
  • We were delighted to meet the new staff members, Karen and Amanda. Board member David McKee taught Amanda NZSL for two years while she was at university, so it was nice to see them reconnecting again.
  • After a challenging year in 2023 for the Board and the team within Whaikaha, a focus of this Board meeting was to establish relationships with new team members and discuss expectations between the Board and Whaikaha.
  • The Board is pleased to see a number of process and information improvements, which will support us to do our job well. As part of this, we undertook a full audit of all of the actions that weren’t completed last year due to Whaikaha staff shortages, and determined how and when the actions will be progressed this year.
  • The Board discussed the opening of the Community Grants process this year. We requested Whaikaha to set up open Zoom meetings for the community to pop into to ask questions about their projects and the application process, if they want to.  Watch out for more information from Whaikaha about the timing of these zoom meetings.  Just a reminder, the community grants process opens on 11 March and closes in April.
  • The Board discussed the Chief Ombudsman’s opinion, released last week, following an investigation into concerns raised about the Ministry of Education’s strategy to progress NZSL in education. Education in NZSL for Deaf children is a key priority for the Board, as outlined in the NZSL Strategy, and we looking forward to working with the Ministry of Education on furthering this objective this year.  
  • The Board met with Ronelle Baker, the new Kaihautu - Chief Advisor Māori at Whaikaha. This was a good start to the Board’s relationship with Ronelle, as we will work closely together to progress opportunities and resolve issues relating to Turi Māori. Ronelle will be progressing work on the Māori Disability Action Plan (Whaia te ao Marama) this year, at the same time the Board is renewing its NZSL Strategy, so there will be some strong connections in our work.
  • On the topic of the NZSL Strategy, the Board had a good discussion mapping out our approach to the development of the new Strategy this year. We, like many of you, are disappointed that the amendments to the NZSL Act will not be going ahead.  This makes this year’s Strategy work crucial and we think taking our time to do it well will be important.  We have heard through several engagement processes with the community what really matters to Deaf people, Turi Māori and NZSL users, and we’ll be incorporating this information into the Strategy.  We plan to work with government agencies, stakeholders and our communities over the course of this year to develop the new Strategy. Watch out for an information release on the approach to the development of the Strategy coming soon.
  • Whaikaha has been in the process of setting up meetings with key stakeholders to discuss interpreter standards. The Board looks forward to hearing how this engagement goes.
  • Lastly, Whaikaha is recruiting for a new NZSL team manager. Two Board members will be on the recruitment panel. 
  • And by the time the Board meets again at our May meeting, we’re hoping that Cabinet will have approved the appointment of new Board members including a new Board Chair. We’re looking forward to building a strong Board team this year.