NZSL Board Meeting Summary October 2022

The board met in person in Wellington for a two-day meeting at the end of October where several different topics were discussed.

  • The NZSL Board members met with Paula Tesoriero, the Chief Executive of Whaikaha and Minister Williams, Minister of Disability Issues. We appreciated this opportunity to discuss Deaf Education, Interpreters and access to public services for NZSL users

  • The Board met with the Ministry of Education to understand the Advisors of Deaf Children (AoDC) role, services and how the role supports the acquisition of NZSL for Deaf children. There was good discussion of the NZSL expectations for AoDC, measuring NZSL skills in Deaf Children and monitoring of the workforce

  • Earlier this year, there were face to face meetings with the NZSL Community across the country in 12 different cities to share information about the NZSL Community Survey. We are excited to announce that the NZSL Community survey final report is completed. The Board look forward to sharing the report with the community soon.
  • The NZSL Act Review consultation with the community was a valuable experience for everyone involved. The feedback received to date indicates that the Deaf community overall supports amending the NZSL Act to strengthen the strategic leadership of the Deaf community of NZSL.  However, we also recognise that there are many other issues that were not covered by the proposed changes.  The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) have worked in partnership with the NZSL Office within Whaikaha, and the NZSL Board to develop proposals to amend the NZSL Act to better align with the principles of the NZSL Strategy. 
  • The Board have developed a tikanga document to provide knowledge of the karakia protocols, visiting marae and including on how to write a pepeha. By having the document, it will support them to be more culturally responsive which they will use moving forward using the best practice.

  • The Board has received many requests for support. The Board discussed requests alongside the NZSL Strategy to identify the most important areas the Board can support with funding as strategic investments. 
  • The Board has funded NZSL week since 2015. NZSL week has been led and developed by Deaf Aotearoa since 2007.  NZSL week funding was aligned to the strategic priority of “Attitude”, raising awareness and knowledge of NZSL to hearing New Zealanders.
  • The Board will continue to invest in the promotion of NZSL with a new three-year contract from 2024 onwards.
    • The Board wants to see hearing people who have little or no knowledge of NZSL as the audience for this contract.
    • To further support hearing people, the Board has already contracted MergeNZ to provide free NZSL learning for people around the country
    • The Deaf community are also able to promote NZSL through applications to the NZSL Community Grants which are available every year. 

  • A representative from the NZSL Board has been selected to sit on the Ko Taku Reo Advisory Group. The Board are pleased to provide feedback on issues faced by Deaf children and the use of NZSL in Deaf education. 

  • Whaikaha, the Ministry of Disabled People is nearly 6 months old. Paula Tesoriero and the Minister for Disability Issues want the organisation to be named in NZSL as well as English and te reo Māori.  Soon, the Deaf and NZSL community will be invited to help choose the NZSL name for Whaikaha. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page (NZSL Board) and ODI website for more information.