Round 5 recipients

Round 5 of the contestable process for community-driven initiatives was open from December 2018 to February 2019. The theme for Round 5 was ‘Creative Connections’.

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Round 5 of the contestable process for community-driven initiatives was open from December 2018 to February 2019. The theme for Round 5 was ‘Creative Connections’.


The NZSL Board considered the 24 applications received and recommended 11 for approval by the Minister for Disability Issues, Hon Carmel Sepuloni. The grants total $363,204.23 for the 2018/19 financial year. This compares with thirteen grants, totalling $441,338.75, approved in 2018/19. The NZSL Fund also supports a range NZSL Board strategic initiatives. These include standards for NZSL interpreters, further development of a national NZSL curriculum and resources to support adults to learn NZSL.

Successful recipients

NZSL recipes online [Deaf Wellbeing Society Incorporated, $47,432]

This will expand the current weekly recipes presented in NZSL online with Deaf co-presenters celebrating our Deaf multicultural community through culturally significant recipes and food. Deaf viewers can discuss in NZSL with family and friends what they have seen. Deaf children can talk about the video at home, trying out meals at home with their whānau. 

NZ Deaf Film Festival 2020 [NZ Deaf Film Incorporated, $30,000]

The Board recognised the strong commitment and voluntary hours spent promoting film as a medium for the Deaf community. The biennial New Zealand Deaf Film Festival will be held in conjunction with the 2020 New Zealand Deaf Games, helping the event reache a broad audience.

Deaf Youth: Our Future, our Voices [Attitude Pictures Ltd, $30,000]

By following our Kiwi delegate and Mark Berry to the World Federation of the Deaf 2019 World Congress in Paris and related events this project will create a Youth Video Series that encourages the New Zealand Deaf youth community to see themselves as global citizens; developing connections between them and the international Deaf community.

Creative Connections for the water-cooler:  Deaf Edition 2.0 [The Water-Cooler, $5,002.30]

A second Deaf Edition of the Water Cooler, a live monthly storytelling event, will provide a platform for stories from Deaf Youth NZSL users, specifically for the Deaf community. The event will champion Deaf people’s experiences, stories and culture, all in NZSL.

Virtual library - NZSL Children books [Kara Technologies Ltd, $74,095]

Artificial-Intelligence-powered, 3D human interpreters who can translate content into NZSL automatically will be used to provide access to educational content, as well as other services such as Health and Safety briefings. A pilot involving a partnership with Kelston and Van Asch Deaf Education Centres to translate 5 children’s books into NZSL will test the potential role of signing avatars in improving accessibility and learning opportunities in NZSL for young Deaf children. At least one book will be in Te Reo Māori.

Watch Us [Deaf Action NZ, $14,114.93]

Live-streamed Watch Us webinar presentation events by Deaf leaders on a topic related to NZSL, Deaf Culture or Deaf Identity will be structured in a way to enable groups to explore the topic presented. At least one will focus on Māori Deaf people.

Educational NZSL glossary [Deaf Education Centres, $40,000]

Expanding the glossary of NZSL used in education will help Deaf children and young people to learn and acquire NSZL at age-appropriate levels throughout their education and to have a standard lexicon to discuss their work with their peers, parents, whānau and educators. It will give Deaf students who use NZSL full, equitable access to subjects that provide future career opportunities, and also contribute to intergenerational transmission of NZSL within the Deaf community. Including te Reo Māori will give access to te Ao Māori, alongside NZSL and English. A robust process will ensure the quality of sign choices and presentation will meet requirements for eventual inclusion on the NZSL Online Dictionary.

Camp Carey Park 2020 [Auckland Parents of Deaf Children, $10,000]

This biennial camp for families with a deaf child will support the social and emotional wellbeing of Deaf young people by providing opportunities for early language development and connection to the Deaf community; contributing to relationship building within families and with peers. A dynamic mix of learner and fluent signers, including CODA’s, deaf children, parents, community members, Māori Deaf, Deaf youth mentors, and sign language interpreters, can inspire a drive to learn NZSL among families.

High School Summer Camp [Deaf Education Centres, $57,560]

This is the third of these camps addressing the social isolation of Deaf high school students in New Zealand. Inspirational Deaf leaders create opportunities for students to meet, to be exposed to NZSL, and to be in a Deaf space where they feel accepted, safe and supported. This can strengthen identity, self-confidence and willingness to try out new experiences, enhance hauora (wellbeing), and expand connections to the Deaf and Māori Deaf communities. It will also raise awareness of services and resources such as Deaf Aotearoa, Deaf Schools, Deaf Sports, NZ Relay, Deaf Studies, and the NZ Deaf Short Film Festival.

New Pathway to Inclusion pilot [Auckland Deaf Society, $25,000]

Two one-week school holiday programmes for primary and intermediate aged children, in collaboration with Kelston Deaf Education Centre, will help strengthen bonds between Deaf children and with their siblings, comfort within Deaf spaces. Each programme will include: NZSL games, stories and activities with a qualified NZSL tutor; art, craft, baking, and other creative pursuits; physical play, team building and problem solving; drama, film making, creative movement and expression; and an excursion/adventure.

Deaf View 4 Conference [Deaf View 4 Conference, $30,000]

This 3-day, Deaf-led national conference for the NZSL community will have a key theme of ‘Deaf Viva’: exploring and celebrating how Deaf people live, work, play and learn in the wider community. It will bring together NZSL community members from all walks of life: grassroots, Māori, Pacific Peoples, Asian and LGBT, and include Deaf youth, families, interpreters, educators, counsellors, social workers, researchers and NZSL students. It will run in conjunction with three community events: Deafecosystem Expo, Deaf Creative Arts and SignDNA.

Other initiatives supported in the 2018/19 financial year

NZSL funding has also been allocated to activities designed to progress the priorities of the NZSL Strategy 2018-23. The detail for some of these has yet to be negotiated and the costs yet to be confirmed.

Continuing work from previous years

NZSL curriculum resource development [MergeNZ - Level One: $79,546; and Create NZSL - Level Two: $80,120]

Work continues for developing NZSL teaching curriculum resources to support adult NZSL learners across New Zealand. This includes development of teaching resources such as Powerpoint vidoes, homework sheets and kits for delivering ‘Deaf Deaf World’ events.

Strengthening the teaching of NZSL [New Zealand Sign Language Teachers Association $25,000 and $26,071]

Work also continues on projects to strengthen curriculum, resources, professional development, the NZSL teaching system, and NZSLTA infrastructure. This includes a national hui for NZSL Teachers and Assessors.

Technical maintenance of the Online NZSL Dictionary

Continued support for the technical maintenance of the Online NZSL Dictionary, covering a part-time database manager and programming support including software and website maintenance [Deaf Studies Unit of Victoria University of Wellington, $74,645]

Freshly commissioned work

NZSL Week 2019 [Deaf Aotearoa Holding Limited, $300,000]

The NZSL Board contributed to this year’s NZSL Week to support the promotion of NZSL including a national media campaign, NZSL Taster Classes and local initiatives led by Deaf communities across New Zealand. Work has recently started on an open tender process to commission a three-year contract for NZSL Week from 2020-22.

Governance training [Two governance facilitators, $6,898]

Expert advice was sought to support the efficient and transparent operation of the NZSL Board.