The Board's Strategy 2018-2023

  • Both the Human Rights Commission report and recent NZSL research have highlighted the critical and ongoing need for effective language planning by the Board, government agencies and Crown entities.
  • Effective NZSL planning that is focused on enabling Deaf and other NZSL users to learn and use NZSL naturally within a community of users will contribute significantly to ensuring the survival, sustainability and vitality of NZSL. An additional focus on promotion activities will aim to increase recognition,
    awareness, acquisition and use of NZSL by New Zealanders.
  • The NZSL Board established a three-year action plan in 2016 to action the priorities charged to it by Cabinet (CAB SOC Min (14)9/7 ). However, a review in 2017 identified that this plan did not enable the Board to undertake an effective long-term approach and that the action plan priorities needed to better reflect minority language planning priorities.
  • To address this the Board undertook further research on language planning priorities and over the course of a year developed priorities for a NZSL Strategy to guide the Board’s work for the next five years.
  • This review also resulted in the needs of Māori Deaf people being incorporated within all of the five language planning priorities. This was seen as a more comprehensive approach than the prior action plan that identified the needs of Māori Deaf people as a standalone priority. The Board is also aware that there is little knowledge of the sign language needs of Pacific people in New Zealand. This is an issue that will need to be addressed as the Strategy is implemented.
  • The NZSL Strategy and the New Zealand Disability Strategy both contribute to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New Zealand. The two Strategies share an interface and complementary focus in highlighting the need to increase access to all domains of society for Deaf NZSL users. They emphasise that access to government services and information through NZSL is a key strategic priority for Deaf NZSL users.
  • The 2017 review showed that the Strategy needed to more clearly describe the language planning priorities for NZSL. Further research identified five internationally recognised language planning priorities that the Board has based this Strategy on (Hornberger, 2009).