Sign Language - Term 4, 2020

Did You Know?

DHH – defining Deaf and Hard of Hearing students:  Deaf and Hard of Hearing refers to children and young people birth to 18 years of age (21 if still at school) identified with a bilateral or unilateral permanent hearing loss and/or Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder.

Why does "Deaf" have a capital letter?

Deaf is written with a capital letter when it refers to Deaf people who use NZSL to communicate.

Working with a New Zealand Sign Language Interpreter

Interpreters assist Deaf people and hearing people to communicate. It is important for hearing people and Deaf people to speak directly to each other. Do not bring the interpreter into the conversation because this goes against the interpreter’s code of ethical practice. Interpreting is intensive work, so interpreters need regular breaks. For longer meetings, two interpreters take turns to interpret, swapping every 20 minutes or so.


Learn Sign:

Place names in Aotearoa New Zealand

 Aotearoa, New Zealand      Auckland, Tāmakimakaurau


                          Pōneke             Wellington, Te Whanganui-a-Tara 


 Christchurch, Ōtautahi             Dunedin, Ōtepoti



Bringing a Community Together

Since we started this section of the newsletter, several teachers have contacted us wanting to know of others who might be teaching NZSL in Primary or Intermediate schools.
We would like to develop a community of teachers and support your efforts to expand NZSL.

If you would be interested in being part of this community and aren't already signed up to receive information about our workshops and events, then please click here to sign up and we will be in contact. Select the NZ Sign Language option and we will contact you with relevant information.

In 2021 we hope to offer a GROW programme that will focus on introducing NZSL to the Primary or Intermediate classroom. You may have already seen our advertising, so please sign up!


Secondary Schools to Start Mainstream NZSL Courses

Two schools in the Auckland region, Westlake Boys High School and Kelston Girls College, have started to put together plans to introduce NZSL as an option for students at Year 11 and Year 9 respectively.  

Kelston Girls College has one of Ko Taku Reo’s Deaf Provisions on site where DHH students already learn NZSL and are supported in their mainstream classes by specialist teachers of the Deaf.  All year 9 students will be able to take taster courses in NZSL from next year.

Westlake Boys High School has Deaf students enrolled in the school who are in mainstream classes and receive extra support from visiting Resource Teachers of the Deaf (RTD) and an NZSL tutor.  From 2021, there will be a class of hearing students doing NCEA level 1 in NZSL.

Teaching NZSL to hearing students expands opportunities for both Deaf and hearing students.  Expanding to the mainstream allows DHH students to communicate better with their peers and helps normalise NZSL as a mode of communication in the wider community.  

Article by Stephanie Mortimore, Facilitator, Future Learning Solutions-Centre for Languages