The New Zealand Deaf community contains many leaders and many legends. The growing and vibrant community we have today owes a debt to a number of people, each with inspiring stories of dedication and service. SignDNA looks forward to bringing you more stories and biographies as the archive grows, and you too will have an opportunity to contribute your stories about the people from the Deaf community who have inspired you.

For now, due to time and resources, we can only select a limited number of these people to showcase. We have chosen those who have received formal recognition, either from the monarchy via a Queens Honour, or the Pope. SignDNA is sure you will agree that these individuals deserve to be first in line for the respect of the community for their outstanding efforts and commitment in making New Zealand a more equitable place for Deaf people.

For the many others who deserve recognition, we ask for your patience and we will do our best to ensure they are included in this section as soon as possible.

  1. Daniel ‘Danny’ Beech (Benemerenti Medal)

  2. Patrick Thompson (QSM)

  3. Anthony ‘Tony’ Walton (CNZM)

  4. Mary Johnson (MNZM)

  5. Lynette Pivac (MBE)

  6. Noeline ‘Patty’ Still (MNZM)

  7. Elizabeth ‘Maree’ Carroll (QSM)

  8. John Rua (Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal)

  9. Jennifer Brain (QSM)

  10. Stewart Smith (Coronation Medal)

  11. Hemi Hema (QSM)