During the 1980s the Sign Singers from Auckland, and the Silent Singers from Christchurch dazzled hearing and Deaf audiences alike with their poetic renditions of popular songs. From humble origins performing at a fundraiser, to playing in front of 250 million people at the Commonwealth Games, the groups created a way for hearing society to connect with Deaf people and sign language like never before, and achieve incredible strides for Deaf awareness in New Zealand.

  • Storytelling/Performances
1986
video – Taonga source: Ngaire Doherty

A ‘Mime and Masks’ show by Deaf Drama Group: A Visit to Kiwiland

A Deaf Drama group perfoms 'A Visit to Kiwiland' at Kelston with supporting acts by the Sign Singers. The evening fundraised $766.00 towards the purchase of a TTY and to sponsor two pupils from Kelston to attend the World Deaf Games in Christchurch 1989.
Ngaire Doherty
1982
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Sign Singers: ‘Sailing’

The Sign Singers perform the hit song 'Sailing' broadcast on Stars on Sunday in May 1982. Ian Watkins, introduces the group by saying “…and I’m delighted to welcome back to the programme the deaf sign singers.”
Dulcie McKie
1990
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Journal: March 1990 (Vol. 4, No. 1)

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1981
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Sign Singers: ‘I Hear Your Hand’

The Sign Singers perform the song 'I Hear Your Hand' for the Stars on Sunday programme.
Dulcie McKie
1981
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Sign Singers perform Silent Night

The Sign Singers perform the famous carol 'Silent Night' for the Stars on Sunday programme.
Dulcie McKie
1982
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Sign Singers: ‘Oh What a Beautiful Day’

The Sign Singers perform 'Oh What a Beautiful Day' broadcast on Stars on Sunday in February 1983.
Dulcie McKie
1984
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Sign Singers perform on the ‘In South Tonight’ programme – Dunedin 1984

The Sign Singers tour the South Island for Deaf Awareness in 1984, and are invited to perform on ‘In South Tonight’ while in Dunedin.
Dulcie McKie
2015
video – Taonga source: Auckland Deaf Society

History through Young Eyes: Interview with Susie Ovens

A Tu Kokiri student interviews Susie Ovens on her involvement with the infamous Deaf Sign Singers group.
Auckland Deaf Society
1985
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Telethon 1985

The Sign Singers perform ‘You’re My Sunshine’ at the 1985 Telethon.
Dulcie McKie
1981
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Sign Singers at Telethon 1981

The popular Sign Singers are the first act to perform at the 1981 Telethon Live at the Auckland Town Hall.
Dulcie McKie
1984
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Sign Singers perform at Dunedin Deaf Club

The Sign Singers perform at the Dunedin Deaf Club in front of Deaf members and their friends.
Dulcie McKie
1983
publication – Taonga source: New Zealand Deaf News

NZ Deaf News: July 1983

1987
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Journal: June 1987 (Vol. 1, No. 2)

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1982
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Sign Singers: ‘Harmony’

The Sign Singers perform 'Harmony' broadcast on Stars on Sunday in February 1983. They are introduced in sign language, in one of the first examples of a non-Deaf person signing on prime time television.
Dulcie McKie
1984
publication – Taonga source: New Zealand Deaf News

NZ Deaf News: June 1984 (Vol. 21, No. 2)

1982
video – Taonga source: Dulcie McKie

Sign Singers: ‘Born Free’

The Sign Singers perform the song 'Born Free' broadcast on Stars on Sunday in June 1982.
Dulcie McKie
1988
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Journal: July 1988 (Vol. 2, No. 2)

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing