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SignDNA is a not-for-profit initiative to preserve Deaf cultural history in New Zealand. While we have gratefully received support from grants and other sponsors, we still rely heavily on donations of time, materials, and, yes, cold hard cash to keep the archive wheels turning. There are many ways you can volunteer to help keep this archive alive and breathing.


Many of the valuable films are in boxes in someone’s attic, and risk being thrown away, or just being left to dissolve. Deaf history needs your help now to locate these films. If you have films you would like to donate, or you know of where a film might be that we can follow up on, please let us know.


While SignDNA is primarily a film archive, we recognise that over the years Deaf people have had far greater access to a photography camera than a film camera. We know that there are some fantastic photographs of Deaf history floating around in people’s collections. Therefore if you have photographs of Deaf people and events up to 1990 that you see featured in this archive, we would love to hear from you! For example do you have photographs of the first interpreter graduation in 1985? Or any of the Deaf club picnics in the 70s or 60s, or even 50s?! Adding photos to the video pages helps to give the archive another view of the events that have shaped our community and history. Please contact us for more information.

Publications – Magazines, Journals, Newsletters

SignDNA is particularly interested in national newsletters. The publications we are particularly interested at this time is:

  • New Zealand Deaf News (1963-1986)
  • NFD Journal (1987-1990)
  • NFD Communicate (1991-1999)
  • Deaf Education Aotearoa New Zealand journal (early 2000s)

We are also interested in other publications, such as Deaf Club newsletters. If there is any other publications you feel is relevant to the New Zealand Deaf community, please let SignDNA know!


SignDNA has started focusing on articles that are related to Deaf people in New Zealand, or to the Deaf community. We believe they add value to the archive, and would like to know if you have any articles of any kind, please let us know. We can either scan them, or if you already have a scanned version, please email them to us.


SignDNA has a stock of films and videos awaiting assessment, digitising, editing, processing, tagging and categorising, uploading and monitoring. While we have volunteers to undertake some of these tasks, many of them require resources to complete. We hope that SignDNA will be recognised as an archive of national importance and it is a fact of life that despite the hours of volunteering, goodwill and ingenuity, some things just cost money. The archive has hosting costs, site maintenance costs, digitisation costs, the list is long and would send you to sleep. So if you are able and feel so inclined, we would warmly welcome the donation of money to the SignDNA project. At this time we do not receive any state funding, and so anything and everything would be very gladly received. For now, if you wish to consider making a donation, please email us or donate directly to:

Deaf National Archive, BNZ, 02-0144-0286394-000


If you want to donate time to SignDNA, we would welcome your offer! There are still lots of things to do, and most of what we need is your time and commitment to help keep the archive alive. Have a look at the ‘How you can help’ menu for some ideas, or get in touch and we can discuss some options.

We can be contacted via archives@signdna.org