The New Zealand Association of the Deaf (NZAD) was formed in November 1977, with the slogan “Deafness – Let’s Face It.” Daniel Beech led the first inaugural meeting as chairman, and a committee was elected with Bruce McHattie as president.
The priorities of the NZAD were to gain more trained social workers for the Deaf, to encourage Deaf people to enter further education and to get captioned programmes onto television. There was only one social worker for the Deaf in the whole of New Zealand, and no sign language interpreters or captioned programmes.
The first field office was opened in Auckland in 1980. This was quickly followed by other offices in Christchurch and Wellington. Field officers were employed to support Deaf people in their daily lives.