Deaf View conferences

The series of national Deaf View conferences have been organised by Deaf people in New Zealand spanning three decades. Each conference has successfully created a platform for better awareness and understanding of Deaf culture and NZSL language; and nurturing links for a stronger Deaf community at a local, national and international level. They also celebrated the rich achievements and diversity of the Deaf community over the past 30 years as well as often pointing the way forwards, for a better resourced and more empowered Deaf community.

Deaf View Conference, Auckland 1991

The opening of the 1991 Deaf View 1 conference at Kelston Deaf Education Centre.

Deaf View was the first Deaf-led conference for Deaf people, held in Auckland in November 1991 at the Kelston Deaf Education Centre. The conference was organised between NZAD, KDEC, and volunteers, with the aim of recognising not only Deaf culture and the community that was quickly becoming more proud of it, but also the many achievements that had taken place in the preceding years. Indeed the 1970s and 1980s had seen huge strides forwards for the Deaf community in New Zealand and the Deaf View conference was the perfect forum for this to be recognised.

The first Deaf View Conference was envisioned as an event that would highlight Deaf arts, as well as speakers discussing a range of topics. The official conference theme was “Deaf culture and identity”. Breda Carty, a Deaf academic from Brisbane, gave the keynote address on the topic of “The Importance of Recognising Deaf Culture”. There were other presentations and workshops on topics such as interpreting, leadership training, social work, counselling, as well as a Deaf youth forum.

Clearly it was a landmark conference for the Deaf community, in both demonstrating that Deaf topics had a place at a conference, and in raising the status of NZSL and Deaf culture.  Among its many breakthroughs, it was the first time a conference had been opened with a powhiri performed by Maori Deaf. The conference was considered a great success by attendees, and it was agreed that efforts should be made to make the conference a regular event. However it was thirteen years before the second Deaf View conference was held in Auckland in 2004.

Deaf View 2 Conference - Auckland 2004

Deaf View 2 was held in Auckland at the Waipuna Hotel conference venue in July 2004. The theme was “Together We Prosper – The Way Forward”

Despite the long wait since the first Deaf View conference, the event picked up were the first conference had ended, with presentations and workshops again aiming to recognise the achievements over the past decade, but also starting to discuss ideas for future development and advancement.

Breda Carty was again the keynote presenter, joined by Tessa Padden from the UK. In addition there were a wide range of papers and workshops presented by Deaf and hearing people and organisations, covering key topics in Deaf and Maori culture, linguistics, education, employment, health, interpreting, history, technology and youth.

A Deaf short film festival showcased a number of short films made by local Deaf film-makers and actors.

Deaf View 3 - Wellington 2013

The third Deaf View conference was held out of Auckland for the first time, hosted in Wellington at the Intercontinental Hotel on the 8th – 10th March 2013. Organised by a local committee, the event was a celebration and a showcase for the best aspects of Deaf culture and community life and ideas.

The aims for the event from the organisers stated:

“This Deaf View conference is an opportunity for the NZ Deaf community to come together to reflect on our progress, current issues and future directions. It will provide a space to discuss our NZ Deaf community journey – our history, our current challenges and opportunities to ensure a strong NZ Deaf community into the future.

The conference theme is: “Deaf View 3: Our Changing Community”

We aim to make an exciting conference programme that will show the depth and diversity of knowledge, skills and creativity in the Deaf community. We are pleased to have two international keynote presenters joining us: Colin Allen, World Federation of the Deaf President and Breda Carty, a well-known Deaf history researcher and a lecturer in Special Education.

The Deaf View 3 Conference will also include the Deaf Short Film Festival. Take time out from workshops and be wowed by Deaf films produced, directed and acted by members of our Deaf community”.