New Zealand Deaf Games

New Zealand Deaf Games (formerly the New Zealand Deaf Societies Convention until 1970, when it begun to be called the New Zealand Convention of the Deaf, then the New Zealand Games for the Deaf). Traditionally held in October during Labour Weekend since 1949, the Games have been and continue to be a great opportunity for generations of Deaf New Zealanders to meet, socialise, exchange information and to keep New Zealand Sign Language alive.

Small Beginnings, Fast Growth

The table tennis teams at the 1951 NZ Deaf Societies Convention, Wellington. Back: Wellington Deaf Society team. Middle: Auckland Deaf Society team. Front: Christchurch Deaf Club team.

Back in 1949, the New Zealand Deaf Societies Convention was formed with only one sport, table tennis. Basketball joined the Convention in 1951, with Athletics joining in 1952 and more Deaf societies took part in these three sports.

The story behind the trophies....

The story behind the Games' trophies, as described in the NZ Deaf News, 1964-65 (Vol. 2, No. 2)

The Aotearoa Turi Shield was awarded to the Deaf Club or Deaf Society with the team who has secured the most points in the whole of the Games. This changed in 2001 when Deaf Societies from smaller cities were not able to send teams to the New Zealand Deaf Games. It was decided that the Deaf Games and Shield would be contested through the 3 Regional Zones.

Can also be found in

  1. 1971
    Donated by Manawatu Deaf Society Image of Manawatu Deaf Society

    16th Annual NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Christchurch

    The Manawatu Deaf Club Athletic Team practice with coach Keith Gordon. This footage covers the athletic training session.

  2. 1952
    Donated by Auckland Deaf Society Image of Auckland Deaf Society

    Arriving for the Deaf Sports Convention in Auckland 1952

    Members of the Auckland Deaf community welcome friends and competitors from nationwide for the annual Deaf Sports Convention in Auckland 1952, and take a trip into Auckland City.

  3. 1958
    Donated by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Image of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

    Deaf Societies Sports Convention, Wellington 1958

    Deaf Aucklanders make their way down to Wellington in a van for the Labour Weekend sports. Stopping on the way, they prepare for a day of sports and socialising.

  4. 1979
    Donated by Sue Penman Image of Sue Penman

    NZ Deaf Sport Convention, Christchurch 1979

    Scenes from NZ Deaf Sport Convention in Christchurch 1979, with sports such as shot-put and athletics, including some impressive sprinting and middle distance running.

  5. 1955
    Donated by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Image of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention 1955 - Christchurch

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention is held at Rugby Park, Christchurch in 1955.

  6. 1953
    Donated by Auckland Deaf Society Image of Auckland Deaf Society

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention Christchurch 1953

    The 1953 New New Zealand Deaf Sports Convention is held in Christchurch, with sports, fun, and day trips.

  7. 1981
    Donated by Manawatu Deaf Society Image of Manawatu Deaf Society

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention Palmerston North 1981

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention hosted by Manawatu Deaf Club in Palmerston North, 1981.

  8. 1975
    Donated by Sue Penman Image of Sue Penman

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Christchurch 1975

    The Deaf community gather in Christchurch for the NZ Deaf Sports Convention in Labour Weekend, 1975.

  9. 1979
    Donated by Dennis Tod Image of Dennis Tod

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Christchurch 1979 - Netball

    Coverage of the Netball tournament at the NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Christchurch 1979.

  10. 1977
    Donated by Dennis Tod Image of Dennis Tod

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Lower Hutt 1977

    Coverage of the Labour Weekend NZ Deaf Sports Convention at Lower Hutt, Wellington in 1977.

  11. 1983
    Donated by Sue Penman Image of Sue Penman

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Dunedin 1983

    A good crowd gathers to the deep south, Dunedin for the NZ Deaf Sports Convention in 1983.

  12. 1976
    Donated by Sue Penman Image of Sue Penman

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Palmerston North 1976

    The Christchurch team travel to Palmerston North for the NZ Deaf Sports Convention on Labour Weekend, 1976.

  13. 1976
    Donated by Manawatu Deaf Society Image of Manawatu Deaf Society

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Palmerston North 1976

    Footage from the sports, meeting, and socialising at the 21st NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Palmerston North 1976.

  14. 1981
    Donated by Sue Penman Image of Sue Penman

    NZ Deaf Sports Convention, Palmerston North 1981

    Interesting footage of the NZ Deaf Sports Convention in Palmerston North, 1981, filmed by Sue Penman.

  15. 1955
    Donated by Auckland Deaf Society Image of Auckland Deaf Society

    Sports Convention picnic at Motukarara, 1955

    During the 1955 Sports Convention hosted in Christchurch, a picnic is held at Motukarara, by Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury.

  16. 1956
    Donated by Auckland Deaf Society Image of Auckland Deaf Society

    Sports Convention: Trip to Motuihe Domain

    During the Sports Convention, Deaf people travel to Motuihe Domain, on Motuihe Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, for a picnic.

  17. 1951
    Donated by Auckland Deaf Society Image of Auckland Deaf Society

    Travelling to Wellington for NZ Deaf Sports Convention, 1951

    A group of Auckland Deaf travel to and from Wellington for the New Zealand Deaf Sports Convention during Labour Weekend, 1951.

  18. 1954
    Donated by Owen Gibbons Image of Owen Gibbons

    Socialising at Labour Weekend Wellington 1954

    Athletes and spectators take a day out from the sporting competition to have fun in Wellington, 1954.

  19. 1984
    Donated by Television New Zealand Archive Image of Television New Zealand Archive

    National Sports Convention for the Deaf in Auckland 1984

    Jane Dent reports on the National Sports Convention for the Deaf held in Auckland during Labour Weekend in 1984. The footage screened on the 6:30pm news on Saturday 20 October 1984.

  20. 1989
    Donated by Rodney Roberts Image of Rodney Roberts

    New Zealand Deaf Games in Wellington 1989

    Coverage from the New Zealand Deaf Games in Wellington 1989, including athletics, long jump, discus, shot-put. The men’s basketball final saw Wellington competing against Christchurch, followed by a closing awards ceremony.

  21. 1990
    Donated by Jeff Went Image of Jeff Went

    Prizegiving evening: 34th NZ Games for the Deaf (Auckland)

    The 34th New Zealand Games for the Deaf, hosted by Auckland, concludes with a prizegiving and social evening at Auckland Deaf Society 1990.