1985
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

First sign language interpreting course

An insight into the teaching and learning of those involved in the first sign language interpreting course in New Zealand 1985.
Television New Zealand Archive
1984
article – Taonga source: Unknown

Friends of the Deaf Inaugural General Meeting

An advertisement for the inaugural general meeting of the Friends of the Deaf (Wellington Region). The guest speaker will be Marianne Ahlgren, speaking on NZ Sign Language.
2006
publication – Taonga source: Oticon Foundation

Soundscape: February 2006

Oticon Foundation
1989
article – Taonga source: Unknown

Deaf angry at threat facing News Review

Deaf people are angered and disappointed by the threat facing the TV show News Review.
1993
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

Spotlight on Pasifika Deaf

Tangata Pasifika visits Kelston Deaf Education Centre and meets with a number of Pasifika Deaf students part of the school’s transition programme, interviewing Rosie Amituanai and her family.
Television New Zealand Archive
1992
article – Taonga source: Victoria News, Victoria University of Wellington

Dictionary for the language of the deaf

Nearly quarter of a million dollars in sponsorship has been raised for the NZSL dictionary, a joint effort by the University and the New Zealand Association of the Deaf.
1994
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: March 1994

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1987
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

‘Deaf Book’: First NZSL dictionary makes it to print

Dan Levitt’s work on the first NZSL dictionary in 1985 popularised the name, ‘New Zealand Sign Language’. In this news segment, Dan describes the different between the English Signing System and NZSL.
Television New Zealand Archive
1991
article – Taonga source: Unknown

Signs break the ice

Lower Hutt's Myra Sullivan showing hearing people how to use sign language at a workshop for the deaf held at Wellington College of Education yesterday.
1991
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: December 1991

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1997
article – Taonga source: NZ Herald

Art of surviving in silence

An interview with Abbie Twiss on World Deaf Awareness Day, and the start of New Zealand's National Deaf Awareness Week. Here, Abbie looks out from her Elam studio. "My thoughts go much faster than I can write." 
1994
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

NZ gets 8 more NZSL interpreters from the first AIT Diploma class

The first graduates of the Diploma in NZSL Interpreting course will start working in the community, enabling Deaf people to achieve their rights to access a range of settings and services.
Television New Zealand Archive
1993
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

Work starts on the modern NZSL dictionary

A look behind the scenes at the team creating the modern NZSL dictionary including interviews with Kevin Stokes and Graeme Kennedy.
Television New Zealand Archive
1998
video – Taonga source: Deaf Aotearoa

‘Inside Out’ interviews Hilary McCormack: Deaf education, advocacy and technology

An ‘Inside Out’ interview with Hilary McCormack where she talks about the advent of NZSL in Deaf education, advocacy and changing technology in the New Zealand Deaf community.
Deaf Aotearoa
2000
video – Taonga source: AUT Visual Languages Section

Memories of Ivan and Hilda Tamepo

In an open and touching interview, Ivan and Hilda tell their tales of growing up in New Zealand, and look back on photos from their deaf schooling years.
AUT Visual Languages Section
2020
article – Taonga source: Stuff

I feel included’: How press briefings with NZSL are making a difference

For many people in the Deaf community, the coronavirus pandemic was the most they had ever seen their language on television. But its meant more than simply accessing information – it includes the Deaf community in conversations.
Stuff
1993
article – Taonga source: City Voice

Deaf viewers ask for a hand

People who can hear as well as see 'Reasonable Doubts' (TV3, 9.50pm Saturdays) might be surprised to learn that Deaf New Zealanders can understand deaf lawyer Tessa Kaufman’s sign language little better than they can. ASL, used by Deaf actor Marlee Matlin, is a foreign language here. My Deaf friends give it the thumbs up. But the failure of television in New Zealand to provide anything in NZSL is described as “a running sore” by Hilary McCormack.
1989
article – Taonga source: Unknown

Sign language boost

Research on the complex sign language that deaf New Zealanders have created could push education authorities to recognise the language's authenticity. It has taken an American linguist to document the distinctive language.
1985
article – Taonga source: Unknown

Ready to lend helping hands to deaf

The class of eight graduates tonight after four months' study learning the variety of sign language used by New Zealand deaf people.
2005
video – Taonga source: AUT Visual Languages Section

Toa Anga Whati Māori

Māori TV's 'Toa Anga Whati Māori' profiles the Deaf Association of New Zealand on its weekly program, interviewing a series of Deaf people in sports (golf, touch rugby, rugby) before touching upon the job of a Deaf Awareness Officer who delivers training throughout New Zealand.
AUT Visual Languages Section
2022
article – Taonga source: Stuff

Deaf community to be consulted on NZSL Act but advocate fears they will be ignored

The first NZSL-led consultation to amend current legislation has opened, but advocates fear their advice will be ignored.
Stuff
1997
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

The modern NZSL dictionary is launched

The modern dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language has been launched, and the 'Tonight' crew visit Kelston Deaf Education Centre to see Deaf students and their NZSL tutors making good use of the resource.
Television New Zealand Archive
1999
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: Winter 1999

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1997
article – Taonga source: The Evening Post

First NZ sign language dictionary

'Wellington' and 'All Black' are just two of hundreds of familiar Kiwi terms – such as Milo, Weetbix, pakeha, Maori and marae – described in A Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language to ve released next week.
2019
video – Taonga source: Merge NZ

Interview: Jamie Brown from Merge NZ talks about the impacts and benefits of learning NZSL

Jaime Brown, Merge NZ Co-Director, learned NZSL and didn't just find a language, but a community and a passion. Seecus talks to Jaime about the impacts NZSL has had for her and the benefits of learning sign language.
Merge NZ
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
1993
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: September 1993

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
2006
video – Taonga source: Ko Taku Reo, Deaf Education New Zealand

NZSL becomes an official language of New Zealand

On 6th April 2006, members of the Deaf community and supporters gathered on the steps of parliament to celebrate the NZSL Bill passing its Third Reading, becoming the NZSL Act (2006). This marked the end of a long journey to give NZSL official status in Aotearoa New Zealand. This footage was screened on TV3 that evening.
Ko Taku Reo, Deaf Education New Zealand
2023
article – Taonga source: NZ Herald.

Whaikaha the first ministry with a name in all of NZ’s official languages

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People has become the first and only government ministry with a name in all three of New Zealand’s official languages.
NZ Herald.
2018
article – Taonga source: Stuff

An ‘inspirational’ deaf teacher is teaching sign language to hearing toddlers

One deaf teacher in south Auckland has inspired several toddlers and their parents to learn sign language.
Stuff
2014
article – Taonga source: The Dominion

Fewer Kiwis can use sign language

James Whale can speak as well as any 5-year old but sometimes he lets his hand do the talking. The Wellington boy and his family are among the dwindling number of Kiwis who can use NZSL.
2016
article – Taonga source: Manawatū Standard

Teaching the deaf since 1973

Teaching for almost 50 years has proved a rewarding career for Terry O'Brien, who has witnessed the development of deaf education. He has seen the transition of deaf education from an emphasis on teaching verbally and through text, to an emphasis on Signed English then NZSL in the 90s.
2015
article – Taonga source: The Wellingtonian

Sign language menu tests guests

CQ Restaurant in Cuba St has launched a NZSL menu where guests sign to order their meal. Talia Carlisle tests her knowledge during NZSL Week.
1994
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

A Deafening Silence

A ‘Frontline’ documentary that touches upon an on-going topic - Deaf Education - in the Deaf community, not only in New Zealand but worldwide as well. In 2019, the message remains as familiar as it was twenty-five years ago.
Television New Zealand Archive
2006
video – Taonga source: Handmade Productions Aotearoa

Sign of the Times: The Story of New Zealand’s Visual Language

In April 2006, New Zealand Parliament declared NZSL to be an official language - the culmination of a 20-year battle by the deaf community, and a true hallmark in the recognition of their native language. 'Sign of the Times' is about the deaf New Zealanders who fought to have their language recognised as a real language and as a viable means of communication. The film documents the community's celebration of the official recognition of their language and looks at the community's ongoing hopes and aspirations for their language and culture.
Handmade Productions Aotearoa
1985
video – Taonga source: Victoria University of Wellington

First interpreting course graduation – 1985

The Sign Language Interpreting course graduation ceremony September 1985, after 14 weeks training.
Victoria University of Wellington
2004
video – Taonga source: AUT Visual Languages Section

Memories of Ava Buzzard (2004)

Ava Buzzard talks about commuting to school via her father’s motorbike, home signs, signing and oralism, and the next generation of signers.
AUT Visual Languages Section
2000
video – Taonga source: Deaf Aotearoa

Inside Out: The Art of Signing

Inside Out produces a programme about New Zealand Sign Language, its value to the Deaf community as well as its artistic forms.
Deaf Aotearoa
1991
video – Taonga source: Dorothy Jones

NZSL Tutors attend an intensive City Lit Training course in London

In the history of NZSL teaching, perhaps the most important development was when 8 NZSL tutors attended a two-week intensive teaching course in London in 1991. Watch this condensed version (taking from almost 29 hours of footage!) to get a sense of what the training was like.
Dorothy Jones
1992
article – Taonga source: Unknown

New ideas from London course on teaching

Rebecca was recently chosen, aong with seven other deaf New Zealanders, to attend a two-week training course in London to learn the basic concepts of teaching sign language.
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
2019
video – Taonga source: Merge NZ

Interview: Victoria Lessing from Merge NZ talks about learning NZSL and its benefits

Victoria Lessing, Merge NZ Co-Director, talks with Seecus about learning NZSL and its benefits.
Merge NZ
1987
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

News Review now includes ‘hand sign language’

In 1987, News Review became the first New Zealand programme to incorporate NZSL in its production. The show ceased in 1991 and to date, there has not been a similar programme using Deaf presenters or NZSL in full.
Television New Zealand Archive
2003
article – Taonga source: Bay Harbour News

Patty Still – active role model for deaf community

In late July, Woolston grandmother Noeline 'Patty' Still joined a special group of New Zealanders in Wellington for the official presentation of the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours medals. Patty was there to receive her MNZM for her services to the deaf community.
1996
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

Angela Sew Hoy: A Deaf Chinese New Zealander

‘Asia Dynamic’ catches up with Angela Sew Hoy, to find out what life is like as a Deaf Chinese New Zealander, navigating three different cultures in everyday life.
Television New Zealand Archive
1993
article – Taonga source: The Evening Post

Advanced computer data base backs NZ’s first sign language dictionary

Managing editor Professor Graeme Kennedy said the project had developed the most advanced computer database in the world for analysing and recording sign language.
1992
article – Taonga source: NZ Herald

Treatment of deaf man is modern horror story

The documentary 'The Remand of Ivan Curry (One, Sunday 9.35) was the story of how a man could spend two years in a New Zealand prison without trial. A deaf man arrested for a murder he did not commit who was kept in jail through lack of police investigation then turned back onto the streets with nothing, not even an apology.
2004
video – Taonga source: AUT Visual Languages Section

Memories of Shaun Fahey

Shaun Fahey, a Deaf artist, talks about illustrating signs for the NZSL Dictionary, and what life was like for a young Shaun growing up in Christchurch under the rule of oralism.
AUT Visual Languages Section
1985
article – Taonga source: NZ Herald

Good sign for the deaf

A course to train professional interpreters for the deaf, now being run in Auckland, is the first of its kind in New Zealand.
1999
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: Spring/Summer 1999

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
2022
article – Taonga source: The Northern Advocate

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week: Deaf Northlander Eddie Hokianga

Deaf Northlander Eddie Hokianga was on a troubled trajectory in life until he got his hands on te reo and connected with his Māori culture. Hokianga (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Porou) and Kim Robinson of Deaf Action New Zealand are delivering a groundbreaking initiative in the form of an eight-week course to be held, ideally, across 20 Northland marae.
The Northern Advocate
1992
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: March 1992

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
2023
article – Taonga source: Bay of Plenty Times

Deaf couple use sign language to organise building a new house

A new house build can be a challenging time for a young couple. But Gregory and Victoria Lessing are also deaf, and undertook a house build from scratch using NZSL.
Bay of Plenty Times
1993
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: June 1993

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
2005
article – Taonga source: Unknown

Sign of the times

Wilton resident David McKee, who has been profoundly deaf by birth, is excited by the prospect of New Zealand sign language becoming the country's third official language saying it would legitimise his mother tongue and acknowledge the fact that deaf community has its own language and culture.
2007
publication – Taonga source: Oticon Foundation

Soundscape: February 2007

Oticon Foundation
1993
article – Taonga source: Contact

Hands says it all

Kevin Stokes wishes more people spoke his language. He would also like to see it recognised, as New Zealand's third official language, alng with English and Maori.
2021
article – Taonga source: NZ Herald.

Deaf Northlander Eddie Hokianga urges Māori to turn their hand towards trilingual interpreter roles

Northland sign language tutor Eddie Hokianga has taken up the task of ensuring the region's deaf Māori community is heard. Hokianga (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Porou) has spent the last three years teaching te reo sign language to help fill a national void of interpreters fluent in the discourse.
NZ Herald.
2023
article – Taonga source: The Northland Age

Sign of the times: Teaching of New Zealand’s third official language growing ‘bigger and better’

Far North Mayor Moko Tepania may be the best-known Far North face learning NZSL, but he’s in growing company.
The Northland Age
1993
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

Sounds or Silence?

In the early 1990s, due to a breakthrough in technology, cochlear implants were starting to become the norm. The Deaf community worldwide viewed cochlear implants as a device that disregarded the need for access to sign language. Others considered such devices a miracle. In 1993, ‘60 Minutes’ investigated this controversial topic in New Zealand.
Television New Zealand Archive
1992
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: September 1992

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1997
video – Taonga source: AUT Visual Languages Section

Memories of Perry Strawson

Perry Strawson entertains with stories and funny tales from his life; what it’s like to enjoy sports and travel as a young Deaf man.
AUT Visual Languages Section
1989
publication – Taonga source: New Zealand Deaf News

NZ Deaf News: Spring 1989 (Vol. 23, No. 3)

1989
article – Taonga source: The Dominion

‘Real’ sign language studied

Deaf people have evolved a sophisticated language which is little understood by hearing people and is officially ignored, according to American linguist Marianne Collins-Ahlgren.
1993
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: March 1993

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
2018
video – Taonga source: Merge NZ

NZSLTA Hui 2018

The New Zealand Sign Language Teacher's Association Hui in October 2018 was a great weekend of professional development for those that teach, and want to teach NZSL.
Merge NZ
2001
video – Taonga source: Lorraine Butler

Deaf Diversity – Queer Nation

Queer Nation meets a sporty lesbian with nimble fingers. Lorraine talks about her identity, involvement with Deaf sports, performing and access, emphasising that Deaf people are really no different from hearing people.
Lorraine Butler
2019
video – Taonga source: Merge NZ

After decades of crusading for NZ’s deaf community, Auckland woman honoured as ‘local hero’

The New Zealander of the Year will be announced tonight and as part of it, a number of local heroes have been recognised. One of them is Aucklander Victoria Lessing, who has been deaf her whole life and has spent 20 years raising the profile of NZSL. Two years ago, her passion developed into a company called Merge NZ, which she runs alongside her business partner, Jaime Brown.
Merge NZ
2022
NZSL story – Taonga source: Janet Watt

Teaching sign language in preparation for the Christchurch 1989 World Deaf Games

Once New Zealand was awarded the host of the XVIth World Deaf Games at Los Angeles 1985, there was a realisation that sign language classes needed to commence in preparation for Christchurch 1989.
Janet Watt
1998
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Communicate: Spring 1998

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1992
article – Taonga source: The Dominion

Needs of deaf people given ‘low’ priority

New Zealand Sign Language must be given official recognition as a language or it will die, Deaf Association President Jennifer Brain says.
1991
publication – Taonga source: National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

NFD Journal: June 1991 (Vol. 5, No. 2)

National Foundation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
2006
article – Taonga source: Unknown

NZ sign language becomes official

The room is full of waving hands and exaggerated facial gestures. Even though the room is silent the dozen women are "talking" with each other just as volubly as if they were having a chinwag. It is a women's only class in New Zealand's latest offical language - NZSL.
1997
video – Taonga source: Television New Zealand Archive

Hunga Turi: Māori Deaf have their first accessible stay on a marae

‘Te Karare’ was present to witness members of the Māori Deaf community have their first accessible stay on Kokohinau marae.
Television New Zealand Archive