NZSL becomes an official language of New Zealand

2006
  • Sign Language
  • TV/Media
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.
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6 April 2006 is enshrined in the history of the New Zealand Deaf community as the historic day its language became an official language of New Zealand. Many members of the Deaf community and supporters travelled to the steps of parliament in central Wellington to witness the third reading of the NZSL Bill in person. NZSL interpreters were again present during the debate, which was broadcast live over the internet, with Deaf community members watching all around the country. After the third reading, the Minister for Disability Issues the Hon. Ruth Dyson, hosted a party at the Beehive for the Deaf community to celebrate NZSL becoming an official language.

The short video includes interviews with Deaf people reflecting on the implications of official status, and emphasises the positive impact it could have on Deaf children being able to access and learn NZSL.

Produced by:
TV3
Reference number:
SignDNA – Deaf National Archive New Zealand, KTR01-01F