June 27, 1981. Telethon LIVE at the Auckland Town Hall, with ‘I Hear Your Hand’. Introduced by Pernell Roberts – an American film star of the time, the popular Sign Singers were the opening act of 1981 Telethon, and the very first to contribute a donation with a $150.00 cheque presented by the group. The 1981 Telethon was for International Year of the Disabled and the event raised over $5 million for charities. Dresses were created by Dulcie McKie, who had an early career as a seamstress.
TVNZ Teletext was launched in 1984 with funding raised in the 1981 New Zealand Telethon, to provide news and information for the Deaf.
Funds for telephone teleprinters. A grant of $135,000 was bestowed by the 1981 Telethon Fund for the provision of teleprinters for the deaf. To date, 186 of these machines have been issued, with 29 remaining in stock. There is enough money available to purchase 55 more machines. Applications should be forwarded to: Combined N.Z. Societies for the Deaf (Inc), P.O. Box 41-131, St Lukes, Auckland.