Rūaumoko Komiti

The experiences of Māori Deaf

2004
This segment from Māori TV’s Te Hēteri focuses on the experiences of Māori Deaf, catching up with Patrick Thompson, Whiti Ronaki, and Hemi Hema.
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Te Hēteri caught up with Patrick Thompson on many occasions to document his story as a Māori Deaf person. In this documentary, they shadow Patrick at numerous Deaf events such as a powhiri at Kelston Deaf Education Centre’s Rūaumoko Marae, the opening of the Advance Centre, and at Auckland’s Star Sign Cafe situated on Dominion Road.

Whiti Ronaki shares an experience about having no access to what was said at his father’s and brother’s tangi, as there was no trilingual interpreter available, which naturally was very upsetting.

Patrick Thompson asserts that the fact Deaf people use interpreters is not exclusively a Deaf activity, but rather that hearing people also use interpreters. Whiti, Patrick, and Hemi Hema all raise the same issue and agree – more interpreters are needed, particularly for Māori Deaf. This theme in 2019 is frustratingly still relevant.

Patrick also shares his experience of growing up and seeing the disadvantages many Māori Deaf faced, which was a driving factor in his desire to lift outcomes for the Māori Deaf community.

We also see glimpses of an early technology that was intended for the general population but actually benefited the Deaf community more: Telecom’s KIT Screens; one located each in Auckland’s St Lukes Shopping Centre, Wellington’s Readings Courtenay Place, and Christchurch’s South City Mall. While those screens were operational, many Deaf people used them to communicate across the country with each other in their natural language: NZSL.

File ref: RUA12-01-MD04

Donated by Rūaumoko Komiti
Produced by Māori Television
Original format VHS