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  • Ashleigh Putt-Fallows

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week 2024!

ASHLEIGH PUTT-FALLOWS (SHE/HER) Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi-Ngāti Hine, Tūhoe

NZSL traces its roots back to the early 19th century when deaf education was introduced to the country by British settlers. Initially, NZSL developed organically within deaf communities and was a blend of British Sign Language (BSL) and aspects of Aotearoa. Modern NZSL also includes Māori kupu. In 1980, NZSL gained recognition as an official language of New Zealand; the 2006 passing of the New Zealand Sign Language Act further solidified its status, ensured accessibility, and promoted its use in various domains including education, government, and media. NZSL continues to thrive as a vital means of communication for the deaf community in Aotearoa. 

NZSL week runs from the 6th to 12th of May and its theme this year is “an Aotearoa where everyone can sign”. The university will be running multiple opportunities to learn basic NZSL, so keep an eye out! You can also visit the Learn NZSL website or, for more information on NZSL, visit the NZSL week website.


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