You can download the Let's Talk booklet below.


Taster Class Powerpoints

Taster Class 2017 - GENERAL
Taster Class 2017 - HEALTH
Taster Class 2017 - SCHOOL


You can download the Taster Class posters below

TC Tutor Posters Page 01


You can download the 'General' vocab sheets below.

TC Vocab sheet General Page 1


You can download the 'Preschool' vocab sheets below.

TC Vocab sheet Preschool Page 1



You can download the 'School' vocab sheets below.

TC Vocab sheet School Page 1


You can download the 'Health' vocab sheets below.

TC Vocab sheet Health Page 1



You can download the 'Marae' vocab sheets below.

TC Vocab sheet Marae Page 1

NZSL Awards Past Winners (including details)

2014 Awards

NZSL Champions Award: Victoria Manning §

Victoria Manning has worked hard for many years to advance the Deaf community. She lobbied for the establishment of the telecommunications relay service in New Zealand. She was also, heavily involved with the development of the NZSL Bill, which as we all know was passed by Parliament to become law. Recently she helped write the report “A new Era in the Right to Sign”. The Deaf community has truly been empowered by the work Victoria has done.

NZSL Maori Sign Champion: Michael Wi §

Michael Wi has for many years showed huge passion and dedication for the Maori Deaf Community and especially for young Maori Deaf through their work educating Deaf children. Michael was also actively involved with the Deaf community as a Maori representative on the Auckland Deaf Society Board and is always willing to encourage and support the learning needs of both the hearing and Deaf.

NZSL Accessible Service Award: Russell Smith, Lifestyle Choices §

Lifestyle Choices, a disability support organisation showed outstanding commitment back in 2011, when they approached Deaf Aotearoa to discuss NZSL training for their staff and this course is now part of their staff induction process. Obviously NZSL is a great skill for their staff who works with people with a variety of disabilities including some Deaf people.

NZSL in Early Childhood Education Award: Doris Nicholson Kindergarten §

This kindergarten has no Deaf children, but regardless this kindergarten has made NZSL a part of their daily curriculum, as well as Te Reo.

NZSL Employer Award: Victoria University Wellington, Grant Guildford §

Victoria University has employed many Deaf people over the years – since the early 1990’s. These Deaf employees have all enjoyed a fantastic environment where many hearing staff know NZSL and have a great understanding of Deaf culture. Victoria University is well known throughout the Deaf community for their groundbreaking work into the research of NZSL and production of NZSL resources which we many of us use every day – which makes extra special that they are being recognized at an event celebrating NZSL.

NZSL in Health Award: Wally Potts Audiology, Kenepuru Hospital §

Dr Wally Potts, an audiologist who has worked with the Deaf community in Wellington for many years. Dr Wally Potts makes sure the Deaf person understands their options and respects whatever choice they make. He has shown exceptional service to NZSL users and shown an outstanding commitment to the Deaf community.

NZSL Interpreter of the Year Award: Kelly Hodgins §

Kelly Hodgins, a registered NZSL Interpreter was nominated by a wide range of people, especially acknowledged for her extensive work, much of it voluntary, to provide sign language access to theatre. She has shown leadership, passion and professionalism.

NZSL in the Media Award: Attitude Pictures §

This new award category goes to Attitude Pictures who stood out for their TV series which shows interesting stories about people with a wide variety of disabilities including “using a mix of New Zealand’s official languages in their programme”. It was very clear that this winner had gone to a huge amount of effort to include Deaf people and NZSL in their broadcasting.

NZSL in Schools Award: Sacred Heart Catholic School §

Sacred Heart Catholic School which currently has two Deaf students has shown commitment to NZSL by promoting NZSL within their curriculum. This school also employed a Deaf tutor to teach the staff and students NZSL and Deaf culture. Out in the playgrounds, students and staff use NZSL to communicate with each other every day.

NZSL Teaching Award: Carol Smith §

Carol Smith an NZSL educator/teacher who, through commitment and devotion, has made an outstanding contribution to teaching NZSL to their Deaf and/or hearing students.

NZSL Magnet Deaf Youth Award: Emma Paton §

Emma Paton is an emerging Youth leader who has showed a lot of potential. Emma grew up in a mainstream environment and only started to learn how to sign recently, but that hasn’t stopped her from getting involved in the Deaf Youth community and organising events for both Deaf and hard of hearing youth.

2013 Awards

NZSL Champion Award: Sonia Pivac, Sign DNA §

The winner has undertaken a project which aims to collect and preserve evidence of the early development of NZSL and Deaf culture and collate this into an online archive of recorded visual history.

NZSL Accessible Service Award: Veolia Transport Auckland §

The winner of this award showed outstanding commitment back in 2011, when they approached Deaf Aotearoa to discuss NZSL training for their staff particularly those responsible for customer safety.

NZSL Employer Award: An Extra Pair of Hands, Palmerston North §

This employer hired on ability and was hailed as being truly inspirational and always seeing the best in people.

Interpreter of the Year Award: Angela Murray, Wellington §

This person has volunteered their own time, outside of their paid hours to assist a Deaf child at school, giving this child greater access to education.

NZSL in the Media Award: TIKI TOUR by Flux Animation and Pickled Possum Productions §

This organisation stood out for using a mix of New Zealand’s official languages and embracing and including NZSL in their programme.

NZSL in Schools Award: Shirley First Learners, Christchurch §

This school has made pre-school an amazing experience for one Deaf student and all of their students Deaf Aware.

NZSL Teaching Award: Darryl Alexander, Wellington §

Our winner is described as an exceptional teacher of the Deaf and a wonderful advocate to the NZSL community.

Magnet Youth Award: Rachel Berry, Christchurch §

The winner has shown great leadership in getting mainstreamed Deaf and hearing impaired youth involved with their newly formed local Deaf Youth club.

2012 Awards

NZSL in Teaching Award and NZSL Champion Award: David McKee, Wellington §

The NZSL Teaching Award recognises the efforts of an educator/teacher who, through commitment and devotion, has made an outstanding contribution to teaching New Zealand Sign Language to their Deaf and/or hearing students. The NZSL Champion Award recognises the hard work of a key person who is committed and passionate in protecting, promoting and preserving NZSL, in an outstanding way. These projects have helped with the awareness and progress of NZSL in New Zealand, as well as showing leadership and inspiring and motivating other people. Wellington resident David McKee received both the NZSL Champion Award and NZSL Teaching Award. Mr McKee is Research Director of the Deaf Studies Research Unit and Senior Lecturer in Deaf Studies at Victoria University – teaching “Certificate in Deaf Studies: Teaching NZSL” and other introductory NZSL courses. Together with his wife Rachel, Mr McKee established the NZSL Interpreting course at AUT in 1992, teaching NZSL and Deaf culture to many of the country’s interpreters. Upon moving to Wellington in 1997, he has taught both Deaf and hearing students in the popular Deaf Studies and NZSL Courses at Victoria University and been a presenter at many NZSL workshops and conferences. Mr McKee has also been instrumental in NZSL research and resource development, including being the consulting editor for the Concise Dictionary of NZSL (2002). More recently, he was the managing editor of the NZSL Online Dictionary, which following its launch in July 2011 has received more than 38,000 visits from people both in New Zealand and internationally.

NZSL Accessible Award: Masterpet, Wellington §

The NZSL Accessible Award recognises a New Zealand business or organisation that has proven success through their commitment to NZSL and in working with Deaf workers or individuals. This is shown by assisting Deaf workers or individuals with everyday business, including the use of NZSL interpreters and NZSL and the business doing well as a result of support of Deaf workers or individuals. Wellington company, Masterpet has two long-term Deaf staff members and worked to make both the building and business in general as accessible as possible for these staff members. Masterpet installed special safety units and have given the staff members personal vibrating pagers that alert them to any danger or can ask them to come to a specific location within the factory. The company also arranged for in-house sign language classes for staff, training videos are subtitled and interpreters are provided for all staff meetings and work reviews.

Interpreter of the Year Award: Julie Coxhead, Auckland §

The Interpreter of the Year Award recognises the outstanding efforts of a registered NZSL Interpreter who has shown passion, dedication and professionalism in the area of interpreting. This includes assisting with the progress of the area of NZSL interpreting in NZ and/or collaborating with the Deaf community to raise awareness of Deaf community issues through interpreting in NZ. Julie has shown a huge commitment to interpreting and the Deaf community over the years, including helping to interpret sermons and translate resources for the Deaf congregation at her local church. She also regularly volunteers her own time to offer assistance with interpreting. Julie is a kind, professional and understanding interpreter and she is a fantastic role model for student interpreters.

NZSL In Schools Award: St Johns School, Ranfurly and Tauranga Intermediate §

The NZSL in Schools Award recognises a pre-school/school that has proven success through its commitment to NZSL by promoting NZSL within its curriculum. St John’s School was awarded the NZSL in Schools Award (South Island) and Tauranga Intermediate the North Island award.

St John’s School won the award for its efforts in promoting NZSL to students and supporting its first deaf pupil. The staff at St John’s School willingly went the extra mile to access people and resources, so that its first Deaf pupil could participate as a full member of the school community. The whole school (staff and students) learnt basic NZSL and teachers travelled to Dunedin to attend training courses provided by a Deaf tutor. The school has worked closely with the Dunedin-based van Ashe Deaf Education Centre to ensure that it has the appropriate resources for the student.

Tauranga Intermediate won the North Island schools award for its efforts in promoting NZSL to students. A teacher at the school wanted to promote NZSL to students and actively sought out a Deaf tutor and an NZSL interpreter to teach the students for a six week period. The feedback from the tutor was that the students really enjoyed learning this unique language.

NZSL Public Service Award: Hutt City Council §

The Public Service Award recognises an individual or service provider that has provided exceptional service to NZSL users and has shown an outstanding commitment to the Deaf community. This can be shown by the use of NZSL and NZSL interpreters, offering special services or products to NZSL clients and a genuine commitment to NZSL users as part of the organisation’s culture. The Hutt City Council received the award for its collaborative work with Deaf Aotearoa in establishing the newly opened Deaf Access Centre within the council building and its ongoing commitment by staff to learn NZSL. The council identified a need for better access to community services for its Deaf constituents and worked with Deaf Aotearoa to establish the Deaf Access Centre. Thanks to efforts by the Hutt City Council, local Deaf people now have a meeting place where they can access the technology needed to communicate with Deaf Aotearoa staff as well as government agencies and other services. The Council also recognised that it would face communication challenges once the access centre was opened and upskilled its customer service staff and other team members in basic sign language. The staff attended a six week NZSL course and Deaf Awareness Training.

Magnet Youth Award: Mark Berry, Wellington §

Victoria University student Mark Berry received the inaugural Magnet Youth Award at the New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Awards. Magnet is Deaf Aotearoa’s new youth-based nationwide programme that aims to provide Deaf awareness and leadership opportunities for deaf and hearing impaired youth. It evolved from research and focus groups with young Deaf New Zealanders into what support, services and activities were needed. Mr Berry (23) received the award for his assistance to Deaf youth services and for being a role model for Deaf youth throughout the country. While studying at university, Mr Berry has been a NZSL tutor and also worked on resources as a narrator. Last year, he received the “Community Spirit Award” from his hostel, in recognition of his outstanding citizenship and social contributions, including voluntarily teaching NZSL to other residents. He is an active member of the Wellington Deaf Club, regularly volunteers to assist with local and national deaf events and in 2011 was the youngest member elected to the Deaf Aotearoa Board.

During 8th to 10th March 2013, the New Zealand Deaf community came together at the InterContiental in Wellington, New Zealand for a rare opportunity to learn, think, connect and share ideas over three days.

The first Deaf View conference was held in 1991 and the second held in 2004, both in Auckland. Much has changed since then. The Deaf community had grown and adapted with the many changes happening in New Zealand and internationally.

This Deaf View conference was an opportunity for the New Zealand Deaf community to come together to reflect on their progress, current issues and future directions. It provided a space to discuss the New Zealand Deaf community's journey — including their history, their current challenges their opportunities to ensure a strong New Zealand Deaf community into the future.

The conference theme was "Our changing community".

The exciting conference programme showed the depth and diversity of knowledge, skills and creativity in the Deaf community. There were two international keynote presenters: Colin Allen, World Federation of the Deaf President and Breda Carty, a well-known Deaf history researcher and a lecturer in Special Education.

The conference also included the Deaf Short Film Festival, showing Deaf films produced, directed and acted by members of the New Zealand Deaf community.


Keynote presentations

Deaf community: changing perspectives

New Zealand Sign Language issues

Deaf education issues

International Deaf perspectives

Māori Deaf and indigenous Deaf issues

  • Damara Paris and Tony Martin — Indigenous Deaf women
  • Kirsten Smiler — Māori Deaf children: Early intervention
  • Patrick Thompson — Māori Deaf issues (workshop)

Deaf youth issues

Special interest Deaf issues






  • Joanne Becker — Chair
  • Shannon Morris — Admin, social and youth
  • Bridget Ferguson — Marketing and exhibitions
  • Victoria Manning — Finance and programme
  • Sara Pivac Alexander — Design and website
  • Rachel McKee — Programme and interpreters
  • Mark Berry — Youth and social
  • Candice David — Youth and Social
  • Elinor Cuttiford — Interpreters

Committee photo (left to right): Victoria Manning, Elinor Cuttiford, Bridget Ferguson, Candice David, Sara Pivac Alexander, Shannon Morris, Joanne Becker and Mark Berry.

Do you work in the medical profession? Here are 25 signs you can use in your workplace to communicate with Deaf people.

You can also download the Let's Talk booklet below.


Read more: Let's Talk (for medical situations)

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