In memoriam - Shaun Fahey

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and incredible Deaf community member, Shaun Fahey.

Taken before his time, Shaun passed away at 2am this morning after a short battle with cancer. Shaun was a well-loved member of the Deaf community, a wonderful friend, loving dad, granddad, brother and son and husband to Rachel Turner-Fahey.
For many years, Shaun blessed us with his theatrical and infectious humour, skilful storytelling, sportsmanship, art work and talented theatre performances. We hold Shaun’s spirit and memories close. He was always warm, positive, friendly and simply magical.

It is with great sadness we send condolences and aroha to his wife Rachel Turner-Fahey and his family.
Shaun’s wife and family request that their privacy be respected in this very difficult time. You can leave a comment on Facebook. Please respect the family’s wishes.
There will be opportunities for Shaun’s friends and the Deaf community to pay their respects over the next few days, and we will share any further information with the family’s consent.

Shaun, may your magical spirit rest in peace.

Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) and Deaf Aotearoa wish to announce that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide fully accessible information to the Deaf community.

When an emergency or disaster occurs, safety information is always sent out to the public. Typically, this information was broadcast through spoken English, often via the media, which means Deaf people have experienced barriers accessing this information easily. This new MoU means these barriers will now be removed so that when an emergency or disaster happens, information disseminated by officials in spoken English will also be simultaneously interpreted into New Zealand Sign Language. At the same time, safety information will be released in easy-to-read English in various ways, but primarily online.

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management is also committed to working with Deaf Aotearoa to learn about Deaf culture and New Zealand Sign Language. The organisations will work together to develop resources that focus on emergency preparedness for Deaf people, which is great news for the Deaf community!

If you want more information, please read the full document here (also available in New Zealand Sign Language):

NZSL Interpreted Leaders Debate: Full Video - 22th September 2017

Here's the interpreted debate in full if you are unable to access the video on TVNZ OnDemand from overseas.



TVNZ signs on with Deaf Aotearoa for Leaders Debate - 18th September 2017

• Final Vote 17 Final Leaders Debate screens with live captions from 7pm, 20 September on TVNZ 1 and
• NZSL interpreted Vote 17 Final Leaders Debate available on TVNZ OnDemand the morning of 22 September

New Zealand’s deaf community will have access to both a signed version and live captioning of the 1 NEWS debate between Bill English and Jacinda Ardern in the final week of the Election.

TVNZ in partnership with Deaf Aotearoa will produce a New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreted version of Wednesday’s televised Vote 17 Final Leaders Debate, which will be made available on for viewers to stream OnDemand on Friday morning.

Hard-of-hearing and deaf viewers already have access to live captioning for all four of 1 NEWS’ Election debates.

“The final week before the election is marked around the world as International Week of the Deaf and we’re pleased to play an active role by offering more viewing options for Wednesday’s big debate to our deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers,” says TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick.

“It will be the first time we’re presenting both captioning and sign language viewing options, and it would not have been possible without the valuable support from our accessibility partners Able and Deaf Aotearoa.”

Captions are produced by ABLE for broadcast on TVNZ channels, giving access to media for those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, learning English, learning to read or having trouble hearing the television.

Deaf Aotearoa’s Chief Executive Lachlan Keating says his organisation is excited to be working with TVNZ to provide a NZSL interpreted version of the final leaders debate. “NZSL is an official language of New Zealand and this initiative will provide access to political debates in Deaf people’s first or preferred language.”

“The fast pace and quick fire nature of political debates presents a big challenge for live interpreting,” he says. Three NZSL interpreters will interpret the debate – one each for Bill English, Jacinda Ardern and moderator Mike Hosking. This will be inserted as a ‘picture-in-picture’ on screen. “The day and half turn around will give us time to produce an accurate and high quality interpretation,” he says.

17% of New Zealanders use captions on a regular basis, says ABLE’s Chief Executive Wendy Youens. “Able works to make media accessible across New Zealand, so we’re excited to be partnering with TVNZ to provide captioning for their election coverage,” she says.


iSign Update - 29th March 2017

  • We want to update you all on the  iSign redevelopment work  over the last 18 months
  • DA is committed to/focused on providing improved access for Deaf people and ensuring Deaf people get interpreters whenever they need.
  • DA has invested in improving iSign systems so that we can provide an excellent and improved service now and into the future.
  • This redevelopment work has considered ways to ensure iSign provides a quality service and can deal with job requests quickly.
  • What are the changes?

    1 - New modern booking system and new app for interpreters. 

    2 - Updated New contract for interpreters and communicators

    3 - New website

    4 - New text number

    5 - New iSign business cards – "How-to-book-an-interpreter cards" 

  • New system because our current system is old and if something happened all data will be lost and can't be recovered. New system is cloud based (which is well backed-up) and has an app for interpreters so they can accept or reject jobs through the app and can ask people to sign after the job – more quicker, e.g.: reduced admin work for interpreters
  • New contract because contract has not been updated since it started 8 years ago  Need to make sure it incorporates  new laws, for example health and safety, and new organisation standards like complaints procedures etc
  • New website because we want to have a fresh new look and make it more easy for Deaf people to book interpreters, and have interpreters faces on the website so easy for Deaf people to see interpreters and know who they want to interpret.  We want to review the way we book interpreters because in old system, all information is old and want to make sure we have correct information. We will also have more information on the website about funding, and have some resources for you to download and print to take to your doctor, lawyer, or school.
  • We have opened up new ways of making a booking and easier ways to communicate via text with automated confirmation and reminders. If you don't want these, you can stop them. We will have a new text number – it is free to text and it means you can book an interpreter via text if you don't have a computer.
  • We have printed iSign cards that say how to contact iSign to book an interpreter.  You can pick up from your local Deaf Aotearoa office and use them when you want to tell someone to book interpreters.‚Äč

You will still be able to book interpreters like you always have. Most of the improvements are in our internal systems and maybe you won't see much difference, however, the changes we have made will mean iSign can provide a better and more efficient service to you. 

If you have any questions, please contact Kellye Bensley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



AGM and Voting Papers Frequently Asked Questions

For your vote to count, it MUST be received by the Chief Executive of Deaf Aotearoa Inc. by 12 noon on Friday 11th November 2016.

Remember - you must vote using the GREEN voting form.

Here are some FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about voting and the AGM:

1.  I have received AGM papers in both email and mail, why?

This year we sent all members an electronic and hard copy of our AGM papers, to make sure as many members as possible receive this information.

2.  I haven't received papers in my email, why?

Emails were sent to all members.  Please check your email Junk/Spam folders.  Email sent on 20/10/16.  Please also check you have given Deaf Aotearoa your correct/new email address.  Update your membership details at or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

3.  The voting paper doesn't look safe, easy to photocopy, possible fraud?

The new 'Members' Voting Paper' has a new title, is on green paper and has a unique number, so no fraud possible.

4.  Are the elections meant to be missing from the AGM Agenda?

The reason that 'Board Elections' is not on the Agenda is that all votes must be received and counted (with an independent person present) before the AGM.  The new Executive Board will be announced at the AGM.

5.  When can we expect to receive the annual and finance reports?

The Deaf Aotearoa Annual Report, including financial statements, will be available to members before the AGM and at the AGM.

6.  Proxy form not in AGM papers, why?

Proxy forms are needed to vote on remits at the AGM.  This year no remits were received.  A remit is a proposed change to the constitution.  There is nothing on the AGM Agenda for members to vote on.  So no proxy forms needed.

7.  Can I use email voting paper or do I need to use paper copy voting paper?

You can choose to vote on paper or email.  Up to you.  Must use GREEN 'Member's Voting Paper'.  If email voting, email to Becky, 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



31 October 2016 - Recruitment Processes at Deaf Aotearoa

In response to some recent discussion about recruitment processes used in the Deaf sector, Deaf Aotearoa would like to clarify its recruitment process.  

As shown in the accompanying screen shots of recent posts, Deaf Aotearoa promotes all its vacancies across a variety of channels, including the CommUNITY Weekly newsletter, on the Deaf Aotearoa website (, on Deaf Aotearoa’s Facebook and Linked In pages, and on Seek and/or Trade Me – different roles require different methods.  Deaf Aotearoa has used Seek for more than 10 years.

In most instances, Deaf Aotearoa includes New Zealand Sign Language translations or summaries of vacancies and position descriptions.  Applications in NZSL are welcome.  Job advertisements and applications in NZSL are new initiatives implemented in the last two years.

Deaf Aotearoa currently has more Deaf staff in management and leadership roles than ever before.  Deaf Aotearoa also fully supports the professional development of all staff, including Deaf staff.

Deaf Aotearoa is currently advertising a vacancy for the First Signs Team Leader position.  You can see this vacancy, in NZSL and English, on Facebook, in CommUNITY Weekly News, on Deaf Aotearoa’s website and on Seek.


business manager graphic designer facilitator

youth internshipYouth Intern ad Fac. PN ad



Deaf Aotearoa Annual General Meeting 2016

Click below to view the full document.

Notice of AGM


Click below to view the full document.

DANZ Board Nomination Final Page 1


Click below to view the full document.

Election Brief final Page 1


16th October 2015 - Statement from Deaf Aotearoa

Deaf Aotearoa would like to clarify how it provides equipment assessment services and what people can expect when they access this service.

Deaf Aotearoa is contracted and funded to provide assessments of need for specialist equipment in the home and to work with other agencies to identify what that need is – this is why we work with the New Zealand Fire Service, Life Unlimited, Blind Foundation etc.

Our role is to:

  • Identify risk
  • Assess need
  • Recommend solutions
  • Make applications to fund recommended equipment

There is no automatic entitlement to funding for equipment and Deaf Aotearoa is not funded to provide equipment.

Anyone wanting an assessment can request one, but it is important to understand that Deaf Aotearoa staff will advise at the start if the person does not meet the criteria for funding and may recommend that people contact the suppliers of equipment directly to buy the equipment they want. This is not because we don’t want to help, it is to save time and to make sure that people have choices about equipment.

If people want equipment that is different to the specialist recommendations e.g more smoke alarms than the Fire Service say are needed, then Deaf Aotearoa will advise you of this and tell you how you can buy the equipment you want.

Any applications for funding for equipment made by Deaf Aotearoa staff will always be based on the assessed need and that might be different to what a Deaf person wants or asks for.



Robert Hewison's meeting with Minister for Disability Issues

Robert Hewison, Lachlan Keating and Victoria Manning recently met up with Minister for Disability Issues Hon Nicky Wagner. Check out the video below for a quick update.


5th October 2015 - Statement regarding Kingdom of Jehovah's Witnesses

Statement on Behalf of Deaf Aotearoa

Deaf Aotearoa has recently been told about a number of Deaf people who feel they have been targeted by people calling at their houses from the Kingdom of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some people find this very annoying and upsetting and believe they are being targeted because they are Deaf.


Deaf Aotearoa obviously has no control over what people from any Church (or any other organisation) do or how they target people they call on, but we do want to help Deaf people feel safe in their own homes. We have written to the Kingdom of Jehovah’s Witnesses at:


Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society

PO Box 75142




and asked them to explain if they are holding a database of details identifying where Deaf people live and when we receive a reply we will update you here.

Staff in any of our offices can work with you to make a complaint to the Kingdom of Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area if you feel you have been affected by this.


Please be assured that Deaf Aotearoa keeps all service user information and details confidential and does not share information with anyone unless you ask us to. 


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