NZSL Awards

The New Zealand Sign Language Awards recognise the hard-working heroes of NZSL.

These individuals, businesses and organisations are committed to the promotion and progress of New Zealand Sign Language and Deaf culture in New Zealand.

The NZSL Awards are a wonderful platform for acknowledging these efforts. The NZSL Awards Gala Dinner marks the end of NZSL Week with a celebration of everyone’s tireless work towards keeping New Zealand Sign Language thriving.


NZSL Champion

Recognising passion for NZSL as well as outstanding commitment to its successful protection, promotion and preservation.

Youth Champion

A Deaf leader aged between 14 and 24 who motivates others and is a strong advocate for NZSL.

Maori Champion

An individual or organisation promoting NZSL learning among te reo Māori users.

NZSL Accessible Service

Awarded to a service provider that provides exceptional service to those accessing the service using NZSL.

NZSL Employer

A business or organisation that is committed to NZSL and working with Deaf employees and individuals.

NZSL in Health

A healthcare provider or professional who shows commitment to NZSL users and providing access to full communication for Deaf clients.

Interpreter of the Year

Recognises the outstanding efforts of a registered NZSL Interpreter who goes the extra mile to show leadership, passion and professionalism.

NZSL in the Media

An individual or media organisation that demonstrates a commitment to promoting NZSL and Deaf awareness.

NZSL in Schools

Recognises a school that shows commitment to NZSL by promoting it in the curriculum.

NZSL Teaching

Recognises the efforts of an educator who has made an outstanding commitment to teaching NZSL.

NZSL in Early Childhood Education

Recognises an Early Childhood Education provider that shows commitment to NZSL by promoting it in the curriculum.

NZSL in Arts

An artist or arts initiative that demonstrates a commitment to NZSL accessibility and promotion.

NZSL in Sports

Recognising an outstanding contribution to including and promoting NZSL in the sporting arena.

NZSL in Government Agencies

Recognising a government agency that shows commitment to NZSL-accessibility in its information and/or workplace, and commitment to including the NZSL community in its work.


NZSL in the Media: Sara Pivac Alexander, Learn NZSL

NZSL in Health: Natasha Jumelet, Deaf Wellbeing Society

NZSL in Early Childhood Education: Joint winners, Bridget Warmouth and Casa Nova Kindergarten

NZSL in Schools: Redwood Primary School

NZSL Employer: Andy Firth, Paul Kelly Motors

NZSL Teaching: Susie Ovens

NZSL Accessible Service: Coffee Educators Ltd

Interpreter of the Year: Angela Murray

NZSL in Sports: Clive Morgan

NZSL in the Arts: Laura Haughey, Equal Voices

NZSL in Government Agencies: Nick Linton, Fire and Emergency NZ

Supreme Long-standing Service Award: Lynette Pivac

Supreme Long-standing Service Award: Lesley Carmichael

Youth Champion: Katherine Hickson

Māori Champion: Jared Flitcroft

NZSL Champion: Josje Lelijveld


NZSL in Schools: St Theresa’s School, Plimmerton

NZSL Employer: CQ Hotels Wellington

NZSL in the Media: Lisa Thompson

NZSL in Health: Rachel Coppage, CDMHP

NZSL Teaching: Nirvana May

NZSL Accessible Service: CQ Hotels Wellington

NZSL Interpreter of the Year: Scott Williams

NZSL in Early Childhood Education: Yoshie Akasaka

Youth Champion: Matthew Flynn

Maori Champion: Joanne Klaver

NZSL Champion: Stephen Hooker


NZSL Teaching Award: Karla Smith

NZSL in ECE Award: Hillpark Kindergarten

NZSL in Schools Award: Te Kura Kaupapa  Māori o Ngāti Ruanui

NZSL in the Media Award: Pickled Possum Productions

Magnet Youth Award: Eric Matthew

Maori Sign Champion Award: Patrick Thompson

NZSL in Health Award: Health Promotion Agency

NZSL Employer Award: Co-Ed Educators and Coffee Shop

NZSL Accessible Service Award: Auckland Council

NZSL Interpreter of the Year Award: Lynx

NZSL Champion Award: TeachSign Project Team


NZSL Champions Award: Victoria Manning

NZSL Māori Sign Champion Award: Michael Wi

NZSL Accessible Service Award: Russell Smith, Lifestyle Choices

NZSL in Early Childhood Education Award: Doris Nicholson Kindergarten

NZSL Employer Award: Victoria University Wellington, Grant Guildford

NZSL in Health Award: Wally Potts Audiology, Kenepuru Hospital

NZSL Interpreter of the Year Award: Kelly Hodgins

NZSL in the Media Award: Attitude Pictures

NZSL in Schools Award: Sacred Heart Catholic School

NZSL Teaching Award: Carol Smith

Magnet Deaf Youth Award: Emma Paton


NZSL Champion Award: Sonia Pivac, Sign DNA

NZSL Accessible Service Award: Veolia Transport Auckland

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

NZSL Interpreter of the Year Award: Angela Murray, Wellington

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

NZSL in Schools Award: Shirley First Learners, Christchurch

NZSL Teaching Award: Darryl Alexander, Wellington

Magnet Deaf Youth Award: Rachel Berry, Christchurch


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

NZSL Accessible Award: Masterpet, Wellington

NZSL Interpreter of the Year Award: Julie Coxhead, Auckland

NZSL Public Service Award: Hutt City Council

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

Magnet Youth Award: Mark Berry, Wellington


NZSL Champion Award: Lee Ann Rose

Interpreter of the Year Award: Evelyn Pateman and Jeremy Borland (joint winners)

Māori Signs Champion Award: Bonnie Ormsby

NZSL In Schools Award: Titahi Bay School

NZSL Teaching Award: Kay Hunia

Public Service Award: New Zealand Fire Service

NZSL Accessible Award: Tiaho Trust


NZSL Champion Award: Bridget Ferguson

Interpreter of the Year Award: Alan Wendt

Māori Signs Champion Award: No entries received

NZSL In Schools Award: Paparoa Ranges School

NZSL Teaching Award: Lisa Shand (New Plymouth)

Public Service Award: Constable Deborah Leahy, New Zealand Police

NZSL Accessible Award: The Learning Connexion, Wellington


NZSL Champion Award: Brent Macpherson

Interpreter of the Year Award: Delys Magill

Māori Signs Champion Award: Richard Peri

NZSL In Schools Award: St Pius X School

NZSL Teaching Award: Sara Pivac Alexander

Public Service Award: Christchurch City Council

NZSL Accessible Award: Department of Conservation (Blenheim)

South Island award winners

Interpreter of the Year Award: Elisabeth Kay

NZSL In Schools Award: Garin College

NZSL Teaching Award: Carol Smith

Service awards

Special recognition of three key people who have given considerable commitment and passion to the advancement of NZSL within NZ were awarded these awards:

Long Standing Service Award – North Island: Shona McGhie

Long Standing Service Award – South Island: Patty Still

Supreme Long Standing Service Award: Rachel McKee