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Commission welcomes tri-lingual interpreters at Waitangi Day events
This year’s Waitangi Day will be the first time tri-lingual interpreters have been available to ensure deaf people will be able to fully participate in the formal events that commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan congratulated the Waitangi Trust and the Minister of Disability Issues for their efforts to ensure that trilingual interpreters are available.
Tri-lingual interpreters are qualified interpreters fluent in Māori, New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) and English. Māori deaf people report that NZSL is a tool for them to access their culture and language.
Ms Noonan commended the Tiaho Trust in Whangarei for bringing the issue to the Commission. As recognition of the importance of Waitangi Day grows throughout New Zealand, the Human Rights Commission has observed the growing numbers of people, who want, at least once in their lifetime, to experience the significance of that day at Waitangi, the birthplace of our nation.
The Commission heard from disabled people who attended last year’s event who expressed disappointment at not being able to participate in the formal, public events.
With support from the Office of Disability Issues, the Waitangi Trust has made Waitangi day 2011 accessible for many more New Zealanders.
By ensuring provision of tri-lingual interpreters, for the formal events that mark Waitangi Day at Waitangi this year, the Waitangi Trust will be meeting the human rights standards that are a requirement of the Human Rights Act and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Ms Noonan said, “ We look forward to tri-lingual interpretation being a permanent feature of Waitangi Day celebrations at Waitangi and indeed throughout the country in the years ahead.”