April, 2012
ISSN 1174-9245
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Paul Gibson’s Editorial: New Zealand Sign Language Week

I am Deaf - the logo for New Zealand Sign Language Week

At 5am on 6 February 2012, Aotearoa New Zealand celebrated its founding day in its three official languages. (View this article in NZSL.)

Amongst the dawn chorus of priests, politicians, and protesters preaching, the trees shifting in the breeze, the bagpipes whining, and the wisest of interjections from a ruru (morepork), the noise was only broken by the silence of the signing of Te Tiriti.

Seven generations on from the original signing, the Waitangi dawn service was literally signed, in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), an official language of New Zealand for the last six years. We now expect events of national importance to celebrate and acknowledge our three official languages. We also expect such events to be accessible to everyone, including Deaf New Zealanders.

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First Deaf MP wants a fully accessible Parliament

The country’s first Deaf MP Mojo Mathers wants to ensure Parliament is fully accessible to all New Zealanders. (View this article in NZSL.)

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See how to communicate

Portrait of Sonia Pivac, Creative Director at Seeflow

A unique nationwide online sign language translation service promises to open a raft of ways for Deaf people to better connect in their work and life.

Seeflow, based in Auckland, offers a new service for Deaf people who need documents, emails, contracts, articles and so on, translated into New Zealand Sign Language.   Creative director Sonia Pivac says NZSL is New Zealand’s third official language and it should be more common and accessible. (View this article in NZSL.)

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New leader for Disabled Persons Assembly

Rachel Noble has been working as the DPA’s chief executive for just a few weeks and says it’s a privilege to be in her new role.  Rachel is Deaf and was previously the CEO of Deaf Aotearoa for more than five years.  She comes from a background of Deaf education and says it’s an exciting time to be part of the disabled community with new opportunities emerging so people’s aspirations can be realised.  “After focusing within the Deaf sector I really enjoyed working with other disabled person’s organisations so this role provides me with the opportunity to continue.  Each group is diverse yet at another level we are all so united by our shared experiences in this world.  Celebrating our diversity and unity is important as we advance as a community.” ( View this article in NZSL.)

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Speech not the only way to communicate

Voice Thru Your Hands is a voluntary organisation set up by a Palmerston North mum Alison Attwell to bring the benefits of NZSL to those with delayed speech and other disabilities. (View this article in NZSL.)

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Skytower climber’s feat to raise attention for disabled Samoans

Jordon Milroy is a 22-year-old student of social sciences at the Auckland University of Technology who will be climbing up the Sky Tower last week (17 April).  For many non disabled  people it would be a challenge but for Jordan it’s even more so as he has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. (View this article in NZSL.)

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