New Zealand Sign Language Fund

Investing in projects that create a stronger NZSL community in New Zealand.

Funding positive changes

In Budget 2014, $1.5 million per year (ongoing) was made available for the NZSL Board and Fund. Of this, $250,000 annually is for the establishment and on-going costs of the NZSL Board, including secretariat support from Office for Disability Issues, and the remaining $1.25 million is allocated from the NZSL Fund to support initiatives that promote and maintain NZSL. The NZSL Board is responsible its oversight, and making recommendations on the allocations of funds from it.

Round 1 - NZSL Fund

Fourteen projects were approved and received a total of $900,000 funding for the first round. The projects receiving funding range from further development of the NZSL Online Dictionary, to a theatre performance that has been developed in both NZSL and spoken English, designed to be accessible for both Deaf and hearing audiences, to extending a NZSL for Families course.

Read and/or view community projects funded in the first round:

NZSL Fund News



NZSL Assessment Toolkit - 2 September 2016

Earlier this year KDEC and van Asch successfully applied for funding from the New Zealand Sign Language Board to create a NZSL Assessment Toolkit for learners 3 - 11 years old.

Signs: A Deaf script development workshop - 31 May 2016

An opportunity for members of the Deaf community to create a new theatre script with some of New Zealand's leading Deaf and hearing writers, storytellers, and directors.

NZSL in Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Programme - 13 May 2016

We are so pleased to be able to announce the establishment of a New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) mentoring programme – this announcement can be viewed in NZSL in the video below.

NZSL content offers Deaf community better legal information - 12 May 2016

The Deaf community will have better access to information about their legal rights thanks to an initiative by Auckland Disability Law (ADL), part of the Community Law network.

Read the Minister's announcement on the NZSL Fund round two - September 2015

The next round of the New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Fund opens for applications today, Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner has announced.

Twenty-four projects for the second funding round (1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016) were approved and received a total of $751,114. Successful projects include the development of a youth mentorship programme, a series of NZSL Immersion Courses in Otago where there is very limited access to NZSL for families with deaf children and a national conference for families with deaf children. 

  • NZSL for Families – support 15 families to attend a 24-week family-based NZSL learning course based at the Sign Language Hub in Auckland. Auckland Deaf Society, $8,750
  • NZSL Experiences for Playgroup Families – monthly NZSL playgroup sessions and a NZSL family camp for those in the Wellington region. NZSL Bubs and Tots Playgroup – Wellington Region (Fundholder: Wellington Association for Deaf Children), $32,100
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters in NZSL – establish a sustainable youth mentoring programme for deaf children who will benefit from the support of a carefully screened Deaf mentor. Deaf and NZSL-related aspects will be added to the current programme. Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Zealand, $80,900
  • 4th National Deaf Youth Camp – a national Deaf youth camp that brings Deaf youth between the ages of 18 to 30 years old together and encourages leadership through workshops and activities. Auckland Deaf Society, $12,811.28
  • Whānau Hub – a pilot drop-in centre in South Auckland open to families wanting to access NZSL accessible parenting courses, coffee groups and other relevant services. The year-long pilot will also establish a buddy system with Māori and Pacific Deaf parents. Geneva Elevator, $30,000
  • NZSL Immersion Courses – ten weekend NZSL immersion courses will be provided to families with deaf children in Dunedin who have very limited access to learning NZSL. Otago Association for Deaf Children, $27,000
  • NZSL Holiday Programme – one-week long NZSL holiday programme for deaf and hearing school-aged children between the ages of five to thirteen years old who have a deaf family member. Wellington Association for Deaf Children $26,541.15
  • 2016 New Zealand Federation for Deaf Children Family Conference – a weekend conference in June for parents and families of deaf and hard of hearing children with a series of speakers, workshops and activities on various topics around raising a deaf child. New Zealand Federation for Deaf Children, $50,000
  • After school art classes for Deaf children – weekly visual art classes taught in NZSL by a Deaf tutor over two terms in 2016, where Deaf, hard-of-hearing children and hearing children of Deaf adults in Auckland will be provided with the opportunity to explore the visual arts in NZSL. Māpura Studios, $6,285
  • NZSL Proficiency Instrument (NZSL SLPI) Adult Assessment Tool – development and implementation of a nationally recognised NZSL assessment tool and assessment system which enables NZSL proficiency of adults, hearing or deaf, to be assessed. Ministry of Education, $223,391.96 (2015-2016: $146,108.70; 2016-2017: $77,366.96)
  • Standardised NZSL Student Assessment Tools: Phase One – develop a standardised NZSL assessment toolkit that will measure the progress of children aged 3 to 11 years old acquiring NZSL. Combined Board of Trustees of Kelston Deaf Education Centre and van Asch Deaf Education Centre, $80,000
  • NZSL Tutors Professional Development Pathway – a programme of mentoring, coaching and a buddy system for current and future NZSL Tutors. Auckland Deaf Society, $15,000
  • Governance and Leadership Training – develop a governance, leadership and practical project management programme preparing Deaf participants for leadership roles in the Deaf community. Auckland Deaf Society, $21,000
  • Signs: A Deaf Script Writing Workshop – Deaf-led scriptwriting workshops giving Deaf people an opportunity to tell their own stories in their own way in a theatrical medium. Over 9 sessions, participants will research and explore new methods of scriptwriting and documenting Deaf theatre. Last Tapes Theatre Company, $20,750
  • NZSL Championships! – encourage create an increased awareness of the technical and artistic value of NZSL by making NZSL performance a fun competitive event. Run a regional NZSL Championship in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and a final in a major city. Deafradio, $16,749.57
  • At The End Of My Hands – a bilingual theatre performance in Christchurch with three shows and a series of workshops. University of Waikato, $29,620
  • Mo Money – increase financial literacy within the Deaf community by providing free access to online financial literacy courses in NZSL. New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services, $11,500
  • Te Ao Māori workshop for interpreters – three workshops for NZSL interpreters learning strategies on how to work successfully with Māori in interpreted settings. Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand, $5,450
  • Te Reo Singalong books in NZSL – NZSL translation of four award-winning stories in te reo, available free online. The Writing Bug, $15,000
  • Making History! – preserve the visual history of the oldest Deaf Club in New Zealand with digitisation of all material with exhibitions and the production of a film. Deaf Society of Canterbury, $26,991.30
  • New Zealand Deaf Games 2016 – employment of an administrator for the New Zealand Deaf Games in Hamilton during Labour Weekend 2016 who will also focus on future changes to the Games. Deaf Sports New Zealand, $25,000
  • Deaf Rainbow – establishment of a new support group for the Deaf GLBT community in New Zealand with a number of raising awareness initiatives. Auckland Deaf Society, $4,040
  • Brackenridge NZSL – provide weekly NZSL courses for its team of facilitators who work with Deaf people over 42 weeks. Brackenridge Estate, $8,000
  • Negotiating healthcare through NZSL: Experiences of Deaf New Zealanders – create a corpus of authentic stories from Deaf people discussing their experiences of understanding health information. Auckland University of Technology, $51,517

In March 2016, Deaf Aotearoa received $295,000 from the NZSL Fund to support NZSL Week 2016.