Deaf Education and community cohesion

  • The NZSL Board was set up by government to provide expert advice on the matters relating to NZSL.  The membership of the Board is fluent NZSL users with the majority of the Board being Deaf.
  • Deaf and hearing people appointed to the NZSL Board, are full members of the Board, and all have opportunity to represent the Board in various tasks undertaken by the Board
  • The NZSL Strategy is very clear on the importance of Deaf Education in the maintenance and promotion of NZSL. 
    • Acquisition describes the need to Deaf children to learn NZSL at age-appropriate levels, with other children and from adult users of the language
    • Use and Access also describe the importance of NZSL being shared between different age groups to ensure the intergenerational transmission of the language
  • In recent community engagement meetings, we heard many ideas and concerns raised about access to NZSL for Deaf children. All comments will be gathered and shared by the NZSL Board in conversations with the Minister for Disability Issues and the Ministry of Education.
  • The Board are pleased to have the opportunity to support, advise and advocate for the maintenance of NZSL in the work of Ko Taku Reo by having a representative on the Advisory Group to the Commissioner.
  • The Board is confident that our representation on the Advisory Group will highlight the priorities in the NZSL Strategy and share the Deaf communities’ goal to provide more consistent access to NZSL in education. 
  • We look forward to working with representatives of parents of Deaf children, professionals in Deaf education and the Deaf community as Ko Taku Reo progresses important governance and leadership decisions.
  • The Board is supported by the current and previous Minister for Disability Issues to strengthen the commitment and collaboration in the Deaf sector, including Deaf Education. 

  • This is achieved by working with and respecting different people and groups. 
  • Collective Impact is supported by the Board’s membership which includes Deaf and hearing people working together.  What is critical is the use of NZSL and understanding barriers faced by the Deaf Community.
  • At this time, the Board understand the desire for strong Deaf leadership as part of conversations about Deaf education to improve access for Deaf children.
  • The Board also recognise hearing allies who work alongside the Deaf community to promote and maintain NZSL.

If you would like to get in touch with the NZSL Board, please email 

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