May 2024 key messages from the NZSL Board

The NZSL Board met on 10 & 11 May 2024, and wish to share the following information:
  •  On the first day of the NZSL Board’s two-day meeting, Whaikaha hosted a powhiri, where the new 3 Board members – Erica Dawson, Kim Robinson, and Monica Leach – were welcomed.

  • The outgoing Chair Rhian Yates was acknowledged for his time on the Board and leadership for the past 5+ years. Catherine Greenwood was welcomed as the incoming Chair.

  • Board members Jaime Brown and Joanne Becker were chosen by the Board as co-Deputy Chairs for the next six months.

  • The Board expressed gratitude to departing NZSL Team member Milan Morrison, for her work in the background supporting the NZSL Board. The Board wishes her all the best for the future.

  • The main focus of this meeting was the Board’s consideration of all applications for the recent NZSL Community Grants round and look forward to informing the applicants and the community of the Board’s decisions over the next few weeks.

  • The Board received an update from Whaikaha on the Board’s work programme and current contracts. This included an update on the Interpreter Standards work, with options for progressing this work expected to be presented at a future NZSL Board meeting this year.  Thank you to those stakeholders that have met with Whaikaha staff to discuss their views and share information. 

  • Of note, Whaikaha will not be running a further round of SLPI assessments this year, so that the NZSL Team can concentrate efforts progressing work on a new NZSL Strategy. The Board will look at the way in which the SLPI assessments is delivered at a future Board meeting this year.

  • A key piece of work the Board will consider at its next meeting is advice on ways to improve the accessibility of the Community Grants process for the 2025 round. The Board want to ensure the process enables a wide range of applications for NZSL projects that would benefit the community. We look forward to sharing these improvements with the community later in the year.

  • Since the establishment of the Ko Taku Reo Advisory Group in 2022, the NZSL Board has had a representative in that group. As it is unclear what the future of the Advisory Group will be, we have decided to withdraw our representative from that group, and will instead focus on our influences in other areas. This includes building our direct relationship with the Ministry of Education and having representatives on the MOE's Deaf Education SAG.  We have also invited the Commissioner of Ko Taku Reo to meet with the Board as a collective to discuss the current issues.

  • The NZSL Board encourages culturally appropriate engagement with Advisory groups and governance structures that prioritise the Deaf voice.

  • The Board wishes to take this opportunity to remind the community that the appropriate way to contact the Board (or any individual Board member) is through the Board’s email address nzsl@whaikaha.govt.nz.   This can be done through NZSL (e.g. by using videomail.io) or English. 
  • I will finish up today by passing on the Board’s congratulations to Deaf Aotearoa on a hugely successful and busy NZSL Week. The Board also wishes to acknowledge and congratulate the recent NZSL Award recipients.

  • To conclude NZSL Week, the Board joined events at the Wellington Deaf Society on the evening of Friday 10 May. We enjoyed the NZSL events including listening to WFDYS President Emilo Christensen’s presentation. Thank you to everyone around the country who joined in to support events to promote our beautiful language.

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