New NZSL Board members appointed
We are pleased to confirm the new membership of the New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Board. The NZSL Board appointments process followed a series of community engagement meetings across New Zealand in April 2019. Five positions are being filled through the nomination process. Congratulations to Catherine Greenwood, Kellye Bensley, Angela Sew Hoy, Natasha Cloete and the Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO) representative Brent Macpherson, who will join the Board for a one-year term from 1 July 2019.
The NZSL Board provides expert advice to government on the promotion and maintenance of NZSL. The work of this group ensures that NZSL is strong and thriving as an official language of New Zealand. All new members are Deaf and provide a diverse first-hand experience of growing up and living in New Zealand using NZSL as their first language. We look forward to working with them over the coming year to further the work of the NZSL strategy (2018-2023).
We have two vacancies for Māori Board members. The NZSL Board will continue to work with the Māori Deaf community to appoint to these positions soon.
We would like to take this opportunity again to thank former Board members – Chairperson Victoria Manning, Rachel McKee, DPO representative Bridget Ferguson, Richard Peri, Lee Bullivant and Chris Blum - for their contributions to establishing the Board and building the strong foundations that we have for NZSL today.
Background information on our new members
- Angela Sew Hoy – Angela has a long history of strategic and governance roles within the Deaf community. Working across the not for profit, private and tertiary sectors has provided Angela with a range of skills in leadership, strategic planning and financial management. Life as a fifth generation Chinese New Zealander growing up in Dunedin will contribute to diverse perspectives on the NZSL Board.
- Catherine Greenwood – Working as an independent contractor, Catherine has a wealth of experience across the Deaf and hearing communities. With a history of participation in a range of organisations, including Auckland Deaf Society and early childhood providers for her children, Catherine brings knowledge of the challenge’s children face accessing and learning NZSL. She was recently involved in delivering a range of projects to understand the strategic issues facing the Deaf community today.
- Kellye Bensley – Involved in a range of community activities and, more recently, a number of government committees, Kellye brings a good working understanding of engagement with government organisations and services to bring about change. Having grown up in Christchurch, Kellye has now settled in Wellington after spending some time overseas. Currently working at Deaf Aotearoa developing and providing services as the Community Engagement leader, Kellye has developed an understanding of the needs of the adult Deaf community and identifying gaps that exist.
- Brent Macpherson – After roles within Deaf Aotearoa, Deaf Education and the Tertiary sector, Brent went on to run a successful film-making business. Recently Brent followed his passion for working with Deaf people in the Pacific to complete a role with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA). He is currently a member of the Deaf Aotearoa Executive Board and the Deaf Aotearoa representative to the World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat, Oceania.
- Natasha Cloete – Natasha currently works to shape and deliver the First Signs Service, funded to provide families with a pre-school deaf child access to learning NZSL. The role demands a high level of skill in communicating with a range of people, synthesising information and developing a strategic approach to meeting the needs of a diverse population. Natasha also brings to the Board experience working with adult NZSL learners and a fresh perspective to build on the priorities ahead.
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