NZSL Board Projects 2019

The NZSL Board has responsiblity for a range of outcomes included in the NZSL Strategy (2018-2023). The description below outlines a number of projects that are active between July and December 2019.


Hono ki te Hāpori Turi – Engagement with Māori Deaf community

The NZSL Strategy (2018-2023) identified Māori Deaf as a priority group.  The NZSL Board wants to develop a strategic approach to further support Māori Deaf in the context of this strategy.  This project is to undertake preliminary engagement with Māori Deaf to develop a comprehensive, Treaty-based approach towards engaging Māori Deaf in the fulfilment of the NZSL Strategy to articulate Māori Deaf needs and aspirations.  The plan will:

  • guide the work of the NZSL Board in maintaining and promoting NZSL with the Māori Deaf community,
  • integrate success indicators for and by Māori Deaf into the Strategy,
  • ensure that Māori benefit equitably from the Strategy and
  • broaden Māori Deaf skills and capability to fully participate as Treaty partners in the implementation of the Strategy.

The Minister for Disability Issues appointed five new members onto the NZSL Board in early July 2019.  During the selection and nomination process, two positions were held for people who could represent the views of Māori Deaf. These remain vacant. The expected outcome of the project is a three- to five-year plan to guide the work of the NZSL Board as it works with the Māori Deaf community in maintaining and promoting NZSL.  From this work we hope to identify two Māori Deaf Board nominees to recommend to the Minister for Disability Issues for appointment.   We expect this project will be completed by the end of 2019

The expected outcome of the project is a three- to five-year plan to guide the work of the NZSL Board as it works with the Māori Deaf community in maintaining and promoting NZSL.  From this work we hope to identify two Māori Deaf Board nominees to recommend to the Minister for Disability Issues for appointment.   We expect this project will be completed by the end of 2019.

  Tyrone Raumati (Ngati Whatua)  

Tyrone Raumati - Project Lead

Tyrone is a familiar face to supporting Māori aspirations and development and has played a pivotal role in many local and national level organisations, currently he serves as an elected board member of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua the Pou Arahi at Hospice North Shore and Board member to Te Roopu Taki Māori (Advisory Committee to Hospice New Zealand). Tyrone has chaired the Te Rōpu Rangatahi o Waitakere, served as a board member of the Massey Matters Funding and Advisory Committee, the Māori Health Gain Advisory Committee (WDHB), Auckland Māori Rugby and the National Māori Youth Council.

 Laura Cherrington (Ngati Hine) 

Laura Cherrington - Project lead

Laura has grown up in a trilingual, tricultural household with the common languages used being Maori, Sign Language and English.  Her eldest sister is Deaf which prompted the whānau to leave the north and settle in Auckland for broader educational options.  She has worked for many businesses in varying capacities mainly concentrating her career within management and consultancy.  Deciding it was time for a career change she then turned her attention back to NZSL completing her studies and graduating as a New Zealand Sign Language Interpreter in 2005.  This has led her into many interpreting settings, currently Laura is working as a Community Interpreter.  She also had involvement in Maori Trusts in the capacity of both Trustee and Treasurer.

















Sign Language Proficiency Instrument (SLPI) Stakeholder Consultation

The NZSL Board has commissioned a stakeholder consultation to review the effectiveness of the interim SLPI assessment system and make recommendations regarding its future implementation.
To progress the NZSL Strategy 2018-2023 Acquisition priority, the NZSL Board seeks the development of NZSL proficiency, particularly for those professionals working with Deaf children.  The purpose of this work is to re-engage with members of the stakeholder group which guided development of the SLPI assessment tool to discuss its implementation, impacts on the workforce, and possible future focus.
This project is due to be completed in October 2019.

Photo of Becky Hadfield Becky Hadfield - Project Lead

Becky has worked with the Deaf Community for the last 32 years, initially in the UK and since 2007 in New Zealand. When leaving the UK thirteen years ago Becky held the position of Strategic Manager for Sensory Impairment Services responsible for developing and providing a ‘cradl- to-grave’ service which included interpreters, communicator guides, social workers, and technical officers for D/deaf and deafblind people in an area which had a population of approximately 4 million people. Since moving to NZ, Becky has worked on contracts evaluating and reviewing services and has held several positions with Deaf Aotearoa, including Chair of the iSign Board and Social Enterprise Manager. Becky is currently Secretary to the Boards of Deaf Aotearoa (DANZ Inc, and DAHL).

Scoping – NZSL service model

The NZSL Board has identified three service provisions that may benefit from centralised management of processes and systems for coordinating, recording, monitoring and reporting on the qualifications and skills of NZSL practitioners.   This project builds on the learning from past commissioned work for scoping and recommendations relating to:

  • assessing adult proficiency in NZSL through formal assessment
  • registration & record management for NZSL tutors and interpreters. 

The services under consideration are intended to support and complement the work of others to provide confidence in quality and optimise the benefit to the NZSL user community.

Wenda Walton

Wenda Walton - Project Lead

Wenda grew up in Wellington in a Deaf family. She works as a qualified interpreter since graduating from AUT in 1996.  She has an M.A in applied linguistics from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW).  Since finishing study, she has also worked off and on for VUW as a research assistant involved in a range of projects including language acquisition and the adult NZSL proficiency interview. At the moment, she is working on a project looking at NZ interpreters in the media.  In the last few years she has also been on an NZSL-focused advisory group for the three district Health Boards (3DHBs) in Wellington which are seeking to improve NZSL access to health services and information.  








NZSL for children and families/whanau

Access to the use of NZSL in the home and family environments is essential for Deaf children and young people.  This project is to enable families to ensure that NZSL is a viable option.  For this to happen, family members need access to learning NZSL and opportunities to communicate in NZSL in different environments. Deaf Children New Zealand will work with their affiliated local associations and individual families to plan and agree opportunities that meet family contexts and needs.

Project lead:  Deaf Children New Zealand (DCNZ)

Deaf Children New Zealand (Formerly the New Zealand Federation for Deaf Children) is the national executive for affiliated regional Parent Groups through New Zealand.  The Objective of DCNZ is to promote, carry out and coordinate measures that support the welfare of deaf and hard of hearing children and their families. Much of DCNZ’s recent work has focused on ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing children have appropriate access to the education curriculum and social experiences within the schooling environment. 

Online Hub

The NZSL Board has investigated the development of an online hub to centralise access to information about New Zealand Sign Language.  The Hub is intended to provide a focal point and shared platform for the NZSL user community.

Following a report completed in 2017 and further investigation into the development of a web platform, the NZSL Board will trial an Online Hub page on the ODI website for one year from July 2019, with a person contracted to monitor and maintain the space with relevant content. This online space will direct users to existing sites with information about NZSL.

Project lead:  Office for Disability Issues

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