NZSL Fund - Community grants and strategic projects

NZSL Fund Round 6 recipients Twelve more NZSL community projects have been approved for grants from the NZSL Fund, totalling $327,721 for the 2019/20 financial year.


NZSL Introduction video

Introduction to NZSL video of 'Twelve more NZSL community projects have been approved for grants from the NZSL Fund'

The Government supports the maintenance and promotion of NZSL, as an official language of New Zealand, through the activities carried out by the NZSL Board. The NZSL Board has a total of $1.645m per annum to allocate to activities designed to maintain and promote NZSL. Its priorities are set out in the NZSL Strategy (2018-2023). Round 6 of the contestable process for community-driven initiatives was open in August 2019.  This is the sixth year that the Board has run a contestable process for funding, giving anyone in the Deaf or NZSL user community the opportunity to put forward their ideas. The NZSL Fund also supports a range NZSL Board strategic initiatives. These include the Online NZSL Dictionary, NZSL Week and work to develop standards for NZSL Interpreters. Community initiative contestable funding


Community Grants

NZSL Community Grants video

One-year projects between $5,000 - $80,000 are received through an annual contestable funding process managed by the Office for Disability Issues (ODI).  This funding round was the first to be opened in the first half of the financial year since the fund was established in 2014/15. Future funding rounds will be advertised in advance to enable allocation early in each financial year.  For the 2019/20 contestable funding process, the Board received a total of 17 applications. The Board recommended to ODI that 12 applications be funded or partially funded at a total value of $327,721. Selections were based on alignment with the Board’s NZSL Strategy (2018-2023) language planning priorities.

Here is the complete list of successful recipients, a description of the project and the total funding (excl GST) received.

NZSL fund round 6 receipients video

Deaf Action, $19,500. A range of NZSL resources will be created to discuss a range of New Zealand icons, such as the kiwi and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Otago Deaf Society, $12,500. The Deaf club will deliver a range of activities to generate the use of NZSL between Deaf adults, children and their families.

Deaf Society of Canterbury $42,000. Deaf clubs around New Zealand will be invited to participate in workshops to grow the capacity and capabilities of local communities to develop Deaf Spaces for NZSL use.

Julie-Anne Bode $15,871.  Silent Camps have been delivered in New Zealand to provide immersion opportunities for NZSL learners.  This is the first time one will be held in Southland and led by professionals who work with Deaf adults, children and their families.

Waikato University $19,900. Equal Voices Arts and Waikato University will deliver professional performance training and opportunities to the Deaf community.

Deaf Society of Canterbury $12,500. The Deaf club will deliver a range of activities to generate the use of NZSL between Deaf adults, children and their families.

Deaf Sports NZ $11,750.  The Sports Summit brings together Deaf sports club to establish a network to grow participation in Deaf sports teams and events. 

Auckland Deaf Society $50,000. Friends for Young Deaf (FYD) is a programme developed by Deaf people to grow leadership within the Deaf youth population.  A range of FYD camps for Deaf youth will be offered in 2020.

Auckland University of Technology $19,900. Qualified interpreters will be invited to attend workshops targeting information about medicines to increase the quality of Deaf people’s access in pharmacy settings.

Kelston Deaf Education Centre $72,800. A High School Summer Camp will be offered to Deaf students develop NZSL skills along with knowledge of Deaf culture and community

Otago Association of Deaf Children $40,000. A range of activities will be available for Deaf students to develop NZSL skills and meet other Deaf children in the region.

NZSL with Eddie $11,000

learn NZSL with Eddie will teach NZSL in three Northland regions.

Strategic Projects 

Further funding can be allocated to strategic projects to achieve the outcomes of the NZSL Strategy (2018-2023); core activities that maintain and promote NZSL.

Funding for this work has been committed for three years to NZSL Week 2020-2023 and the maintenance of the online NZSL Dictionary. 

In addition, $86,753 has been approved for one-year for the New Zealand Sign Language Teachers Association (NZSLTA) to develop a five-year strategic plan and to deliver professional development for NZSL teachers to lift the quality of instruction.

The Board also approved in principle a range of other proposals to strengthen the NZSL sector and will undertake further work to identify a preferred supplier:

  • NZSL Sector Development workshop to promote collaboration between NZSL professions.
  • The continuation of a Māori advisory group, experience of Māori Deaf Rangitahi (youth) to gain experience with the NZSL Board to support succession planning and funds to increase the capacity of the Māori Deaf community.
  • Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) assessment service to measure the fluency of NZSL users. 

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