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New Zealand Sign Language Week

New Zealand Sign Language Week takes place this year between 8 and 14 May. This resource page provides ideas and resources that teachers and students can use to get involved.

Sign Language Week logo 2017.

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) became an official language of New Zealand in 2006. This year we are celebrating 10 years of NZSL's official language status and our 10th NZSL Week. 

"New Zealand needs more people who are fluent users of the language and who have an appreciation of deaf culture. By learning NZSL, hearing students are able to communicate with their deaf peers and participate in the deaf community. Skilled communicators may find career opportunities that involve working with deaf people."

The New Zealand Curriculum, p. 14.

Latest resource

Learn NZSL
Learn NZSL is a free learning portal on New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Watch, learn and practise how to use NZSL in common situations through the use of videos, resources, and exercises. 

Deaf Aotearoa resources and activities

Deaf Aotearoa focuses on promoting awareness and advancement of New Zealand Sign Language to help strengthen the rights of deaf people.

Deaf Aotearoa on Facebook
Follow Deaf Aotearoa on Facebook to find out about NZSL Week events. During this special week Deaf Aotearoa will launch their new First Signs website. They will also release a series of short videos starring Destyn, a boy who attends Kelston Deaf Education Centre and was born in the same year that NZSL became an official language.

Sign Ninja
Sign Ninja is a free online game that helps you learn NZSL. You can play Sign Ninja on computers, tablets and smart phones. 

Taster classes
Deaf Aotearoa provides free 45 minute NZSL classes to schools and other organisations each May. Classes are limited, so sign up now.

Free downloads
Download a fingerspelling alphabet poster to help you learn how to sign your name. NZSL Week posters are also available to download.

Ministry of Education resources 

Thumbs Up! An Introduction to New Zealand Sign Language
This resource supports the teaching and learning of NZSL as an additional language in English-medium schools. It is designed for students in years 7–8 working at curriculum levels 1 and 2. The resource includes units, videos, and worksheets.

The King's Birthday book.

Ready to Read e-books
The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with Deaf Aotearoa, have developed six e-books, from the Ready to Read series. These apps are available on iTunes (for Apple devices) or GooglePlay (for Android devices) and are free to download.

In your resource rooms ...

Just Like Everyone Else – School Journal Level 3, April 2012
This report describes how students from St Pius School learned how to use NZSL to communicate with their classmate Zoe. It explains how signing helped Zoe enjoy school routines and the fun of school life. Photos, diagrams, and additional information about NZSL provide an insight into the way that people who are deaf can participate fully in everyday life. 

Other resources

Have you seen?

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing and learning
This inclusive education guide supports teachers to review and adjust their classrooms to make them more effective for communication and social interactions and to develop successful strategies to facilitate learning.

New Zealand Sign Language Teachers' Association
The NZSLTA website provides NZSL resources, captioned movies, and information about events and competitions.

Updated on: 22 May 2017


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