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Introduction to New Zealand Sign Language Week 2024

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New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week is a yearly event organised by Deaf Aotearoa to raise awareness of the language and culture of New Zealand’s Deaf community.

Every year, the theme is different to promote one of New Zealand’s official and unique languages. It is the language of New Zealand's Deaf community. Like other signed languages, NZSL uses the hands, the body, and facial expressions (including lip patterns) to express meaning. NZSL has its own grammatical structure and ways of expressing ideas.

Read more about NZSL week

This year’s theme is: An Aotearoa Where Anyone Can Sign Anywhere

You can communicate through signing anywhere, from the top of our mountains, to underwater in our seas, from opposite ends of a noisy nightclub to through windows. Whether at home, school, or work, there’s so much to gain from learning!

The week ahead

This week we’ll be celebrating the Deaf community’s language and culture while bringing awareness and displaying the resources we’ve available.

Topics throughout the week:

  • Tuesday – History of NZSL Week
  • Wednesday – Sign Anywhere! In your office space, in a meeting or making a cuppa
  • Thursday – Interpreters, how to communicate respectfully using this service
  • Friday – Hands up if you’re ready to sign with us! – Link to NZSL Week Official Page, challenges and games

To kick off NZSL Week, watch Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier introduce himself in NZSL.

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