Minister celebrates New Zealand Sign Language Week   30 Apr 2012

Hon Tariana Turia, Minister for Disability Issues, is pleased to celebrate New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week, which began today.

Mrs Turia said “Sign Language is an official language of New Zealand, and I am pleased to announce that this week, we are celebrating and recognising this language which is used by approximately 24,000 New Zealanders.”

Each year Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand organises NZSL Week to help promote the language as well as raise awareness about New Zealand’s Deaf community, and the challenges that they face each day.

“Communication is a key part of our lives, and we sometime take for granted our ability to communicate, to watch TV, to listen to the radio, and to take part in everyday events that sometimes the deaf community are not able to access. So it is timely to remember those 4,000 members of our community who communicate solely through sign language” said Mrs Turia.

“Deaf people can often feel invisible, or misunderstood by the wider community, so it is important that as New Zealanders, neighbours, whanau members we reach out, and support this initiative, and the people within our community.”

Mrs Turia said “I look forward to this week every year, and am pleased that I am able to have a sign language interpreter at my public speaking events this week, starting from tonight with the launch of the Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats.”

“I urge all of us to consider learning and practicing some sign language this week, and to keep an eye out for NZSL events and initiatives this week”, ended Mrs Turia.

(New Zealand Government)

 

 

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