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News > New Zealand

New Zealand Celebrates Sign Language Week

  • NZSL advertisement. May. 8, 2023.

    NZSL advertisement. May. 8, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@EHFNewZealand

Published 8 May 2023

"NZSL Week 2023 is about supporting NZSL to thrive..."

On Monday, New Zealand citizens have started the celebration of the annual Sign Language Week, which is a nationwide commemoration of the New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) as a recognized language of the nation.


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According to the Minister for Disability Issues, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, the government has pledged to enhance the New Zealand Sign Language Act to facilitate the advancement of Deaf leadership and encourage broader adoption of NZSL.

"NZSL Week 2023 is about supporting NZSL to thrive, breaking down barriers and promoting it as a language for everyone," she said.

Furthermore, the minister said that while NZSL is now more recognized and accepted by society, a decreasing percentage of the deaf population is learning and using the language.

The minister also stated that additional efforts are needed for the safeguarding and advancement of the deaf community, through establishing a strong collaborative partnership between the government and the deaf community.

According to Radhakrishnan, the NZSL Board has performed a critical function in supporting community-driven efforts aimed at promoting the vitality of NZSL, including initiatives such as NZSL Week, the NZSL Dictionary, and juvenile events.

"We have come a long way with sign language, and seeing it reflected in everyday life, however, we know there's further work to do," Radhakrishnan said.

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