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New Zealand Sign Language Week

9 May 2023



Three hands each showing the letters "ABC" in sign language.

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week is an annual event that celebrates the rich culture and history of New Zealand’s deaf community and promotes the use of NZSL as a national language. The week is typically held in late May and is organized by Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand and supported by the New Zealand Government.

NZSL is the primary language of the deaf community in Aotearoa New Zealand and is used by an estimated 25,000 people in the country. It is a unique and complex language that uses hand gestures, facial expressions, and body language to communicate. NZSL has its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, and it is distinct from spoken languages such as English and Māori.

= The week is marked with a variety of events and activities, including NZSL language classes, deaf culture workshops, and public education campaigns.

There are many ways to get involved and support NZSL Week. You can attend events and activities organized by Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand, or you can participate in online events and campaigns.

By raising awareness about NZSL and the deaf and deafblind community, we can create a more inclusive and accepting world for everyone. On NZSL Week and every day, let’s stand up for the rights and dignity of deaf and deafblind people and promote the use of NZSL as a national language.

At Blind Low Vision NZ, we offer special services for people who are deafblind. To find out more, call 0800 24 33 33 or email info@blindlowvision.org.nz.


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