New Zealand Sign Language
New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is the language of New Zealand’s deaf community and was made an official language by the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006. NZSL can express concepts from both English and te reo Māori but is itself a distinct language. Find out more about NZSL, NZ Sign Language Week, and browse NZSL resources.
About NZ Sign Language Week
New Zealand Sign Language Week this year took place from Monday 8 to Sunday 14 May 2023. The theme was: "Together we can make NZSL thrive".
Deaf Aotearoa organises this celebration of one of the country’s official languages, New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). NZSL Week helps promote the language and aims to raise awareness about New Zealand’s Deaf community. It also provides the Deaf community a chance to
put their hands up and
be heard, and to stand proud as Deaf as well as promoting their language and culture.
New Zealand Sign Language
New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is the language of New Zealand’s deaf community and was made an official language by the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006. NZSL can express concepts from both English and te reo Māori but is itself a distinct language.
Rachel McKee, New Zealand Sign Language, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 September 2020)
There are a range of useful New Zealand Sign Language resources on the Deaf Aotearoa website, including Let's talk booklets with 25 signs to learn at work, with your family, Māori concepts, for medical situations, and for the weekend.
- Visit the Deaf Aotearoa webpage
- Like Deaf Aotearoa on Facebook
- Follow Deaf Aotearoa on Twitter
- Follow Deaf Aotearoa on Instagram
Library NZSL resources
- Find resources to help you learn New Zealand Sign Language.
- Explore our resources about deafness
- Find information in our collection on education for Deaf people.
- Access Video provides streaming captioned world-class documentaries, award-winning educational films, and helpful instructional videos on every known subject.
- BWB Books The New Zealand Sign Language Collection is a sign language reference collection including accounts of the deaf experience.
- Check out organisations and clubs for Deaf and hearing impaired people listed in our community directory CINCH.
Videos from Deaf Aotearoa
Ministry of Education New Zealand in collaboration with Deaf Aotearoa, have produced a number of children's Ready to Read eBooks that use NZSL. They can be purchased from iTunes (for Apple devices) or GooglePlay (for Android devices).
The Ministry of Education also has Thumbs Up! An Introduction to New Zealand Sign Language, a resource supports the teaching and learning of NZSL as an additional language in English-medium schools.
The New Zealand Federation for Deaf Children is a useful website for parents.