Last week we celebrated NZ Sign Language Week, one of New Zealand's three official languages.

NZSL has become more widely visible over the past couple of years, partly thanks to the interpreters presents at Covid-19 briefings. NZSL was recognised as an official language of New Zealand in 2006. Approximately 20,000 people in New Zealand use New Zealand Sign Language as a form of communication and of this, approximately 4,600 are Deaf.

The theme this year was “NZSL is essential”.

The meaning behind this theme is multifaceted: being drawn on to put a spotlight on essential workers who are Deaf; as well as the fact that NZSL is essential for Deaf people in education, health, workplaces and to be able to participate equally in society.

This year DPA staff accepted the challenge of learning to sign "Happy NZ Sign Language Week". If you go to our Facebook page you can see how some of us got on.