On 1 July 2023, Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People marked the first anniversary of its establishment. In the same week, it was gifted a sign name on behalf of the Deaf community, making Whaikaha the first Ministry to have a name in all official languages of Aotearoa New Zealand.  

To mark the anniversary, Whaikaha Chief Executive Paula Tesoriero MNZM made a video for the disability community to share her thanks, update everyone on some of the things that Whaikaha has been up to and to share some of its top priorities over the next 12 months.  

Watch the first anniversary message from Whaikaha Chief Executive Paula Tesoriero video (with captions and NZSL).
Read the transcript of Paula's anniversary message [Word Doc].

Message from Paula Tesoriero about the Whaikaha NZSL sign name:

"On 29 June 2023 Whaikaha was gifted a sign name on behalf of the Deaf community, by the New Zealand Sign Language Board and representatives of the Deaf community at an event at Parliament.  

"The one-handed sign 'tree' moving upwards reflects the rātā vine, which is part of the Whaikaha visual brand and whakatauākī – “Me he aka rātā ka tipu tahi, ka puāwai tahi kia tū kaha i ngā hihi ō Tamanuiterā - Like the rātā vines growing together and flourishing to stand strong in the warmth of the sun”.  

"You can learn how to sign our new NZSL name below and learn more about the gifting ceremony in our NZSL name announcement article.

"Thank you to everyone who has supported us on our journey so far. We have much more to do over the next 12 months and beyond. We look forward to continuing to engage and work with you all."