New theme for NZ Sign Language Week 2014

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

NZ adopted NZ Sign Language as an official language in April, 2006 alongside Māori and English, but a Kelston Deaf educator recognises the Māori language and Sign language as official and English as universal.

Carl Ross states, “The Māori language and Sign language are the two official languages of NZ, and according to legislation, English is more of a supplement language.”

"Celebrate, Communicate, Connect" is the theme of this year's NZ Sign Language Week, but this is what Kahurangi Mackey says about the Māori Deaf community.

“It's the pride of acknowledging who you are, we're privileged to learn in Māori, but at the moment we not much Māori in sign language so this year we'll be doing Māori sign language.”

The Kelston Deaf Education Centre strives for excellence in taking the Māori Sign Language to new heights, and it's a work in progress, but Carl stresses the point that Māori Deaf should produce signs for Māori Deaf.

“I've seen hearing people make up their own sign language and to me, it's wrong. It's like Pākehā telling Māori how to speak the Māori language.”

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