Topic: Education

Jireh & whānau encourages learning Sign with online videos

By Online News - Rereātea, Tepara Koti
  • Wellington
Jireh and mum Coral Winiata

For this New Zealand Sign Language Week (NZSL), a Wellington whānau are doing their part to help raise awareness with their short educational video clips.  The videos have proven to be a popular resource for other families wanting to learn some basic Sign.

Coral Winiata (Ngāti Pūkenga) and husband Paris Winiata (Ngāti Raukawa) have two young girls, Jireh (6) who is profoundly deaf, and Haven (2).

Mum Coral explains that Jireh has two cochlear implants which means she has access to sound but has no speech.  

Both mum and dad use NZSL to communicate with Jireh, while Haven is learning English, NZSL and te reo Māori.

Last year in support of NZSL Week, the Winiata whānau posted a video every day and found it was a success so it encouraged them to do it again this year.  

Coral says the purpose behind doing the videos was to raise awareness of sign language and to encourage people to learn so they can communicate with "their Jireh" and others in the Deaf Community.

She says, "NZSL is one of the three official languages in Aotearoa so it would be awesome to see more people learning the language, even if they are hearing."

This year, their videos for Day 1 and Day 2 have had thousands of shares with requests flooding in for more.

Here's Day One:

Here's Day Two:

As well as today's video about ordering from a McDonald's drive-thru in sign:

Coral says, "It's a bit overwhelming really!  Happy that we are able to promote NZSL and that we are helping raise awareness.  We are thankful for the support and the lovely comments.  Most people are super keen to learn and look forward to the videos to come so it's very exciting!"

Most important about NZSL Week, Coral says, is raising awareness and encouraging people to give it a go because it is a beautiful language.

Coral wants to thank Deaf Aotearoa and Van Asch Deaf Education Centre for the on-going support and learning with their whānau, as well as the huge online support from whānau, friends and followers.

She also says watch this space for more to come and encourages everyone to check out the Learn NZSL website for more information.