New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern signs in NZSL to celebrate NZSL week

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, used New Zealand Sign Language in a video to recognize and celebrate NZSL Week. The video was posted by an organization, Deaf Aotearoa.

[Video clip from Facebook/Deaf Aotearoa: Jacinda Ardern: “My name is Jacinda. I’m the Prime Minister of New Zealand/Aotearoa. I’m excited to be involved in NZSL Week again. Congratulations Deaf Aotearoa for 13 years of NZSL Week!”]

It’s a nice display of respect for NZSL from the country’s leader, who won the world’s respect and admiration for her leadership in response to the Christchurch attacks. She regularly gives press conferees with a NZSL interpreter and the ripple effects of her example has reached lawmakers around the world. Last week a Canadian senator said she noticed the NZSL interpreter during a testimony on ASL/LSQ recognition. There’s a global impact.

The President of Deaf Aotearoa, Oliver Ferguson, said they work closely with the NZ government to advocate for improved access and services for Deaf people, which includes raising awareness of NZSL, changing attitudes, and removing barriers.

He explained a bit of history and context behind the week.

[Image of Ferguson with quote] "Deaf Aotearoa established NZSL Week in 2007 and initially funded this via a mix of charity grants and public money. In the last few years NZSL Week has been funded by the Government’s NZSL Board annual funding allocation and the Ministry of Education. As NZSL is an official language of New Zealand, Deaf Aotearoa believe NZSL Week should receive ongoing and permanent funding, similarly to Maori Language Week funding.”]

Thank you for sharing, Oliver.

On the Deaf Aotearoa Facebook page, you can see several clips of government officials and business leaders signing in NZSL.

Clip of PM Ardern:

More info on Deaf Aotearoa: