NZ Sign Language Week

By Arnika Hazelwood and Rosa Miles-Seeley | Posted: Thursday June 1, 2017

We celebrated NZ Sign Language Week in May.

Rosa Miles-Seeley, a fluent signer, spoke in Assemblies and organised for Groups to learn a few signs each day. We all enjoyed the posters and alphabet on display in numerous places around our campus. A highlight was the Sign Language Taster course, held over a lunchtime where Geoff Makinson taught students how to sign.  

See Rosa's account below:

Walking past a cohort of Year 13 physics students- (whom I have always regarded as highly formidable and remotely scary for their in depth understanding of Newton’s laws); to my surprise one wheeled around and proceeded to tell me that I was a giraffe. My first reaction to this was not hurt- as you might expect- but rather incredulity and pleasure when I realised that he had signed this to me in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). The remainder of the excited physics student throng continued to excitedly gesture in sign “mari, elephant, house, helicopter”. Seeing the excitement on the faces of this usually scholarly and subdued students was only one of several encounters I had with students using NZSL during NZSL week.

NZSL week was from the 8th-14th of May 2017 and Logan Park High school celebrated it in a variety of ways. I gave a small spiel in assembly about various facets of Deaf culture, whilst interpreting what I was saying in New Zealand Sign Language. Each day new signs were featured in the newsletter for student to learn- “I love you” and “pavlova” being the most popular. 

The school corridors are still manifesting posters featuring some simple signs and the NZSL alphabet and two weeks later we had the delightful experience of hosting a NZSL taster class. Thomas Geoff Makinson a member of the local Deaf community came in and gave fifteen or so students a brief introduction into NZSL. This meant that the class could; introduce themselves, talk about their family and have knowledge of social media and school signs by the end of the session. Thank you to Deaf Aotearoa for making the celebration of this week possible

Rosa Rhiannon- organiser

If you would like to check out some more signs go to the NZSL online dictionary

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