New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is a language that is unique to New Zealand.
It is highly visual, and features hand gestures and facial expressions. It has its own grammar and, like any language, it allows the expression of all thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions.
NZSL users can communicate freely with others who use NZSL, and with non-NZSL users, through the services of an ‘interpreter’.
A defining moment for members of the Deaf community around New Zealand came on 6 April 2006. After 22 years of lobbying, the Government finally recognised their language. This means that New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is now the 3rd official language in New Zealand.
Visit the New Zealand Sign Language website to find out more about NZSL.
A fantastic resource for NZSL users and those learning the language can be found at the online NZSL dictionary, which contains NZSL, Maori and English words and an advanced search facility.
In addition, printed New Zealand Sign Language dictionaries are available in bookshops and libraries.
To find out about classes in New Zealand Sign Language and for information on training to be a New Zealand Sign Language teacher/tutor or interpreter, contact the New Zealand Sign Language Teachers Association.