Community and Games Grand Lifestyle

NZSL: Facts

Are you interested in learning more about New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL)? Here are some facts about NZSL:

  • NZSL week is 6th – 12th May 2019, this year is the 13th
  • NZSL is used daily by more than 20,000 Kiwis with around 4,000 of those who are Deaf. You can read about one family learning NZSL here.
  • There are around 70 million people using various versions of Sign Language according to the World Federation of the Deaf.
  • There are between 130 and 300 different signed languages around the world – these are all very much languages in their own right!
  • NZSL is its own language with its own structure, it is not a direct representation of verbal English.
  • This week there are free 45 minute Taster Classes however these are so popular and have already filled! There were 40 requests in 2007 and over 1000 this year. So check back again next year or check the links below for further resources to help with your NZSL.
  • NZSL became an official language in 2006 which is also the year of the first NZSL week. This year’s theme is “My Language, My Place” which is to encourage Kiwis to consider NZSL their own.
  • Deaf Aotearoa is a non-government organisation who help people achieve their NZSL aspirations through various services: First Signs, Youth, Employment, Hauora and iSign.

Here are some links where you can find a little more information too.


NZSL online dictionary

Learn NZSL

First Signs

Rhymes with Sign

You can also find some First Signs for families here.

Happy NZ Sign Language Week!


Photo: Supplied

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.