Executive Board Update – 29th March 2020

Deaf Aotearoa’s Executive Board, CEO, Leadership Team and Staff are working hard, working long days and nights, working today, tomorrow and every day including weekends until the Covid-19 situation is under control. The Executive Board updated you yesterday, and there were some updates from some Facilitators as well. There will be more updates next week and as often as possible we will continue to update you all.

We have been receiving some emails, and some emails have been sent to Ministers, criticising the work of Deaf Aotearoa and the Government.

It is your right to do that, however we want you to understand what happens when you do this, and to think about whether your actions are actually helping Deaf people get what they need during the Covid-19 situation.

When unnecessary emails and criticism is sent to Deaf Aotearoa or the Government, it affects and slows Deaf Aotearoa’s and the Government’s efforts to provide good support and services to the Deaf community.

Deaf Aotearoa and Government staff want to focus on solutions and improving access to information and services, but these staff must divert to respond to the criticism.
The staff are doing their best to support the community. It is important to remember that words have consequences. A wrong interpretation can make things worse and therefore harder for Deaf Aotearoa staff to support the community.

It’s important to point out that many of the things that we are being told we should be doing, are already in place, being implemented or are being planned. It’s good to see that the ideas that are being proposed are the same or similar to what we are doing or planning to do.

We want to let you know this, so next time when you email or meet with Deaf Aotearoa, we encourage you to be constructive and work with us on problems and solve them. We are there to support you and we need you to support us. We want to work with the Deaf community. If you want to understand things better, please talk to us and ask us questions. The Covid-19 pandemic shows that collaboration is needed now more than ever before.

If there is a problem, we need to hear from you with clear facts and evidence – share your concerns with us and check if we are aware of it and what we are doing. Please do not be negative. DO NOT make assumptions or demands. Assumptions are risky and creates more problems so it becomes impossible to solve. We need solutions too, not just problems. Work with us, give us solutions, you get results faster. Such as asking for updates instead of assuming we are doing nothing. Please do make suggestions.

Otherwise there is more problems created and it means more time diverted from staff to work on this rather than solving problems that can be solved.

Misinformation is dangerous. Correct information is absolutely important in this situation. We cannot have people make up numbers of how many Deaf people there are or need help – once we know who the people are that need Deaf Aotearoa’s support, we will do everything we can to support them – we will collaborate with other Deaf community groups and businesses to get the best outcomes. Deaf Aotearoa is doing our best to get accurate information because government require precise accurate information that is based on evidence. Any wrong estimates of numbers of Deaf people needing support, information, devices etc can harm our efforts in solving problems.

When you see the good work that Deaf Aotearoa are doing, please take the time to acknowledge and thank the staff – we are all working hard and doing our best for you!

We can have diverse opinions on options and solutions, and these are all valuable and helpful. With a strong united voice, we will be able to keep improving and get the best outcomes for the Deaf community.

Thank you.

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