Covid 19 coronavirus: Sign language goes full screen for Covid-19 briefings

Sign language interpreter Jenn Gilbert in action during Prime Minister Jacina Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s recent media update at the Beehive Theatrette. Photo / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand Sign Language interpreters will be the main image on screen in a new TV channel showing Covid-19 briefings for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Deaf Aotearoa and iSign launched the NZSL full-screen broadcast on Monday in partnership with TVNZ and Kordia. It will show the daily Government Covid-19 announcements and press briefings.

Available on Kordia Channel 200 on Freeview TV and online at, the NZSL interpreters from the daily broadcasts will now be more accessible with the interpreter on screen taking up a larger view, with the speaker shown in the ‘picture in picture’ in the smaller box on screen.

It comes at a crucial time as New Zealanders prepare for restrictions to be eased back to Level 3 and get further details about what life will look.

Deaf Aotearoa chief executive Lachlan Keating says that the new channel will provide improved access to the daily media briefings and announcements for the deaf community.

“We’d like to thank the teams at TVNZ and Kordia for working closely with us over the past couple of weeks to increase access for the deaf community.

“TVNZ has always listened to our advice, but they have been limited with what they could provide so it is wonderful to be now also working with Kordia in providing improved access to the daily media briefings through NZSL.”

“I also want to acknowledge the NZSL interpreters who are working every day on the media briefings.

“They are providing access to thousands of deaf New Zealanders and are ensuring the deaf community are well informed during the daily updates.”

More than 4000 deaf New Zealanders currently use NZSL as their first or preferred language and Deaf Aotearoa is seeking feedback from the deaf community about this channel so it can ensure improved access continues.

For more information, and to send feedback:

Kordia is a New Zealand government-owned broadcast and telecommunications company.
Kordia has been providing radio and television broadcast services for over 60 years, driving progress and innovation across all area of production and providing media solutions to get content into homes and businesses across the country with some of its customers including TVNZ, Mediaworks, Radio New Zealand and Sky Television.

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