Staff Spotlight: Richard Peri is the Māori Deaf Development Officer at Deaf Aotearoa.
Richard was born in Gisborne and has three brothers and 4 sisters. His family spoke te reo Māori and English at home. At the age of about three he became Deaf from German Measles.
He went to school at St Dominics in Feilding and later on went to the Sumner School for the Deaf in Christchurch. He did not learn much, if any, te reo Maori during his time at school. When he finished school he went back to Hawkes Bay for a few years before moving up to Auckland.
Richard has a passion for rugby and joined a Rugby Club in South Auckland in 1977. One day there was a newspaper article about rugby that mentioned that Richard was Deaf. Someone from the Deaf Community decided to go out and find out who this Deaf person was. From there, Richard was introduced to the Auckland Deaf Community and started going to the Deaf Club and meeting other Deaf people.
He worked for the Deaf Association in the 1990s for a few years before teaching NZSL for several different Māori organisations. In 2014, he was appointed the Māori Deaf Development Officer at Deaf Aotearoa.