April 2022 update from President Joanne Klaver

Kia ora koutou,

I am Joanne Klaver, I am the Deaf Aotearoa President. The Executive Board met via zoom on the 5th March, we were not able to meet face to face because of the COVID protection framework level.

In the December Board meeting, the Executive Board appointed Emmie Bensley as co-opted Board member to strengthen Māori Deaf voice on the Board.

At the March Board meeting, the Board approved a motion elevating Emmie from a co-opted to a full Board member.

The Board received and accepted the resignation of Board member, Celia King. Thank you Celia for your contribution to the Board and we wish you all the best.

The Executive Board has three vacancies currently. If any members are interested in joining the Executive Board please apply now.

David McKee has stepped down as chair and board member of DAHL. Thank you David for your contribution over the past 5 years, we wish you all the best.

The Board accepted the nomination of Theresa Cooper to be on DAHL Board, and approved her nomination to be Chair of DAHL Board. We would like to congratulate Theresa. Here is short video of Theresa introducing herself.


Hi everyone, I’m Theresa from Wellington. I would like to thank Joanne for introducing me. As Joanne said, I am now on the DAHL Board, I started in this position in November 2021 to replace David McKee as he announced he would be stepping down, at the last AGM.

I would like to share a little bit about myself- I grew up here in Wellington, I was born Deaf and my parents found out when I was about 2 years old. They signed with me from a very young age. So I have signed all of my life. I have my own family, I have two hearing sons and a husband who is also hearing. We all use NZSL in our home.

I am an active participant in the Deaf community. I work in a range of areas in an advisory capacity to ensure places are accessible to the Deaf community. A recent project I was involved in was the Te Papa NZSL mobile guide. My previous work was with various Government departments and local Government ie City Council, I have worked in advisory roles focussed on Heritage and planning.

All of this experience and expertise will be useful as I now sit on the DAHL board, I am part of the Deaf community and can bring this to the table. I am working for a better future.

Thank you.


The Executive Board met with Tricia Fitzgerald to discuss the Deaf Way 2 report. Thank you to all those who contributed to the meetings and the gatherings that formed this draft report. The first draft is currently being reviewed. The Executive Board met with the Management team to discuss strategic plans. It was very productive and we look forward to meeting with management time to time.

Deaf Aotearoa Executive Board also discussed the WFD Conference which is in Bangkok on 18th April, the topic is ‘Inclusive Education’. The conference has been moved to be online, and we are awaiting to receive final programme.

Thank you all.

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