Whaikaha becomes first Ministry with a name in all official New Zealand languages.

Whaikaha and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Board joint Media Release.

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People has been gifted a sign name on behalf of the Deaf community, making it the first Ministry to have a name in all of Aotearoa New Zealand’s official languages.

The one-handed sign TREE moving upwards reflects the rātā vine, which is part of the Whaikaha visual brand and whakatauākī – “Me he aka rātā ka tipu tahi, ka puāwai tahi kia tū kaha i ngā hihi ō Tamanuiterā – Like the rātā vines growing together and flourishing to stand strong in the warmth of the sun’.

The new sign name was gifted to Whaikaha by the NZSL Board and representatives of the Deaf community at an event at Parliament today.

“It is a great honour to be gifted a name in the beautiful New Zealand Sign Language almost exactly one year since we were established,” Paula Tesoriero, Whaikaha Chief Executive said.

“We know a lot of work went into the process to create this name and on behalf of Whaikaha, I want to thank the NSZL Board, representatives of the community who worked to develop the sign name options, and all the members of the Deaf community who voted on our sign name. 

“Whaikaha was established to be a unique ministry that works in partnership with Māori and the disability community to improve outcomes for disabled people. The fact that we are the first and only ministry to have an official name in NZSL, te reo Māori and English reflects this commitment,” said Paula Tesoriero. 

“Whaikaha having an official sign name tells me it is a Ministry which embraces NZSL and wants to work directly with the Deaf community, including championing Deaf people’s rights,” NZSL Board Chair Rhian Yates said. 

“When a person or organisation has a sign name it means they are familiar to the Deaf community, and when they are gifted a name by Deaf people it recognises and verifies their identity and acceptance into the Deaf Community as extended family. 

“The process to choose a sign name included the development of three options by an NZSL expert group, which included people from the NZSL Board, te rōpū Kaitiaki, Deaf Aotearoa, Deaf Action and the Deaf Studies Research Unit (DSRU) at Victoria University of Wellington.  

“A voting process for Deaf people around Aotearoa then took place to choose the final name to gift to Whaikaha on behalf of the Deaf community,” said Rhian Yates.   

ENDS 

Media contact: media@whaikaha.govt.nz    

Click here to read more at the original web page at www.whaikaha.govt.nz

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