Annual Report 2020-2021

ROBYN’S STORY – From Whangārei to Niue

The requests we receive at iSign are incredibly varied but we can usually predict the type of bookings we might receive. On this occasion however, an unusual request to support one of our Pacific Island neighbours arrived in our inbox. Former Deaf Aotearoa staff member Robyn Ogatau approached the team for support, all the way from remote Niue. Robyn had worked with us for several years in our Whangārei office before she left New Zealand twelve years ago, to live with her husband in his homeland.

She became involved with the community on the island and got to know Rock Vets’ veterinarian, Sasha Farr. Sasha visits regularly to care for animals on the island and assists with maintaining the overwhelming population of cats and dogs. Unfortunately, due to the effects of COVID-19, Sasha was unable to make her regular visits to Niue. But as one door closes, another one opens – Robyn and Sasha put their heads together and agreed on getting Robyn trained up to microchip local animals and help control the ever-growing animal breeding problem. A great opportunity for Robyn to develop new skills and knowledge while assisting the local animals and community.

iSign received a request to provide interpreters for this training – unfortunately this type of interpreting was not covered by government funding in Niue. While unusual to receive this type of request, it was not the first time. iSign strives to enable effective communication, access and participation for Deaf people and works closely with funders to make this happen. In this case, Deaf Aotearoa was more than happy to cover the interpreting costs for the full 12-hour vet training.

New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Niue, Helen Tunnah, was pleased to hear of the cooperation and collaboration between Rock Vets, Robyn, and Deaf Aotearoa.

“We are delighted that Robyn is being assisted to further develop her skills in the care of animals.”

“We would also like to thank Deaf Aotearoa for its generous support to Robyn and Rock Vets that will help facilitate this training.”

Deaf Aotearoa and the iSign team continue to enhance Deaf people’s access to NZSL interpreting services, supporting their rights and access to communication, education, training, employment, communities and so much more.

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