Annual Report 2021-2022 – Senior Policy & Advocacy Officer: Rachel Hargreaves

Senior Policy & Advocacy Officer: Rachel Hargreaves

Rachel joined Deaf Aotearoa at the beginning of July 2022. Rachel brings over twenty years of experience working for central government – most recently working with the Establishment Unit to set up the new Ministry of Disabled People, and before that, working with MSD policy and ODI as well as the NZSL Board. At ODI Rachel reviewed government policy to ensure that a disability perspective was included, and for the NZSL Board she prepared the briefing asking the Minister for Disability Issues to review the New Zealand Sign Language Act, which the Minister did agree to. Rachel has joined Deaf Aotearoa at a busy time with several legislative changes coming up that affect the lives of Deaf people, eg the Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media Bill, the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill, and upcoming changes to the New Zealand Sign Language Act.

Rachel is also involved in some key advocacy projects, such as improving lift safety for Deaf people (in partnership with Norman, Disney and Young – a company who provide engineering solutions to ‘make spaces work’), and ensuring that Deaf cultural competency is included in the Ministry of Justice’s Family Violence and Sexual Violence Response Training Package. Rachel wants to influence government Policy so that the needs and views of the Deaf community are considered as a matter of course and not as an after thought or not at all. Rachel is a keen user and supporter of NZSL and has been learning NZSL at Victoria University and at other community classes since 2019. Rachel’s work helps Deaf Aotearoa improve outcomes for Deaf New Zealanders by ensuring Deaf people’s views are heard and understood by the government and other key stakeholders.

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