Annual Report 2022-2023

NZSL Week

This year marked the 17th annual New Zealand Sign Language Week (NZSL Week), an event aimed at raising awareness of one of our official languages, NZSL, and the Deaf community throughout Aotearoa. The theme was ‘Together we can make NZSL thrive’ – ‘Hands up if you’re ready to sign with us!’ The logo received a refresh while maintaining the recognised and trusted branding of NZSL Week that the country is familiar with. We kicked off NZSL Week with our third biannual Parliament Breakfast, which was publicly live-streamed.

After reaching out to the Deaf community for expressions of interest, Jon Tai-Rakena was chosen as the face of NZSL Week 2023. He has been gaining influence on TikTok with his handle @learnnzslwithjon. For the first time, we engaged Maria Foy from Happy Mum Happy Child and Brad Watson from The Hits radio as our hearing NZSL Ambassadors, and they inspired others to learn NZSL by giving it a try themselves, receiving positive feedback. We also collaborated with other influencers such as Jordan – How to Dad, Stephanie Monks, and Keira Lysby, expanding our reach and demographic audience.

Our comprehensive national advertising campaign utilised TV, print, social media, radio, billboards, and websites. We collaborated with Air NZ, resulting in an in-flight video reaching over 450,000 travellers. The campaign received 99 media mentions, with a focus on highlighting Deaf individuals and NZSL. Whitebait Productions collaborated to incorporate NZSL into ‘What Now.’ Online engagement brought 34,364 new visitors to the NZSL Week website in May. Our social media campaigns reached over 600,000 people, promoting a positive attitude towards NZSL. Collaborations with social media influencers expanded the campaign’s reach to over 1.25 million followers. Additionally, we partnered with corporations such as Bunnings, Mediaworks, TVNZ, and Air New Zealand, further strengthening the campaign.

We provided a range of NZSL Week promotional materials, freely accessible via our NZSL Week website and local offices. A social media kit was available for download, offering various digital resources. One-page sheets, hero posters, alphabet cards, fingerspelling cards, and booklets were widely distributed. We developed and distributed a new addition to our popular Let’s Talk booklet series for educational settings and engaged with schools, supported by the Ministry of Education. We directed viewers to the NZSL Dictionary as well as the LearnNZSL.nz and TeachSign.co.nz sites for further learning opportunities. People had the option to pre-order our NZSL Week tees and hoodies before the event, and during NZSL Week, sales exceeded previous years.

NZSL Week 2023 was a resounding success, receiving positive feedback and extensive media coverage, further expanding our reach and achieving its goals of promoting NZSL, increasing its usage, and fostering greater awareness and understanding of the Deaf community’s language and culture.

We are excited to continue the success we’ve achieved thus far and to join you in celebrating our 18th NZSL Week in 2024!

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