New Zealand Sign Language Board appointments

The Ministry congratulates three new appointees to the New Zealand Sign Language Board.

The trio – Erica Dawson, Kim Robinson and Monica Leach – were approved by Cabinet on Monday, 6 May. They were put forward by Minister for Disability Issues Louise Upston after a nominations process organised by Whaikaha last year.

The NZSL Board was established in 2014 as a non-statutory advisory board to ensure the development, preservation and acquisition of NZSL, and to provide advice to help the Government meet its obligations under the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006.

As well, Whaikaha acknowledges the appointment of existing Board member Catherine Greenwood as the new Board Chair for one year. She replaces outgoing Board Chair Rhian Yates, and the Ministry thanks Rhian for the work he has done in that role.

Also, David McKee’s term will be extended for one more year to help support the work under way to progress the refresh of the NZSL Strategy, which is one of the top priorities for the Board.

The Strategy guides the work required by the Board and government agencies to maintain and promote the use of NZSL by Deaf people and other NZSL users.

The Board will use information gathered from the Deaf and NZSL community over the past three years to help inform the development of the new Strategy.

Additionally, it will work alongside stakeholders and government agencies to identify other key priorities, as well as undertaking broad community engagement later this year.

Other work to be progressed by the Board includes progressing a professional NZSL interpreter standards system to ensure government and Deaf NZSL users can access high-quality NZSL interpreting services, and reviewing funding policies and procedures to ensure strategic investments are impactful and community grants are accessible, particularly to Turi (Deaf) Māori. 

Whaikaha would also like to acknowledge the work of the current NZSL Board members, who have contributed significantly to developing a strong foundation for providing strategic direction and expert advice to government and the community on NZSL. 

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