Hon Tariana Turia
Minister for Disability Issues
Tuesday 3 September 2013
Minister Turia welcomes Sign Language Inquiry Report
Minister for Disability Issues, Tariana Turia launched the Human Rights Commission Sign Language Inquiry Report at
Parliament today stating that both the Government and the community can do more to ensure that NZ Sign Language as an
official language is given much more significance.
‘A New Era in the Right to Sign - He Houhanga Rongo te Tika Ki Te Reo Turi’ has a number of key recommendations for the education sector, for young people and regarding access to information as
well as promotion and maintenance of New Zealand Sign Language.
“I commend the leadership taken by the Human Rights Commission and its involvement of the hearing impaired community
throughout the inquiry. A new era in the right to sign is a fitting title marking the next phase of development for government agencies and wider society,” says Mrs Turia.
“But it is not just for government to take action. Each of us, in our daily lives, can embrace New Zealand Sign
Language. It is an interesting and vital part of our diverse nation.”
“Everyone, at all levels, is responsible for changing their attitudes and behaviours, systems and policies, so that New
Zealanders who live with hearing impairments can freely go about their lives without unnecessary limitations in their
“This has been the enduring message of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, the Disabilities Convention, and of course
what disabled people and families tell me. This inquiry provides a path forward to improve the inclusiveness of our
society so that those with hearing impairments can have greater opportunities in life, on a more equal basis with their
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) will be forming a New Zealand Sign Language experts’ advisory group to work
together with government agencies over the next six months. They are tasked with coming up with a work programme and
priorities to promote and maintain New Zealand Sign Language in the longer term, and to provide advice on longer term
mechanisms to advance the work programme.