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The first known teacher of sign language was Dorcas Mitchell, who taught the children of one family in Charteris Bay, Lyttelton Harbour , from to By she had taught 42 pupils. When the first school for the deaf then called the Sumner Deaf and Dumb Institution was opened at Sumner, south east of Christchurch in , Mitchell applied unsuccessfully for the position of principal. Instead it went to Gerrit Van Asch, who agreed with the Milan congress of deaf educators of to which no deaf people were invited that teaching should be oral only, and that sign language should be forbidden.

He would not even admit pupils who could sign, so only 14 were admitted. This was the policy of the school until A documentary film about the school made in the s makes no mention of sign language. Similar policies were maintained at the schools at Titirangi and Kelston that opened in and Unsurprisingly, the children used sign language secretly and after leaving school, developing NZSL out of British Sign Language largely without adult intervention for over years.

In , "Total Communication" a "use anything that works" philosophy was adopted at the Sumner School, but the signing it used was "Australasian Sign Language" an artificial signed form of English.

NZSL was adopted for teaching in Over the next few years adult education classes in NZSL began in several centres. Also in an interpreter training programme was established at the Auckland Institute of Technology, now known as Auckland University of Technology. This programme was first directed and taught by Dr Rachel Locker McKee hearing and Dr David McKee deaf and came about due to lobbying by the New Zealand Deaf Community and others who recognised the need for safer and more professional interpreting services.

They had as early as sought support for more research to determine the need for sign language interpreters. It contains some signs which correspond to many more meanings than the same number of English words, because of the way signs can be modulated in space and time , sorted by handshape, not English meaning, and coded in the Hamburg Notational System, HamNoSys , as well as pictorially. In , Victoria University launched an Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language [8] based on the original work, which includes video clips of each sign with examples and the ability to search for signs based on features of the sign handshape, location, etc.

This was discontinued in after a joint survey of deaf and hearing-impaired people found a majority favoured captioned programmes. Many Deaf people felt they had been misled by the survey.

There has been no regular programming in NZSL since. The parliamentary bill to approve this passed its third reading on April 6, It was referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee, which reported back to the House on July 18, The use of NZSL as a valid medium of instruction has not always been accepted by the Government, the Association of Teachers of the Deaf, or many parents.

Victoria University of Wellington has courses in New Zealand Sign Language, although it has yet to develop a major program for it. Variants[ edit ] Differences in lexicon in New Zealand Sign Language have largely developed through the student communities surrounding five schools for the deaf in New Zealand:


New Zealand Sign Language or NZSL (Maori: Te Reo Rotarota) is the main language of the deaf community in New cherrish.gq became an official language of New Zealand in April , alongside English and cherrish.gqr, the rights and obligations to use the language are restricted to court proceedings. New Zealand Sign Language has its . As the death toll from the Christchurch earthquake continued to rise today, the remarkable discovery of two time capsules under a fallen statue brought an uplifting distraction for local people.

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