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Thumbs Up! An Introduction to New Zealand Sign Language

New Zealand Sign Language Week will now be held between 21 and 27 September. This coincides with the International Week of the Deaf and the United Nations International Day of Sign Languages held on 23 September. 

NZSL Week is organised by Deaf Aotearoa to raise awareness of the language and culture of New Zealand’s Deaf community. This NZ Curriculum Online resource page provides a range of resources and ideas to help you celebrate this important language week at your school. 

This site provides a resource Thumbs Up! An Introduction to New Zealand Sign Language that supports the teaching and learning of NZSL as an additional language in English-medium schools. It is designed for students in years 7–8 working at curriculum levels 1 and 2. 

NZSL is used by members of New Zealand’s Deaf community and those linked with this community, for example, hearing people who have Deaf relatives or interpreters who work with Deaf people.

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is recognised as an official language of New Zealand through the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006. For this reason NZSL has special mention in The New Zealand Curriculum (2007). As Deaf people come to have more people to communicate with, our society becomes more inclusive.

The navigation tabs at the top of this page provide access all parts of the resource. The introduction provides links to background information about NZSL, Deaf culture and parts of this Thumbs Up! resource. You can access individual lessons from units, view video clips from the video gallery, and download worksheets from classroom resources.

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