Sign Language Week kicks off

  • 09/05/2016
Sign Language Week kicks off

Deaf Aotearoa is struggling to keep up with the demand of people wanting to learn sign language.

Today marks the beginning of a week dedicated to New Zealand's third official language.

Deaf Aotearoa CEO Lachlan Keating says it's great to see people using it.

"Incredible to see it being picked up, going from the first year, where we had to bang on people's doors and beg them to allow us to teach them sign language. Now we've got the phone ringing off the hook. It's really picked up strongly."  

Earlier this year the Government invested more than $1 million to the New Zealand Sign Language Fund.

Schools are also being targeted as part of Sign Language Week, which has a double meaning this year -- marking a decade since signing became an official New Zealand language.

Mr Keating says young people are the most eager to learn it.

"The last couple of years we've had a big focus by the Ministry of Education providing better access to sign language, right throughout the school years. There's still some work to be done, but certainly it's heading in the right direction."

More than 750 sign language taster classes are being held across the country this week.