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New Partnership with Merge NZ Enables Kiwis to Learn Sign Language

May 13, 2021

NZSE College is supporting Merge NZ to deliver courses in New Zealand Sign Language via their 4 NZSE College campuses in Auckland and Hamilton. The courses will be delivered through NZSEG’s Professional Training arm, Skills Campus in a not-for-profit capacity.

More New Zealanders are being given the opportunity to learn sign language, through a new partnership with the New Zealand Skills and Education Group (NZSEG), and Merge NZ.

This week marks New Zealand Sign Language Week (May 10-16), and NZSEG Chair Brijesh Sethi says the two-year partnership is a great initiative to promote the country’s official third language to more New Zealanders.

“We are going to work closely with Merge NZ to promote sign language to the wider community and identify opportunities to offer sign language programmes to more New Zealanders through our NZSE College Campuses. In essence we want to make sign languagemore accessible and available, and we’ll help accommodate this through our 4campuses across Auckland and Hamilton.”

“The value of sign language was evident during the COVID lockdown, where sign language professionals interpreted the important information being given daily to those in our deaf community. Knowing sign language can be life changing and lifesaving,” he says.

Merge NZ’s Chief Executive Victoria Lessing is deaf herself and wants the partnership to promote the importance and value of more New Zealanders being able to do and understand sign language.

“There are about 400,000 deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders that rely on sign language to communicate and participate in society. Sign language gives us a voice on issues that matter,” Ms Lessing says. “Like other languages, learning sign language also opens the door to new cultures, people and understandings.”

People interested in learning sign language can visit NZSEG’s Skills Campus website to sign up. The first two eight-week, face-to-face courses being offered are in Hamilton and Auckland and start this month. More courses are being planned.

Under the partnership, Merge NZ provides the tutors and NZSEG promotes and hosts the courses. The courses are being run not for profit, with spaces limited.

NZSE - New Zealand Skills and Education College is part of the New Zealand Skills and Education Group.

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