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Shortland Street supports NZ Sign Language Week

Chris was attracted to dietician Zoe. So was his cousin, Isaac!

It's New Zealand Sign Language Week (NZSLW) from 30 April  - 6 May and Shortland Street is getting behind the cause.

NZSL Week is organised by Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) and it's aim is to recognise and raising awareness of one of our country's official languages.

NZSL Week is the biggest event on the Deaf community's calendar and celebrations are held throughout the country.

The week aims to encourage Kiwis to be aware of, think about, and use sign language in their everyday life.

Back in 2010, Shortland Street featured NZSLW on the show, when Chris Warner bonded with Zoe, mother of a deaf child that he met at an event for Deaf Aotearoa. Zoe's son Dallas was played by real life deaf actor, Zaire Armstrong.

At the time, Michael Galvin described the experience of working with Zaire and his onset interpreter.

"It was strange at first having to talk to someone by talking to someone else, but we got used to it pretty quickly," he said.

This year NZSWL is trying to draw attention to the struggles deaf people face in day to day life.

"If more hearing New Zealanders learnt a couple of simple signs, this would greatly help to break down communication barriers.  It's a fun language to learn," says Deaf Aotearoa Acting Chief Executive Tony Blackett.

To encourage New Zealanders to learn sign language, Deaf Aotearoa will be offering people the chance to learn to communicate without saying a word at free sign language classes.

Visit their website to find out more.

And for our hearing impaired viewers, captioning is available for Shortland Street on all Teletext enabled TV's and set top boxes, as well as on all Freeview HD TVs and set top boxes.

Click here to find out more about TVNZ's access services.


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