Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has released a new video with a message in sign language to show her support for New Zealand Sign Language Week.
Deaf Aotearoa has challenged the country's leaders this week to learn and sign a brief message to show their support.
In the video the prime minister signs, “Hello my Name is Jacinda. I am the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Aotearoa. Deaf Aotearoa is organising NZSL Week, which the government supports”.
The group says it's “super proud” that Ardern was first leader to take up the challenge.
Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni and chief executive of the Ministry of Social Development, Brendan Boyle, have also taken on the challenge.
In Boyle’s video he signs about his love for rugby.
“I absolutely love rugby. I’m learning some NZSL. Come on, give it a go!”.
NZSL week raises awareness of New Zealand's deaf community and provides a platform for deaf people to proudly promote their language and culture.
It used daily by more than 20,000 New Zealanders and rather than simply being a signed representation of spoken English, it is a separate language with its own structure and grammar.
In celebration of sign language week, interpreter Tania Simon will be alongside Rereātea presenters in the studio at Māori Television on Friday, to interpret the entire show.