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First NZ Ministry to have a name in three languages

Women communicating in SIgn Language

Persons with disabilities and whānau are being encouraged to be involved in the naming of the new ministry for disabled people. In a first for government ministries, the new ministry will include New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), reo Māori and English components. The name will replace the current working title – Ministry for Disabled People.

The Governance Group overseeing the establishment of the new ministry is urging the community to be involved in the discussion around the new name and other areas of interest.

Establishment Governance Group Co-chair, Gerri Pomeroy said, “The long-term purpose of the new Ministry is to transform how government serves disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori, families and whānau.

“I’m delighted this ministry will be the first to have all three official languages of Aotearoa in its name, and I encourage people to get involved in developing it.”

Tāngata whaikaha Māori (Māori disabled people) and Māori leaders are coming together to find the pūrākau (stories) that will lead to the reo Māori part of the name. The Sign Language part of the name is being led by the Deaf community of Aotearoa, through the NZSL Board.
The team establishing the new ministry is encouraging people to keep up to date with what’s happening and join the discussion about the English and reo Māori parts of the name through AmplifyU – an online platform developed and managed by disabled people for disabled people.

There are other options for people to connect with the mahi, including hui, freepost, an AmplifyU Facebook page and an 0800 number that will be available in the coming weeks.

“Nothing About Us Without Us will be the ethos of the new ministry and top priorities will be ensuring the disability community has real voice, and self-determination, and that all the mahi is mana-enhancing,” added Ms Pomeroy.

“Hearing from disabled people and making sure their voices have impact is going to be vital in shaping the future. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so please do get involved.”

The membership of the Governance Group, which Ms Pomeroy co-chairs, reflects the partnership behind the establishment of the new ministry. Its equal representation of tāngata whaikaha Māori, disabled people from the wider community and government officials is also a first in New Zealand Government.

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