New Zealand Sign Language

This area is about learning to communicate using New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) – usually with people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

NZSL is based on combinations of hand shapes and movements, facial expressions and body language.

Studying NZSL involves learning to use a 'visual' language to communicate.

NZSL is also about the Deaf community and its culture.

NZ university majors related to this area

Though in the same subject area, they may be very different.

Did you know?

NZSL is much closer to British Sign Language than American Sign Language.

NZSL became one of NZ's official languages – in addition to English and Te Reo Māori – in 2006.

Examples of career opportunities

Most entail additional learning (lifelong learning!).

  • NZSL translator
  • NZSL interpreter
  • Health care worker
  • NZSL teacher
  • Working with deaf or hard-of-hearing people
  • Academic

Income and employment prospects


127% of national
median earnings


Further study
Other or unknown

Figures based on young domestic graduates 5 years after graduation. Source: Ministry of Education.

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