NZSL Board - Questions and Answers

On this page you will find answers to common questions about the NZSL Board.

What is the composition of the NZSL Board and how is it determined?

The Terms of Reference for the Board specify its composition. The  NZSL Board has up to 10 members in total, all of whom are NZSL users, and a majority of members are Deaf NZSL users.

The Terms of Reference specify that the NZSL Board is to include, at a minimum, two members who identify as Māori and one member representing Deaf Aotearoa. The nominated representative for Deaf Aotearoa is Bridget Ferguson.


What processes are used to appoint the members?

The Office for Disability Issues convened a selection panel with  representatives from the Ministries of Social Development and Education, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand and an individual from the Deaf community to provide advice to the Minister for Disability Issues.

The panel reviewed applications and conducted interviews with some  nominees. When making their recommendations to the Minister, the panel considered the expectations of members’ skills and experience set out in the Board’s Terms of Reference, and made their recommendations  accordingly.

Once the Minister had agreed with the Selection Panel’s recommendations, they were discussed by the Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee (APH) and the appointments were made after the following Cabinet meeting.

Why were four people employed by Deaf Aotearoa appointed to the Board?

Members of the board serve as individuals in an independent role, and only one member represents Deaf Aotearoa on the board, Bridget Ferguson. Members are appointed to the board on their individual knowledge and experience of NZSL.

It is worth noting that Deaf Aotearoa employs a large number of highly skilled and experienced users of New Zealand Sign Language and is the largest organisation working in the NZSL community. Many applications were received from its staff and board members.

How will the views of other NZSL users be heard by the NZSL Board?

The Board’s Terms of Reference contains an expectation that it will consult with experts from outside of the Board to ensure that broad perspectives regarding NZSL issues are achieved. The panel believes that expectation means that all sectors of the NZSL community will have a voice within the Board.

How long is the term for NZSL Board members?

The first members of the NZSL Board were appointed for terms of three or four years from the date of appointment in order to provide for staged  turnover of members. The standard term for future board members is three years.

I was nominated for the NZSL Board, but was unsuccessful. What should I do to improve my chances of being appointed to the Board in the future?

Everyone’s situation is different of course, but the Selection Panel’s observation was that many nominees would benefit by obtaining more  experience in governance roles, specifically roles that operated as strategic oversight of an organisation, rather than managerial control.

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