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Team member and 2 Sign Language Experts standing in store signing
More than 23,000 New Zealanders actively use New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) in their everyday lives. It’s not only a way in which the Deaf community communicates, but it’s a vital part of Aotearoa’s culture and identity.  New Zealand Sign Language Week is fast approaching on May 8-14, 2023, and to show support, Bunnings Warehouses around the motu are getting hands-on with sign language, encouraging people to #SignItAotearoa.

“New Zealand Sign Language Week is all about raising awareness of our beautiful language and celebrating the Deaf community and its language and culture,” says Erica Dawson, New Zealand Sign Language Week Coordinator at Deaf Aotearoa.

“NZSL is the language I use to communicate every day in all aspects of life. It is part of who I am. Raising awareness enables more understanding and acceptance of diversity. It highlights that we are just like anybody else, and we can do anything, except hear.”

Learn some New Zealand sign language phrases for your next Bunnings visit

New Zealand Sign Language is one of Aotearoa’s three official languages, and in recognition of this, Bunnings team members have been learning some New Zealand Sign Language to help customers in store and to be more inclusive and welcoming to Deaf New Zealanders. In the series of friendly videos, Erica and Jon Tai-Rakena from Deaf Aotearoa, teach some simple and easy-to-learn phrases.

From a cheerful ‘Welcome to Bunnings’ greeting at the door, to helpful questions like ‘Where are the nails?’, Bunnings has incorporated New Zealand Sign Language into stores with the #SignItAotearoa campaign. 

“Historically, Deaf children couldn’t get an education in their own language,” says Jon, who adds that it's vital for hearing Kiwis to learn New Zealand Sign Language from Deaf people as it’s their natural language.

“We’d love to have you learn New Zealand sign language, you can do it too.”  

#SignItAotearoa campaign is part of Bunnings’ commitment to supporting diversity and helping local community groups prosper.