New Zealand Sign Language

What is it?

NZSL is a distinct New Zealand natural language. It is a visual-gestural language, where the hands, the body, and facial expressions are used to make meaning.

NZSL is recognised as an official language of New Zealand through the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006.

NZSL has no written form of expression. You cannot write someone a note in NZSL, but you can record one on video. When NZSL users communicate in writing, for example, by email, they use languages such as English and Te Reo Māori.

NZSL uses signs as the means to communicate. Five elements make up each sign.

  • handshapes
  • location
  • movement
  • palm orientation
  • non-manual signals

Read more about NZSL

Check out more information at:

WestREAP run regular NZSL Level 1 and Level 2 courses with a trained tutor. In 2017 we ran courses in Hokitika, Greymouth and South Westland. Register your interest for courses in 2018.

Registrations are ESSENTIAL. As this programme is so popular, grab your spot now.

Please register your interest with WestREAP by calling 0800 927 327 or Email


What courses would you like to see on offer?
Please let us know by completing our form