Signing tutor seeks to bridge silent divide

17:00, Jul 20 2014

Lisa Masters wants to bridge the communication divide between the deaf and hearing communities.

Masters will be teaching beginners the New Zealand sign language at Puke Ariki next Sunday in a bid to engage the wider community with the language.

She is also holding a session in Waitara on August 7.

Masters told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday, through translator Evelyn Kennedy, that the sessions were good for teacher aides, people working with the disabled, or anyone who wanted to communicate with deaf people.

The 1 -hour classes will run for eight weeks.

Students will be immersed in the deaf culture - the way the community communicates through body language and facial expressions.


Pupils will be taught the finger alphabet and how to introduce themselves using basic sign language.

She said it did not matter how many signed up for the first class.

"Maybe three or four, we'll start," she said.

Intermediate and advanced classes will be offered if the first class is successful.

Masters used to teach sign-language classes at Adult Community Education Taranaki but Witt but funding cuts meant classes could not continue.

Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand community relations officer Niki Jenkinson said Masters was the only official sign-language tutor in the Taranaki region.

"She has been our official tutor for years and previously ran these classes through ACE, Taranaki," Jenkinson said.

But there is no sign-language interpreter in Taranaki and Whanganui's Bernadette Cutelli is called on for her services.

Cutelli will be signing at the show, Nick: An Accidental Hero, held at TSB Showplace this Wednesday.

People interested in the classes can text Lisa Masters on 027 784 2589 or email

Taranaki Daily News