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Thumbs Up! An Introduction to New Zealand Sign Language was developed for the Ministry of Education by CWA New Media, Kelston Deaf Education Centre, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand, and Lift Education, South Pacific Press.

The developers wish to thank Cheryl Anton, Gail Spence, and Sonia Pivac for writing this communicative language resource.

The developers would also like to thank the following people for their contributions and advice during all phases of the project:

  • David Foster, Chief Executive Officer, Kelston Deaf Education Centre
  • Rachel Noble, Chief Executive Officer, Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Sarah Cameron, Kelston Deaf Education Centre
  • Jan Robertson, second language acquisition advisor
  • Fiona Watene, mainstream classroom teacher
  • Rhys McDonald, National Coordinator Learning Languages, University of Auckland
  • Sara Pivac Alexander, Deaf Studies Research Unit, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr Rachel McKee, Deaf Studies Research Unit, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr David McKee, Deaf Studies Research Unit, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Nirvana May, van Asch Deaf Education Centre, NZ Sign Language Teachers Association
  • Barry Newcombe, Principal, van Asch Deaf Education Centre
  • Dave Moskovitz, Technical Advisor
  • Rebekah Hill, Titahi Bay School.

The Ministry of Education personnel who guided and supported this project were:

  • Margaret Hardiman, Senior Adviser, Curriculum Teaching and Learning Design
  • Conny Seiler, Project Officer, Curriculum Teaching and Learning Design

The schools that trialled this resource were:

  • Mission Heights Junior College
  • Henderson Intermediate School

A special acknowledgment goes to the Deaf Studies Research Unit in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, for their collaboration and permission to use drawings from the Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language.

The illustrations are by Shaun Fahey and Scott Pearson.

The producers of the video clips would like to thank all those who assisted with the filming and recording.

Cast and crew

The following people were involved in the filming:


Ben          Lucy          Sonia          Reuben

Max          Ella           Caleb          Caitlin

Zoe          Luke          Joseph        Chelcie

Mia          Dana          Joe             Charles

Josey-Maree          Marianne        


Director                                 Sonia Pivac, Multichannel Media

First assistant director            David Copeland

Director of photography          Sean Rundle

Camera assistant                   Elliot Copeland

Script writer                          Kay Seatter-Dunbar

Production manager               Shirley Langdon

Production assistant               Viktoria Berryman  

Production assistant (studio)   Lili Janes     

Dialogue coach                      Paul Buzzard

The producers would also like to thank the following for their assistance during filming:

  • AIMS Advanced Interpreting Management Services
  • Kelston Girls' College
  • Fullers Group Limited
  • Waiheke Fruit and Veg
  • 14oz Jeans, Karangahape Road store
  • Balmoral Indoor Sports
  • Fast and Loose
  • St Kevin's Arcade
  • Mary McIntyre

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