This week we are celebrating New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week at Fire and Emergency and we want everyone to give one of Aotearoa’s two official languages a go.

We’re putting out the challenge for all our people to try signing one of our fire safety messages.

Check out the above video of five of our people giving it a go. We’d love to see some of our teams giving it a crack. Once you’ve had a few practise attempts, grab someone’s phone, film your best effort and send it in to

We’ll compile the best ones and put them on social media at the end of the week to show our support for NZSL Week.

Deaf Aotearoa’s theme this year is “NZSL is Essential(external link)”. For firefighters, it’s essential they know two key signs, as demonstrated by our Chief Executive and National Commander, Kerry Gregory, in the below video. The signs are:

  • Are you OK?
  • Is anyone inside?

Knowing these signs could help save a life, so we would encourage you all to learn them.

We also have a poster [PDF, 86 KB] which demonstrates both the signs that you can download and print off to put up in your station or office.

In addition to this, there are also 25 signs to learn at work(external link).

Kerry will also complete the Leaders’ Challenge with Deaf Aotearoa, joining the likes of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in doing their part to promote and encourage a basic understanding of NZSL.

NZSL became an official language of New Zealand in 2006, joining te reo Māori (1987) as one of two official languages. English is considered a de facto official language due to its widespread use, but has never been legally recognised as an official language.  

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