Author Archives: Deaf Sports NZ President

New Zealand wins Bronze in Swimming at the Asia Pacific Deaf Games

Santana Chapman with her two Bronze MedalsTaoyuan, Taiwan, 10th October 2015 – Santana Chapman (17) of the Coastal Wanderers Swimming Squad, Kapiti Coast, has won two Bronze Medals in the 50m and 200m Breaststroke at the 8th Asia Pacific Deaf Games in Taoyuan, Taiwan. These are New Zealand’s first ever medals at the Asia Pacific Deaf Games, which has attracted 1,500 athletes from 22 countries.

Santana has been supported by her family, Grant Campbell – Swimming Coach, and Daniel Harborne – President for Deaf Sports New Zealand. These Games have provided an opportunity for Santana to meet and compete with other Deaf and hard of hearing athletes. “Representing New Zealand at the Asia Pacific Deaf Games has been a great experience for me, being able to meet new friends, and of course to be able to come home with two Bronze Medals! All my hard work has paid off.”

Santana also recorded three new personal best times; 0.55 seconds off her 50m Breaststroke time to record 40.45, 0.90 seconds off her 100m Breaststroke to record 1:31.74, and 2.20 seconds off her 200m Breaststroke time to record 3:17.32.

The 8th Asia Pacific Deaf Games is Santana’s second international swimming meet, the first being the 22nd Summer Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2013. She now has her sights set on the 2017 Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey.

Daniel Harborne, Deaf Sports New Zealand President, is looking forward to sending a strong New Zealand team to the Deaflympics. “We are excited to see Santana compete again at the 2017 Deaflympics in Turkey. We hope to have another successful New Zealand team, and bring home more medals”. 


Proposed changed to the New Zealand Deaf Games

The Deaf Sports New Zealand Executive Board are proposing some major changes to the New Zealand Deaf Games. We have created 7 video clips to explain the major changes to the New Zealand Deaf Games Bylaws.

You can read the DRAFT New Zealand Deaf Games ByLaws here.

Major points of difference are:

  • Change of dates – Previously held during Labour Weekend, but proposed to be held at the End of January.
  • Splitting the New Zealand Deaf Games into two sections:
    • Competition – Deaf Athletes only, competing in sports with a full National Associate Member for the Aotearoa Turi Shield points.
    • Social Grade – Open grade for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Hearing (CODA and Interpreters) athletes to compete in social sports.

If you wish to compare the DRAFT New Zealand Deaf Games Bylaws with the CURRENT New Zealand Deaf Games Bylaws, you can do this here.

We have plans to visit different towns and cities in New Zealand to give you an opportunity to have your say and give feedback on these changes. We will announce the dates soon.

Roller Derby boot camp ‘a stake in the ground’ – discrimination is not okay

By Lex Garbutt (Deaf and HoH Roller Derby Skaters Worldwide)

On Saturday 21st February, Stefanie Mainey of the London Roller Girls and Team England held a skills-sharing boot camp hosted by the Richter City Roller Derby League in Wellington, New Zealand – the last stop in her 7 week tour of Australia and New Zealand.

In 2014, Stefanie made contact with the league regarding the possibility of doing a boot camp – offering to waive her fee and asking that the proceeds of the camp be donated to a Deaf charity. This happened after the story of Marcia Taylor (Meat Train #4711), a Hard of Hearing (HoH) skater from Richter City, hit the news in late 2014 surrounded by claims of discrimination against her from the Management of Team New Zealand.

Mainey, a professional athlete in the sport, noted that the camp was “the perfect thing to end on.”

“I saw the discrimination which Meat Train had been subject to and one of my cousins is Deaf and I just thought how upset I would be if someone had done that to her. When I saw what initially had happened I posted something on Facebook saying it’s frustrating that people aren’t talking about this more, we need to talk about when things like this happen otherwise we just allow it to carry on. And then off the back of that I was just like, well, talking’s one thing but doing something is even better.”

For Marcia, it validated that what had happened to her was outside the norm of an acceptable way to treat people, and disabled athletes in particular. “It was (Stefanie’s) way of supporting me and, I think, putting a stake in the ground and saying ‘discrimination in the sport is not okay.”



Meat Train attended the boot camp and got a lot out of it, despite a technical mishap which saw her hearing aid battery go flat. “At the beginning of (the boot camp) I was completely deaf, I was just sort of following what other people were doing but that was ok because I’m used to doing that – not being able to hear, following, just being a few clicks behind people.”

The Deaf charity that was chosen to receive the funds was Deaf Sports NZ, a not-for profit organisation supporting Deaf Sports and Deaf athletes to achieve on the national and international stage. The President of Deaf Sports NZ, Daniel Harborne, came along to the boot camp to accept the funds on behalf of the organisation.

Catherine Caudwell (Bubble O’Kill, Head Coach at Richter City) said she had learned a lot from having Meat Train as part of the League, including “how to get owned! My first introduction to Meat Train was me like sliding against the stands and being like “what happened?”

She also had some advice for Leagues gaining Deaf or HoH members, saying “we’re the kind of sport where people who are excluded from participating in other sports find each other and form a community. So don’t turn people away. That just sucks. Don’t discriminate you know? It’s a good rule. Do research and find out how other leagues have done it because it’s not impossible. Coming up with some signs that we use at training is actually great for everyone.”

In a very cool twist to this feel-good story, it appears that Mainey has put her hat into the ring to bout against the first ever Deaf and HoH team in Las Vegas at Roller Con 2015. Stefanie will be skating for the ‘hearing team’ and admits she has no idea what to expect. “I’ve played against teams that speak a different language and you know we have no idea what they are talking about on the track but they know what we’re talking about on the track. This is will be my first game where I’m playing against an entire team of people who are Hard of Hearing or Deaf. I should imagine that their teamwork will probably be a lot better than ours because they won’t have to rely on verbal cues and everything will be subtle hand movements.”

Deaf and HoH Roller Derby WorldwideAll the best for the game Stefanie and thanks for your amazing support of Deaf and HoH athletes!

Don’t forget to check out Deaf and HoH Roller Derby Skaters Worldwide on Facebook:

Photo credit to: Geex Quad Foto

New Zealand Deaf Games at Easter Weekend?

Tena koutou, Tena koutou, Tena koutou katoa

Open letter/NZSL to

Deaf Sports New Zealand (DSNZ);
New Zealand Deaf Rugby Football Union (NZDRFU); and the
New Zealand Deaf community

My name is Darryl Alexander. I am Deaf and living in Wellington. I am passionate to play, watch and talk about sports. Any kind of sports. I am writing/signing to share an idea about our two main Deaf tournaments in our country. National Deaf Rugby Championship and NZ Deaf Games.

  1. I will discuss about the idea of the letter/NZSL.
  2. I will discuss why the idea is a positive move.
  3. I will discuss about the background of my letter/NZSL, why I am doing this.
  4. How can we move forward with this idea and make the change?

Currently, the National Deaf Rugby tournament (hosted by NZDRFU) is held during Easter Weekend. They play one game on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they are played every year. NZ Deaf games (host by DSNZ), tournament held every two years during Labour Weekend. They have a wide range of sports such as, Touch, Lawn Bowls, Basketball, Badminton, Indoor Bowls, Darts, Ten Pin Bowling, Squash, Indoor Netball, Indoor Football, 8 Ball Pool, Golf, etc. All these sports are played within 3 days from Friday night right up to Sunday evening.

The idea I want to discuss in this letter/video is to swap the weekends over. I will discuss why.

Rugby is a winter sport. Players join their local hearing rugby clubs (or choose not to) and they keep fit and train at their hearing clubs. Once the season is over, they can still train in their regional zones and build up for the National Deaf Rugby tournament during Labour Weekend. Then, we can play or watch good quality rugby in comparison to the Easter weekend. Additionally, the players can be selected to represent NZ, and they only allowed to do that if they are playing rugby at their local club. Three games in 3 days.

All of the sports in the NZ Deaf Games are summer sports except Netball (but there is Twilight Netball over the summer). It makes a lot of sense to train/play sports during the summer time to build up for the NZ Deaf Games at Easter time. The training will be paid off when players are selected for NZ to go to Deaflympics which is the Summer games. 12 sports in 4 days over Easter give us a lot of time to watch the Games over the weekend.

I am doing this because Deaf and hearing impaired players and supporters participating in NZ Deaf Sports are one of the important factors to keep the Deaf community alive. Deaf Studies Research Unit from Victoria University of Wellington did a survey study recently and found that New Zealand Sign Language, the language of the NZ Deaf community, is now at risk. The Deaf community maintains the language through socialising and education. In this case, it doesn’t matter if you are a player, coach, water person, or supporter. Being involved in Deaf sports = socialising can help maintaining our beautiful language.

So, the next step I would like you all to think about this idea and perhaps have this idea proposed at the next DSNZ and NZDRFU AGM (or special general meeting?).

What do you think? I look forward to have this discussion.

Kia ora

SportsPerson of the Year Award 2014


Who do you think deserves to get the Sports Person of the Year Award for 2014?

You must be a member of Deaf Sports New Zealand to make a vote,
and you can only vote for current Deaf Sports New Zealand Members.

Deadline for entries is Wednesday 31st December 2014.



Seeking Executive Board Members for 2015-2016

ExecutiveBoardDirectoryDeaf Sports New Zealand is seeking candidates for the Executive Board for the 2015-2016 Term.

The Executive Board meets at least every two months via Online Video Call (Google Hangouts) and at least twice a year for face-to-face meetings in conjunction with local workshops. Because of the nature of communications, it will be expected that you are proficient in New Zealand Sign Language and have access to a broadband internet connection.

At the moment we have only two Executive Board members plus a President. Our Constitution states that we need a minimum of 4 Executive Board members, so we are looking for at least 2 new members to join the team.

For a job description, please visit this link.

To apply for the Executive Board, fill in the application form and send it back to us.