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.

2012-2014 Biennial Report


Results from 2014 New Zealand Deaf Games

TuriSheildSouthern Zone won the coveted Aotearoa Turi Shield with 34 points to Central Zone’s 29 points and Northern Zone’s 12 points.

Just over 150 athletes took part over three days of Labour weekend, competing in 12 different sports for the Aotearoa Turi Shield. The 12 sports included were: Lawn Bowls, Ten Pin Bowling, Basketball, Netball, Indoor Netball, Touch, Badminton, Squash, Darts, Indoor Football, Indoor Bowls and 8 Ball Pool.

  • Triples Mixed Lawn Bowls: The triples mixed Lawn Bowls title went to Southern with 4 points to Central’s 2.
  • Darts: Central toppled Southern in both Mens and Womens darts to win with a points margin of 10-2. Both Cushla Crosby and Stephen Jourdain claimed Gold for Central Zone. Simon Holt, representing Central Zone won the Most Outstanding Player.
  • Badminton: The Southern Zone team of Gillian Ramsay and Josje Lelyveld  held off Central to win by 1 point.
  • Netball: Southern comfortably toppled Central to take out top spot.
  • Basketball:
    • Round robin play:
      • Central A 31 (Clive Morgan 9, Ben Webb 8) Southern 27 (Ashley Bensley 12)
      • Central A 51 (Ross Freemantle 13, Clive Morgan 12, Ben Webb 10) Central B 26 (Fetuao Ualesi 9)
      • Southern 49 (Dan Williams 12, Ashley Bensley 10) Central B 28 (Terence Chase 14, Fetuao Ualesi 12).
    • Semi-Final:
      • Southern 38 (Ashley Bensley 10) Central B 19 (Fetuao Ualesi 8, Terence Chase 8).
    • Grand Final:
      • Southern 41 (Bensley 15, Daniel Williams 11, Jake leBerge 10) Central A 32 (Theo Waterhouse 11, Ross Freemantle 11).
    • MVP: Ashley Bensley (Southern)
  • 8 Ball Pool: Northern Zone took maximum honours with 9 points from their Men and Women with Central second with 3 points.
  • Ten Pin Bowling: Southern took out the top two spots against Northern to win the Ten Pin Bowling 5 points to 1. The most outstanding player was Michael Baston from Northern Zone.
  • Indoor Netball: Southern A beat Southern B in the final.
    • Round robin play:
      • Southern A 39 – Central 5
      • Southern B 19 – Central 3
      • Southern A 16 – Southern B 13
      • Central 8 – Southern B 13
    • Final:
      • Southern A 14 – Southern B 12
  • Indoor Bowls: Central just managed to beat Southern with a victory of 3 points to 2.
  • Squash: Southern took out maximum points in Squash. with Ben Robertson on top, followed by Daniel Williams and Josje Lelyveld.
  • Touch: Southern held off Central to win Touch.
    • Southern Zone 8 – Central Zone 2
    • Southern Zone 10 – Northern Zone 2
    • Northern Zone 4 – Central Zone 10
  • Indoor Football: Southern comfortably toppled both Northern and Central to take out the Indoor Football at Howzat.