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Instead it went to Gerrit Van Asch, who agreed with the Milan congress of deaf educators of 1880 (to which no deaf people were invited) that teaching should be oral only, and that sign language should be forbidden.

At the first reading in Parliament, on June 22, 2004, the bill was supported by all political parties.

It was referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee, which reported back to the House on July 18, 2005.

The inquiry has focused on working with key government agencies and the Deaf community around the inquiry's three terms of reference 1) The right to education for Deaf people and potential users of NZSL.

2) The rights of Deaf people, and other potential users of NZSL, to access communication, information and services, and the right to freedom of expression and opinion, through the provision of professional NZSL interpreter services and other NZSL services and resources.

In 1997 a Certificate in Deaf Studies programme was started at Victoria University of Wellington, with instruction actually in NZSL, designed to teach deaf people how to competently teach NZSL to the wider public.

Also in 1992 an interpreter training programme was established at the Auckland Institute of Technology, now known as Auckland University of Technology.

) is the main language of the deaf community in New Zealand.

It became an official language of New Zealand in April 2006, alongside English and Māori.

Other than a one-off course run in 1985, this was the first time a professional training programme with a qualification was offered in New Zealand.

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