About TeachSign

The TeachSign website is designed as a one-stop hub for NZSL teachers to access information and resources about teaching NZSL, particularly in the area of community education.

This website has been instigated and sponsored by the TAB Book Project Committee, namely Lynette Pivac, Shona McGhie, Dulcie McKie and Mary Johnson.  This group was called the TAB sub-committee and initiated the publication, distribution and sale of The NZSL Basic Handbook and A Dictionary of Signed Synonyms, in order to meet the demands of NZSL students requiring NZSL handbooks, and to sponsor local workshops and NZSLTA national conferences over the years for the benefit of NZSL teachers, as well as a computer and laptop for the NZSLTA.

See below for a historical overview of the TAB Book Project Committee.


After the incorporation of the NZSLTA on 25 June, a group of Auckland NZSL tutors decided to set up a new local body called Tutors Auckland Branch (TAB) in October.


A sub-committee was set up to create an NZSL handbook for NZSL students.  The project committee were Lynette Pivac, Penny Went, Dulcie McKie, Ngaire Doherty and Mary Speirs. Some volunteers were recruited to work on this project every Saturday.


After one and a half years’ hard work, the Basic NZSL Handbook containing 480 signs illustrated by Stuart Howard was launched (see photo). Thereafter Lynette Pivac set up a mail-order business for the TAB with the assistance of Carol Brady to distribute and sell the handbooks for the next six years.

From left: Penny Went, Mary Speirs, Dulcie McKie, Lynette Pivac, and Ngaire Doherty.

From left: Penny Went, Mary Speirs, Dulcie McKie, Lynette Pivac, and Ngaire Doherty.


The proceeds of handbook sales helped to start another handbook project, with the aim of more more sign drawings.


The TAB subcommittee changed its name to TABPC, to focus on NZSL resource development.
TABPC agreed to Lynette Pivac making a new NZSL Tutors Handbook (guidelines) to give guidance to NZSL tutors teaching in New Zealand.


The handbook called A Dictionary of Signed Synonyms, consisting of 580 signs, was published and launched on 26 January at the 6th NZSLTA National Conference.

TABPC decided to set up a new separate charitable body called Auckland Sign Language and Resources Charitable Trust.  This trust was incorporated in November for the purpose of caretaking monies for NZSL resource development.


These two handbooks for NZSL students are now distributed and sold through Deaf Aotearoa’s local offices for a commission fee.


TABPC agreed to cease the publication of handbooks due to the creation of the accessible NZSL Online Dictionary, launched in 2011.


TABPC appointed Sara Pivac Alexander to investigate the NZSL Level One teaching and resourcing needs of NZSL teachers.  A report is published in March.


TABPC sponsored a number of NZSL resource development projects based on the survey report.  Sara Pivac Alexander and Victoria Lessing worked on these projects.


TeachSign website and other NZSL teaching resources are launched at 13th NZSLTA National Conference in July.


TeachSign Units 1 and 2 are updated. Approximately 230 English phrases related to classroom materials are translated and filmed for the benefit of NZSL tutors.


Approximately 2,400 drawings illustrated by Shaun Fahey is uploaded to the TeachSign website.


TeachSign website undergoes major changes (funded by the NZSL Board). Some new features include a centralised database of NZSL teaching, online membership system, detailed account of NZSLTA history, and a learners' section. Within this section, there are new class listings (members can advertise themselves), comprehensive level one homework site, NZSL Tutors Directory, and links to learning resources.


Last updated: 11/3/2019