New Zealand Sign Language Interpreting Scholarship

The New Zealand Sign Language Interpreting Scholarship is designed to support people to study Auckland University of Technology's Bachelor of Arts: New Zealand Sign Language – English interpreting course.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Students
  • Tertiary Education Organisations
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau

About the scholarship

Applications are now open for New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreting scholarships.

This scholarship provides:

  • $3,000 per year of study upon successful completion of the year (paid to you)
  • one-off travel and accommodation assistance to a maximum of $1,500 on top of the scholarship payment (paid to you) if you have had to relocate to Auckland to attend the course.

The programme supports a Bachelor of Arts: New Zealand Sign Language (English interpreting) from Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

About the programme

You must be enrolled in AUT's Bachelor of Arts: New Zealand Sign Language (English interpreting) course to be eligible for this scholarship.

Bachelor of Arts: New Zealand Sign Language (English Interpreting)  AUT(external link)

Contact information

If you have any questions regarding the degree, please contact AUT.

Dr George Major
Programme Leader


To be eligible for this scholarship, you must:

  • be accepted into the AUT’s Bachelor of Arts: New Zealand Sign Language (English interpreting) course
  • study full time
  • be interested in working in the education sector as a NZSL interpreter
  • be a New Zealand citizen or have rights to reside and work in New Zealand indefinitely or permanently
  • not be repeating a failed course.

We will give priority to applicants who:

  • demonstrate proficiency (NCEA level 1 equivalent or higher) in te reo Māori, a Pasifika language, or a spoken language in addition to English that is widely used by children who attend early childhood centres and schools in New Zealand
  • provide evidence of that proficiency by way of a formal qualification or written reference from a tertiary institution, a kaumātua or a community leader.

What to include in your application

Your application must include:

  • your resume/CV
  • a cover letter outlining:
    • why do you want to become a qualified NZSL interpreter
    • your strengths and experience, personal and professional, that will help you to become an effective NZSL interpreter
  • academic transcripts of your highest and most recent qualifications
  • written references from 2 of the following:
    • a member of the Deaf community
    • your sign language tutor or lecturer
    • your employer
    • your high school teacher or lecturer.

Assessing your application

We will use 4 factors to assess your application. You will be scored on how well your application meets each of these.

Make sure your cover letter includes information about each of the following factors:

  1. your future commitment to working as a sign language interpreter
  2. your academic ability
  3. your level of financial hardship
  4. your understanding of the philosophy and values of deaf culture.

The decision to grant or not grant a scholarship is final.

Your responsibilities

If you are granted this scholarship, you must meet certain conditions. The specific terms and conditions will be listed in your letter of offer.

In brief, you must:

  • enrol in your courses at the university
  • plan your study and workload for the year
  • pass your course papers
  • email us at if any of the information you provided in your application changes – this includes your employment status and contact details, if you fail any papers and if you change your proposed study.

Failure, withdrawal and breaks in study

If you:

  • decide not to start the course after you have enrolled, you must re-apply for a scholarship in the following year. Your scholarship will not be deferred for a year
  • fail a paper you will need to re sit and pass the paper before you receive your scholarship payment
  • want to study part time email us and let us know this change in your study
  • withdraw from study part way through the qualification, you will need to pay back all academic fees that we have paid for your study
  • need to take a break from study due to unforeseen circumstances, email us and the university. You may ask for a study break of a maximum of 1 year.

Required disclosures

Your application must disclose any convictions you have had unless they are covered by the Criminal Records (Clean Slate Act) 2004.

This is required to ensure that you would not be prevented from gaining future employment with the Ministry of Education.

You must declare all of your convictions if you have:

  • been convicted of an offence within the last 7 years
  • been sentenced to a custodial sentence (for example, imprisonment, corrective training, borstal)
  • been ordered by a court during a criminal case to be detained in a hospital due to your mental condition, instead of being sentenced; or
  • been convicted of a 'special offence' (for example, sexual offending against children, young people or those mentally impaired)
  • not paid in full any fine reparation or costs ordered by the court in a criminal case
  • been indefinitely disqualified from driving under section 65 of the Land Transport Act 1998 or earlier equivalent provision.

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