For over 75 years, the Auckland Deaf Society has been serving its role as the hub for Auckland’s Deaf Community in New Zealand. This is known as the Deaf club to the Kiwis (or New Zealanders).
The society was founded by Murray Williams in 1937 as a cultural and social centre for Auckland’s Deaf Community to meet and share their experiences.
Ryan and I came here to do a short presentation on the behalf of MotionSavvy. Ryan was doing the presentation mainly and I was his interpreter translating American Sign Language (ASL) to International Sign. Nonetheless, meeting the locals of Auckland was a bonus for us!
There’s not much to say here because this club is actually too awesome to describe. You have to be here to see it for yourself. They have a nice, open and deaf-friendly space for up to 150 people to mingle around in. There’s a pool table for you to play some billiards with your buddies. Buy some refreshments at their snack bar! Even there’s a bar for you to get your drinks from!
Not only that, they do offer sign language classes to the Auckland community!
On Friday nights, people would come here to socialize and whatnot with old and new faces. The usual attendance would be around 130 people, but that night was somewhat low (to them because I don’t usually see that many committed to come here on Fridays).
Let’s admit it, Deaf clubs are almost extinct in the United States, but even when there is an event for the Deaf community, it’s not easy to get that many to come.
Anyways, there were about 80 people there watching the presentation that Ryan had for the Deaf Community about MotionSavvy. He was giving a demonstration of the UNI Product and he explained the development of SignBuilder and the reason of coming to New Zealand to collect information and data for his research to improve MotionSavvy’s product.
For me, it was an interesting experience translating this presentation for Ryan. I didn’t have problem with it, but it was interesting to find myself translating for another Deaf person. Of course, there were plenty of lags through out the interpretation, but that was beyond our control because I had to watch and comprehend the entire thing in ASL before translating into International Sign. That took time.
Nonetheless, all of the people who watched the presentation dropped their jaws. They were amazed with how sign language works internationally. They were able to see big differences in ASL, International Sign, and their own native sign language, New Zealand Sign Language. Literally, there were three different languages in the room and we all eventually understood everything in the presentation. I was amazed myself too.
After that, Ryan went off to interview two people to collect data for his research. I wandered around a bit and then met few new friends.
We didn’t stay for long and then we went out to the bars with friends at our age. Yeah, most of the people at the club are from much older generation, but I still saw a nice range of ages there though. So, Ryan and I were in the mood to paint the city red, and there was a group of locals of our age going out. We couldn’t say no, neither would we.
Overall, I have to admit that this is probably one of the best Deaf clubs I’ve been to. Feels very inclusive and Deaf-friendly. Be sure to include this in your list of stops when you’re in Auckland, New Zealand.