A trilingual sign language interpreter is stressing the importance of sharing culture with hearing impaired tangata whenua so they stay connected with Maori society.
Stephanie Awheto is one of only two trilingual Maori interpreters in New Zealand.
The Ngati Ruanui and Taranaki iwi woman said without sharing cultural knowledge tangata turi (deaf Maori) will continue to feel left out.
Ms Awheto said although there had been lots of positive developments over the last 20 years, more needed to be done.
She said in order for any knowledge to be shared trilingual interpreters were pivotal.
Ms Awheto said there needed to be a three-pronged attack strategy - more trilingual interpreters, more knowledge around New Zealand Sign Language and more access to Te Ao Maori.