Sky Television in New Zealand did it.  They listened to us, the Deaf and hearing impaired people of New Zealand, and went ahead and captioned 13 of their channels for us.  They did this without any Government funding, and with no legislation in place.  They have my greatest respect and I hope yours as well. There are another 5 channels in the pipeline for captioning as well, in the near future.  I think this is the most exciting thing to happen in the Television arena for years.

To find out all about it, head to the Sky Television website to learn what you need and how to turn them on.  At present all the captioning content is available on the basic subscription.  We have asked them to consider a captioning subscription and we will let you know if this becomes available.

The available channels with captioning are:

  • Animal Planet
  • Disney
  • Disney Junior
  • TCM
  • Cartoon Network
  • Crime Investigator
  • Discovery
  • Nick
  • UKTV
  • National Geographic
  • TVOne, Two and TV3

We will keep you posted with updates as they come to hand, not only with Sky but with captioning in general.  If you have any questions, or feedback, just leave us a comment, or contact Sky directly.

Cheers from

The Captioning Work Group


Survey Findings

Remember that survey we asked, begged and cajoled you all to fill out?

The report has finally been completed and distributed.  If you would like to read the results, then you can just click on the link below…

Evidence to support Legislation for Captioning in New Zealand

Thanks to all those who took part, without you, we wouldn’t have a report at all!

Thanks to Marion Bealing of MBData in Australia, who provided her time and computers to host the survey online.

Thanks also to Richard Dunbar of Nexus Research, who was able to take what I had written and made it into something readable!

I’d also like to thank Rachel Noble and Kellye Bensley.  Without their continued harrassment and picking, the report would never have been completed. <grin>!

Robyn Carter

One of the captioning issues in NZ that concerns me greatly is the lack of captions on advertisements that are put out to educate the general public on matters of health and safety.  I am speaking of those advertisements put out by a number of health and government agencies, covering a wide range of issues.  Examples may be advertisements dealing with public health issues such as alcohol and smoking, preventative education such as different types of cancer screening, road and fire safety, mental health issues, and domestic violence.

These are issues that affect all New Zealanders, and this includes, of course, Deaf and hearing impaired people.   Yet currently, we do not have access to the same educational material about them as everyone else.

I do acknowledge that there have been improvements in our inclusion in matters of basic health and safety recently.  The recent Christchurch earthquake was an example of a brilliant captioning effort, coupled with NZSL interpreters on TV (for the first time in a NZ emergency!), for the Deaf people who needed them.  This was a wonderful breakthrough.   I have also seen some health and safety advertisements captioned in the past, but this was only occasional and it appears, to the best of my knowledge, to have inexplicably stopped.

What I do know is that in the past couple of weeks alone, I have seen advertisements on cervical cancer screening, from the Alcohol Advisory Council, on road safety, and a mental health advertising campaign, all uncaptioned.  It seems that captioning of this kind of material is inconsistent at best.

My view is that if an issue is important enough to inform the general public about, then we need to know about it too.  We only want access to the same information as everyone else.

I believe that we need legislation in NZ, as there is in other countries, to address captioning on television generally, and also to ensure that advertisements aimed at issues of health and safety are always captioned.

by Lorraine McQuigg

For the first time ever, we’re going to get live captions on a sports programme – namely the first match of the Rugby World Cup.  This is on TV1 at 7.30pm tonight.  Well done TVNZ. I know there are a lot of very grateful Deaf and Hearing impaired fans out there.  I am just one of them!

This is what I’m excited about…

1).  I’m going to be able to ‘hear’ the commentary for the first time – I might learn something!

2). If there’s an ‘iffy’ try, I’ll be able to get excited about it at the appropriate time!

3). I might begin to understand some of the rules!

4). I might begin to learn who’s who in the All Blacks team!

5). I’ll get to ‘hear’ what the captains say at the end of the game!

Roll on 7.30pm – today will not go fast enough – I finally have something to look forward to, to watch on Television!


That’s a question we’re all waiting for an answer to.

We’ve set up a website that does a count up of time passed, a stopwatch, which we’ll stop when Sky TV in New Zealand start captioning their programmes.

From that website you can share the site to Twitter and/or Facebook to spread the word and help get support for what we’re doing.

You can find it here….  What? No Captions?  Again? S**T!

Make sure you share with all your friends and let’s spread the word!


Stealing for Access

It’s a sad day when one has to admit that a large number of Deaf and hearing impaired people (including myself), are up in arms over the Governments new law (Section 92a) over file sharing/downloading content off the internet.  You can see the discontent amongst our people on Facebook and other social media sites.  It’s very sad.

But the truth of the matter is, this was our ONLY way to access the majority of movies with captioning.  Hearing people can take for granted that if they want to see a movie, they can go and enjoy it at the cinema.  If they miss it at the cinema or want to see it again, they can head down to the DVD store later and pick it up to watch and enjoy.

Deaf and hearing impaired people have as much right as everyone else to that sort of entertainment, but they are denied this time and time again.  Firstly, captioning in cinemas is a joke.  In three city centres, Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch there is a captioned movie only once a month. This is usually held at terrible hours (after midnight or during the day when people are at work) as they don’t want to upset their paying hearing patrons. Not really ideal.  Surely the cinemas could do better than this?  For the rest of the country, captioned movies at the cinema is simply non-existent, and I’m certainly not going to pay the petrol/travel once a month just to see a movie in Wellington or Christchurch, my closest cities.

All our hearing enabled friends talk about the latest movies, how good or bad they are, or how good the actors were.  We, the deaf and hearing impaired, wouldn’t know, as the Cinemas put a stop on DVDs being available for at least 3 or 4 months AFTER the movie came out.  This didn’t always be the case as I can remember being able to get a movie out at the same time it was on at the cinema with English captions when DVDs first came onto the market.  Once again the Cinemas deny our right to access.  Three or four months later we head down to the DVD store to get the movie out – to find that, in a cost saving exercise, whoever bought the movie into New Zealand STRIPPED the English captions off, so once again access to us is denied.

Are you angry yet?  I am.  It’s one of the most frustrating things, when time and time our access is denied.  What everyone else takes for granted, we miss out.

It’s no wonder so many of us were downloading the movies off the internet, complete with captions to watch it in our own homes, just so we knew what the movie was about, so we didn’t feel so dumb when talking to our hearing peers.  Are we not entitled to enjoy the entertainment industry like everyone else?

Yes – it was stealing, but what choice did we have?

I, like many others, are quite happy to pay for movies like everyone else – in the cinema, in DVD stores, but these outlets DO NOT PROVIDE FOR US! Other paid sites on the internet for DVDs, are either – illegal, OR, they don’t supply captions.  We’ve all looked.  But no one is providing this service to us, so we steal for our access.  Do you blame us?

Now the Government has denied this access to us, and once again the Deaf and Hearing impaired community gets left out in the cold.

I think it’s time that there is finally legislation in place to protect us.  Legislation that will ensure that captioning is compulsory across all forms of media – Television, Cinema, DVDs, and Internet.  Only then will we have 100% access.  Everyone that I have spoken to overseas involved in lobbying for captions assures me that until Legislation was in place, nothing was done.

So – I think that’s our first port of call.  The survey we did showed that 90% of people were in support for Legislation – this just simply cannot be ignored.

I encourage you to all to make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission about this.  The more complaints they receive, the more they have to act on it.

To make a complaint please go to the following link

Human Rights Commission for Complaints

It’s pretty simple. Just put the complaint in your own words and feelings. E.g. lack of captions on DVDs and the new barriers Deaf now face with this new law (Section 92a). Show how it affects you and how unfair it is to you. It is best to use your own day to day situation as an example.

Let us know how you get on, and please leave a comment on this blog to show your support.

Captioning in the UK

A friend of mine just shared a link with me which I think should be compulsory viewing for everyone interested in captioning.

The link explains how captioning is done in England, and it talks of the problems that is experienced with Live Captioning, which is basically a software or technology shortfall at present.

You can see it by clicking on the line below…

Captioning in the UK

The link is both captioned and signed. I would love to hear your comments on this.