Region Information: Australasia and Oceania

Region Information: Australasia and Oceania

Australasia & Oceania region updates

WASLI was established in 2005 and is divided into eight regions.  The Australasia & Oceania region is made up of various countries in the region, only two of which have national associations of interpreters, Australia and New Zealand however contacts exist with interpreters and their associates in the region.  The role of regional representative is currently shared between Australia and New Zealand with nominated representatives serving a term of 4 years.   The current WASLI regional representative is Sheena Walters who is from Australia and her term commenced in July 2011 and will continue to July 2015.  The Treasurer of the WASLI Board, Susan Emerson is also from Australia.

Key communicators from countries in the region have been selected by representatives in their countries to feed information to and from local interpreter groups and WASLI.  They are:

Michele Hunwick – Australian Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLIA)

Angela Murray – Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand (SLIANZ)

Gael Seru – Fiji

Mary Maneka – Solomon Islands

They all worked together on finalising the region specific activities in WASLI’s Strategic Plan for the next four years and they are:

  • Facilitate an agreement between SLIANZ and ASLIA for a more coordinated approach to supporting interpreters in the region
  • Seek funding for needs analyses to be conducted in the region
  • Develop a long term training plan for targeted areas in the region
  • Work with local deaf associations to plan for a joint development project
  • Develop a communications plan including Facebook, newsletter and website updates


Countries in the Australasia & Oceania region

Australia Nauru Solomon Islands
Federated Islands of Micronesia New Zealand Tonga
Fiji Palau Tuvalu
Kiribati Papua New Guinea Vanuatu
Marshall Islands Samos



American Samoa US Guam US North Mariana Islands US
Christmas Island AUST Midway US Pitcairn Islands UK
Cocos-Keeling Islands AUST New Caledonia FR Rapa Nui CHILE
Cook Islands NZ Niue NZ Tokelau NZ
French Polynesia FR Nofolk Island AUST Wallis & Futuna FR


Information on Interpreting in member countries


The Australian Sign Language Interpreters’ Association (ASLIA) is a non-profit body and is the national peak organisation representing the needs and interests of Auslan/English interpreters and Deaf (Relay) Interpreters in Australia. The Association is comprised of a national Executive Committee, a Representative Council and branches in most states/territories.

ASLIA was established in April 1991 and was initially known as the Association of Australian Sign Language Interpreters (AASLI). State Associations were developed prior to the creation of ASLIA.

ASLIA’s vision is to seek to lead and promote best practice in sign language interpreting across Australia. To achieve this, ASLIA provides policies and a platform for the views of sign language interpreters throughout the nation on a variety of issues, including: training, on-going professional development, recruitment, working conditions, remuneration, and the provision of services within the sign language interpreting sector. In addition, ASLIA is a member the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) and one key aspect of this membership is to support sign language interpreting practitioners in developing countries within the Australasian & Oceania region.

For more information, please visit

New Zealand

The Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand (SLIANZ Inc.) was incorporated in 1997. The first training course for interpreters was offered in 1985, under the NZ Association of the Deaf, but no further training was held until 1992, when a two-year Diploma course at Auckland University of Technology (formerly Auckland Institute of Technology) was established.  In 2010 the course became a three- year Bachelor of Arts Majoring in New Zealand Sign Language-English Interpreting.   SLIANZ works towards the aim of promoting and upholding professional practices and standards amongst sign language interpreters, and by providing accountability for consumers through processes of registration, professional development, a Code of Ethics, and a complaints procedure.  For more information see our website:

Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands currently do not have a national association for interpreters.  There are only one or two sign language interpreters working in the country.  There is no training programme for interpreters.  There is a mixed disability school where young Deaf students can get a primary education.  For those past primary school there is a special Deaf Rural Training Centre for young adults.  The Deaf and interpreting community are very much in a developing stage but support for this development is active in Oceania.

Thanks to Angela Murray for providing this information from her experiences in the Solomon Islands in 2011.


The Fiji Sign Language Interpreter Committee was formed in 2006, and manages the activities of sign language interpreters utilized by the Fiji Association of the Deaf. The committee, in collaboration with Fiji Association of the Deaf, works to: advocate the engagement of Sign Language Interpreter services in schools, hospitals, courts and other workplaces; provide training courses and professional development for Interpreters, utilizing networks we have with regional Deaf societies and the Australia Pacific Technical College; provide Interpreter employment in the form of interpreting the national nightly news broadcast in collaboration with the Ministry of Information; and advocates for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

If you are able to contribute further information on countries in the region or pass on any contacts please contact,