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Kaylee Wipani

Kaylee Wipani was born Deaf to a hearing family in South Auckland, where she has lived her whole life. Kaylee’s identity reflects her Deaf, Māori and Samoan whakapapa. Kaylee is a student at Tū Kōkiri, Ko Taku Reo, where she is learning life skills, literacy and studying NCEA NZSL. She is involved in Deaf youth leadership events, kapa haka and a Deaf youth theatre project, which she thoroughly enjoys.  
Kaylee has lived experience of the barriers Deaf people face in education compared to their hearing peers. Kaylee is concerned about how these transfer into Deaf people’s work lives, often being told they can’t achieve what hearing people can. Kaylee hopes to build her leadership skills, improve access for Deaf people in New Zealand, and spread awareness about learning NZSL and connecting with the Deaf community.  
Kaylee is keen to travel the world and experience other cultures and ways of life. Kaylee was selected as one of four Deaf rangatahi to represent New Zealand at the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section camp in Jeju, South Korea in July 2023. She hopes this experience will give her a Deaf perspective on global cultures, and long-lasting relationships.

Session Description:

Understanding Deaf Opportunities and the Importance of Community: An International Deaf  Experience

The session will talk about my international experiences at the World Federation of Deaf Youth Section Camp held in South Korea, Jeju. Before discussing the impact this opportunity has had on me, it is important I share my journeys about who I am as young Deaf person living in Aotearoa New Zealand. Throughout my education journey I have had many barriers I had to overcome. Often access to equitable opportunities is rare in New Zealand.

On the International Deaf stage there is a strong sense of community, connection and access. The sense of visual communication meant there were little barriers for me and I could be worry free. This golden opportunity meant we could learn about the following in an equal way: Deaf Rights Different cultures International Deaf status Net working Ageism Deaf Spaces

I hope my presentation brings awareness of what equitable opportunities, community, and unity look like from two Deaf rangatahi in a world designed against us.


  • Equity capability.
  • Partnerships for equity – whānau, iwi and community.
  • Identities, languages and cultures.