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Whiti Ronaki - Whiti Ronaki is of Te Arawa descent. When he was three years old, he lost his hearing due to contracting meningitis.  Whiti was sent to board at Kelston School for the Deaf in Auckland from the ages of six to about 16 (1959 to 1969).  At Kelston, he experienced physical, psychological, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect which continues to impact his personal life and wellbeing. Whiti will speak about children being smacked for signing, and about becoming involved in gangs as a young adult and feeling alienated from both Deaf and Māori communities. He will share his journey to turn his life around, embracing his Deaf and Māori culture, and his work helping young Deaf students. He will speak about the challenges that Deaf Māori still experience, and his hopes for the future – such as sign language continuing to include te reo Māori signs.   

Witness statement of Whiti Ronaki

PDF, 2.8 MB