Since 15 November 2004, The New Zealand Relay (NZ Relay) services are available from Sprint for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-disabled in New Zealand. In July, the New Zealand Associate Communications Minister David Cunliffe and Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson announced that Sprint was chosen to provide NZ Relay and to manage the government-subsidized pool of relay equipment for customers known as textphones.
“We expect most of the estimated 7,000 New Zealanders who are deaf or have a severe hearing or speech impairment will potentially want to make use of the relay service,” said Ruth Dyson. “It will give them more independence, access to business and employment opportunities, greater ability to participate in our communities, and vital access to services in an emergency.”
NZ Relay will help ensure that the telephone communication needs of deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired New Zealanders are met. TRS involves a relay assistant serving as an intermediary for telephone conversations between a deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-disabled person and a hearing party. The NZ Relay Assistant speaks words typed by a deaf user on a text telephone (TTY) and relays the hearing person’s spoken response by typing back to the deaf user.
Information is available on the New Zealand Relay Web site or by calling NZ RELAY Textphone/Equipment Services at 0800 4 716 716 TTY or 0800 4 717 717 Voice.
Citizens who qualify can rent a subsidised textphone from the Government. Other users can buy the equipment if desired.