Learn more about Wellington Deaf Society's fascinating and rich history through NZSL stories told in a chronological timeline from our members! Further stories will be added in the coming months. If you have a WDS-related story you’d like to share, please get in touch with us!

1938

Memories of WDS’s first rental clubroom at 80 Manners Street

Told by Pam Witko (5:29 mins)

1941

The first club picnic held at Jim Monk’s farm at Waikanae

Told by Pam Witko (2:44 mins)

1950s

Inviting a high-ranked official such as the Mayor of Wellington for WDS’s events was considered the norm

Told by Pam Witko (1:29 mins)

1964-1967

WDS makes use of the ‘Hibernian Hall’, a social hall at Victoria Street, Lower Hutt

Told by Pam Witko (1:21 mins)

1972

WDS returns back to the city, utilising the Loaves & Fishes Hall on Hill Street

Told by Wayne Riggs, Pam Witko, Christine Martin, Kaz Witko, Shannon Morris (4:33 mins)

1969

The ‘Walton Award: Sports Man of the Year’ and ‘Tony Walton Sportsperson of the Year’ trophies

Told by Tony Walton (3:01 mins)

1974

Tony Walton talks about his mum, Lillian Walton, and her involvement with WDS

Told by Tony Walton (2:46 mins)

1980

The infamous WDS ‘Toilet Seat’ Award explained

Told by Shannon Morris (2:23 mins)

1980s

Honouring WDS’s Goldie Oldies and their unwavering support for the Club

Told by Pam Witko (3:34 mins)

1980s

Membership today is cheaper than it was in the 1980s, which also had penalty fees!

Told by Maureen Tompson, Pam Witko (4:52 mins)

1980s-2000s

Wellington Deaf Basketball

Told by Clive Morgan, Sean Turner (4:53 mins)

1980s

The New Zealand Deaf News and WDS’s newsletters were a great source of news

Told by Maureen Tompson, Pam Witko (2:46 mins)

1980-1990

WDS utilised 280 Willis Street at 10 cents per year

Told by Wayne Riggs, Clare Holtham, Sean Turner, Pam Witko, Christine Martin, Shannon Morris (5:35 mins)

1980s – Early 1990s

Street Appeal Days greatly boosted the Clubroom Building Fund

Told by Maureen Tompson, Robert Cameron (3:38 mins)

1983-1993

The WDS Men's Pool Championship at the tiny Willis Street Clubrooms

Told by Sean Turner (2:38 mins)

Early 1990s

Rodney Roberts and Sean Turner share their Wellington Deaf Rugby League stories

Told by Rodney Roberts, Sean Turner (3:50 mins)

1991

The WDS Golf Club, and the annual Cook Strait Interclub Golf tournament

Told by Tony Walton (3:39 mins)

1991

WDS purchased a piece of land on 133 Hutt Road in 1991 with the hope of building a Clubroom on it – sold 1994

Told by Robert Cameron (2:38 mins)

1990-1996

WDS moves temporarily to the Hutt Park Raceway, Petone

Told by Cameron Ross, Kaz Witko, Tony Kuklinski, Jamie Kuklinski, Sean Turner (3:12 mins)

31 August 1996

From Willis Street to Marion Street, told by Previous WDS President, Tony Walton (1975-79 & 1995-97)

Told by Tony Walton (4:10 mins)

2002

Wellington hosts the 43rd New Zealand Games for the Deaf

Told by Rodney Roberts (2:13 mins)

Late 2000s

From running on a special licence to a team of Deaf bar managers

Told by Darryl Alexander, Shannon Morris (3:39 mins)

Late 2000s

Jamie Kuklinski (President 2006-2010) talks about getting a pool table and its additional benefits!

Told by Jamie Kuklinski (2:26 mins)

2006-2008

Wellington Deaf Youth Group hosts the 3rd National Deaf Youth Camp, with loads of fundraisers at WDS

Told by Theresa Cooper (3:09 mins)

Early 2010s

Events Galore! Fancy dress parties, Fear Factor competitions and jelly wrestling...

Told by Jared Flitcroft, John Bennett (4:34 mins)

2011

Wellington Deaf Society Poker Championship

Told by Renee Turipa, Darryl Alexander (4:39 mins)

2011

A mini documentary on WDS is created: “Our Second Home”

Told by Jared Flitcroft (13:36 mins)

2012

The WDS fundraising sub-committee gets creative with their ideas for a new roof!

Told by Sara Pivac Alexander (2:27 mins)

2013

Oops! Multiple fire trucks called out to WDS Clubroom

Told by Cameron Ross, Tony Kuklinski, Jamie Kuklinski (1:14 mins)

2013

Michael Hope gifts his cartoon drawings to WDS

Told by Cameron Ross (2:02 mins)

2014

Designing WDS’s new logo

Told by Anton Sammons (1:51 mins)

2014

A Special General Meeting is held to make a decision on Marion Street

Told by Theresa Cooper (2:02 mins)

2018

A documentary on WDS is produced and released, “A Historic Moment in Time”

Told by JPF Films (58:22 mins)

2015-2021

From Marion Street to the Waiora Hub

Told by Shannon Morris, Anton Sammons (4:33 mins)

2021

Waiora Hub: Creating a Deaf Space with NZSL signage

Told by Anton Sammons (3:05 mins)

24 April 2021

The Deaf community gets together to celebrate our new Deaf Club with a Welcome Home Party

Told by Sara Pivac Alexander (5:18 mins)