Jenn Gilbert – President
Based in: Wellington
Kia ora, I’m Jenn, I am originally from rural southland, and grew up on a farm near Gore, before moving to Nelson for my teen years. It was in Nelson that I started learning NZSL at the age of 17 at a night class. It wasn’t long before I moved to Auckland to study to become an interpreter, and I qualified in 2008. I started working in Auckland as a staff interpreter at KDEC, and at Unitec and AUT. I really enjoyed the structure and support in these early years. I needed another challenge at that time, and completed my BA in Linguistics through distance at Massey in 2012.
After meeting my husband in Auckland, we both decided to move and settle in Wellington, and we’ve been here for over a decade now. We have two primary aged children. I love being an interpreter because it gives me the flexibility as a mother to both work and to be there for them for important days or events.I enjoy freelance interpreting in Wellington because there is a huge variety of interesting and challenging settings, and the interpreting community is really close here.
I was previously on the committee before my eldest child was born, and over the years have been involved in organising a number of conferences, and Wellington events. I have always had a keen interest in interpreting, and have previously published on interpreters and power, and more recently conducted research on the impacts of working online, for both interpreters and Deaf.
I’m now at a stage in my life where I feel I have the time and skills to play a role on the SLIANZ committee, and I look forward to working with such a talented team of people, as we navigate SLIANZ towards a governance and board model.
Reb Guy – Treasurer
Term: 2/ 2
Based in: Auckland
I was born in Wellington but moved to Auckland hen I was 4, so Auckland is where my roots sunk deep, specifically in Mt Roskill, where I grew up and where I live now.
I got my first BA from the University of Auckland, majoring in art history and linguistics, and got my first taste of NZSL as part of a sociolinguistics topic. From there I worked and travelled, sticking mostly with jobs where I could use my love of English (copy writing, editing, theatre). I graduated with a BA in Interpreting NZSL-English in 2015 and have been working as a community and compulsory education interpreter ever since. I love my job.
I also love karaoke, board games and animals of all kinds.
I’m looking forward to solidifying financial skills that I learned during my first year, and setting up a system that subsequent treasurer can easily learn and use.
Tote Hemehema – Secretary
Term: 2/ 2
Based in: Auckland
I was born in West Auckland and grew up in Helensville, a small town in the country and have always lived around the West Auckland region. I am part Tongan, part English and my Nana is from Nottingham in England (like Robin Hood).
I graduated in 2013 (the last breed of the Diploma students) and enjoy working in all areas especially medical and education.
I studied for four years at Auckland University (Medical School) many years ago when I wanted to be a Paediatrician. I didn’t complete it because I got pregnant with my son Rhythm. I also have a daughter, Baylie.
My years of experience at University and in medicine have been great assets in education and medical interpreting.
I’m learning more Te Reo and would like to eventually look at trilingual and legal interpreting too.
I’m looking forward to using my skills and experience to help build on the foundation set by the previous Committee’s. I’m excited to learn more about SLIANZ and where I can support my Team and the SLIANZ members.
Margaret Picard – Committee Member
Based in: Auckland
Kia ora, I was born and raised in Papatoetoe, South Auckland. My dad is from Scotland and my mum is from England. They came to New Zealand with my two sisters just before I was born. I met my husband playing indoor cricket in Auckland, and we had our first daughter before relocating to Napier for five years where our second daughter was born. We came back to Auckland for work commitments and now live in West Auckland, although our dream is to one day get back to the Bay.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, my NZSL journey started on my OE to the UK where I worked as an Outdoor Education Instructor. I realised then that I was passionate about equal access to education for minority groups. When I returned home I completed a BA in Educational Philosophy. After a few years of life, work and family in between, I took a NZSL night class. It was here I discovered a focus for my previous training and continued on to study the NZSL – English interpreting degree.
I graduated in 2014 and spent a few years in education interpreting before my current role at NZ Relay where I get to work with an amzing team of interpreters and connect with Deaf people all over the country. I also do community interpreting which I love.
I feel like I’ve come onto the committee/board at a really interesting time as SLIANZ navigates changes towards Governance. I am looking forward to continuing the hard work that has gone before me and serving our members to the best of my ability towards our vision and mission.
Lisa Thompson – Committee Member
Based in: Wellington
Kia ora everyone. I was born in Wellington and grew up on the Kāpiti Coast. I started learning to sign
at 11 years old after meeting a Deaf friend, and I quickly fell in love with NZSL. My mum also has
Deaf friends and signs, so she encouraged me tremendously in my learning and with getting to know
the Wellington Deaf community and interpreters. It was really clear to me that NZSL interpreting
was the career I wanted to pursue, so at the age of 18, I made the move to Auckland and began my
degree. I graduated in 2018 alongside wonderful classmates and friends.
Now I am working full time as an educational interpreter, with some community work on the side,
and I absolutely love my job. This year I was eager to join the committee because I am passionate
about how SLIANZ connects, supports and advances the quality of interpreters. I look forward to
learning more about SLIANZ and developing my skills whilst on the committee, as well as getting to
know and support interpreters from all over Aotearoa, and working towards our vision and mission
alongside a strong committee. Thanks so much for this opportunity. Kia ora koutou katoa.
Tamlyn Schafer – Committee Member
Based in: Dunedin
“Hello, I was born in South Africa and my family and I moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 1997. After getting married in 2012, my husband and I did a 2 year stint in New York, USA. Afterwards, we moved back to Auckland to start a family. After having our first child, we decided to move out of the big city to Dunedin at the end of 2018. We had our second boy while living here in Dunedin.
After finishing high school, a good friend of mine who is also a NZSL interpreter, encouraged me to give it a go. I started summer school with no prior sign language skills and I loved it! I graduated with the Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting in 2010. I worked as a tertiary interpreter at Unitec and AUT for about 6 years in total. Now, I work with the lovely Deaf community here in Dunedin whenever I can.
I joined the committee a bit spontaneously but I’m glad I did. I look forward to working along with like-minded individuals who are thoroughly invested in providing the membership with support and advocacy. I hope that I can bring another perspective to the committee and together we can accomplish a lot in the year/s ahead.”
Taryn Banks – Committee Member
Based in: Auckland
I am Auckland born and breed and graduated from AUT in 2019. I am currently the oldest person to have graduated the Interpreting Course so far, something I am quite proud of.
Whilst new to interpreting, I have held various roles at both Auckland Deaf Society and Deaf Aotearoa in the past decade. I am also involved with disability advocacy, lobbying and campaigning in the pan disability space. Accessibility, equity, inclusion and human rights are issues I am very passionate about. I feel my work as an interpreter and my other roles complement each other well.
I also have a passion for the Arts and have been championing accessibility for the Deaf community to art in New Zealand. I previously was an actor myself, and taught acting for screen. I am also a qualified hairdresser. Having had a corporate career and successfully run my own event management, PR and video production company means that I have broad experience which I hope can benefit SLIANZ, our profession and ultimately the community we serve.
Janet Wilson – Committee Member
Based in: Palmerston North
Tēnā koutou katoa
I graduated from AUT in 2003 and started interpreting in the Auckland scene.
I have two children, now teenagers and they have both chosen to pretty much start schooling at highschool age. They attend Freyburg High School, the only school offering NZSL at all year levels! #reasonstomovetopalmy.
So following 7 odd years of unschooling, a Covid pandemic, and a relocation to Palmerston North I am back interpreting and enjoying the challenges of the job, and the changing landscapes of our profession.
I joined the SLIANZ committee to basically ask difficult questions. I will endeavour to be a useful part of this great team in moving the organisation forward towards our Te Tiriti obligations, towards clarity in our Governance/Management structure, to continue and improve the support for our colleagues, and pitch in where the need is!