Merger of Kelston and van Asch Deaf Education Centres

Kelston Deaf Education Centre in Auckland, and van Asch Deaf Education Centre in Christchurch, will merge and form one national school and network of services for children and students who are deaf or hard of hearing, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

“In September last year – and following extensive consultation in 2017 – the Combined Board of both schools requested that the two schools merge into one, and the Board has now completed its consultation on the proposal,” Chris Hipkins said. 

“I’ve considered feedback from the Board’s and the Ministry’s consultation, and see merging the schools as a step towards strengthening education for students who are deaf and hard of hearing.

“Three quarters of those consulted were in favour of the merger, and saw it as a good step to reduce fragmentation and lift student achievement and life skills.

“The two centres directly support more than 2700 students, providing a range of supports at the Deaf Education Centres, and all around New Zealand for those deaf and hard of hearing students that attend their local school. The centres also provide pre-school education, have residential students, and run a transition service for 18-21 year olds.

“I want to assure the community the current services these schools provide will continue to be provided. It makes sense that the planning, management and delivery of support be coordinated as a single school, governed as it already is, by a single board of trustees.

“The Board will continue to work closely with the school communities in the next stages of the merger, which is due to take effect from the beginning of Term 3, 2020.

“This is an important time for Deaf Education.  

“In 2017 the Board adopted a set of strategic goals to improve educational, social and emotional outcomes for deaf students – including a shift to one national organisational structure and a holistic national service model for Deaf and hard of hearing children and young people. 

“When they are in place, the new organisational structure and service model will be more equitable, accessible and efficient in their delivery,” Chris Hipkins said.


In Budget 2018 sensory schools and New Zealand Sign Language received an extra $30.2 million to support about 2,900 deaf and hard of hearing students and approximately 1,500 low-vision students.

To see this media release in NZ Sign Language click here.

To see the Minister’s formal Gazette notice in NZ Sign Language click here.