INTERPRETER PROFILES

NAME Shannon McKenzie
REGION Auckland, Waikato, Rotorua; Bay of Plenty
SKILLS Legal, Medical, Technical, Education, General

Shannon has over twenty years’ experience as a professional interpreter, and has taught NZSL at Auckland University of Technology. She also established and managed iSign between 2009 and 2012. She has BSL experience, having worked in England at Wolverhampton University, freelancing in London and working in developing countries for environmental organisations. Warm, humorous, intellectual and versatile, Shannon is well liked in the Deaf community and has previously served as president of the NZSL Interpreters Association (SLIANZ).

Shannon has specialist interpreting knowledge in healthcare, education, law, local and central government, workplace, parenting, metal health, disability, outdoor pursuits, and farming. She is based in Hamilton, covering the Waikato as well as Rotorua, Tauranga, Auckland.

 
NAME Kelly Hodgins
REGION Auckland,Northland, Waikato, Rotorua; Bay of Plenty
SKILLS Legal, Medical, Technical, Educational, Theatre, General

Kelly is one of our senior interpreters. She holds a Dip.SLI (AUT), PG.Dip. NZSL/English Interpreting (Macquarie) and NAATI “Professional Level” accreditation. She also won the 2014 New Zealand’s Sign Language Interpreter of the Year Award, reflecting her dedication to her field. She works in a variety of settings, including legal, healthcare, religion, TV and film, youth and employment.

Kelly has specialist interpreting knowledge in compulsory and tertiary education, about which she has presented internationally, and immigrant/minimal language clients. She is a New Zealand expert in platform/conference interpreting and is New Zealand’s leading theatre interpreter. Kelly volunteers as secretary of SLIANZ (our professional body), is in her fifth term on the committee and mentors many of our new graduates. She resides in Auckland but frequently travels outside of Auckland, at clients’ request.

 
NAME James Bichan
REGION Auckland,Northland, Waikato, Rotorua; Bay of Plenty
SKILLS Medical, Technical, Educational, General

James is an energetic and steadfast pillar in the NZSL interpreting community. Completing his interpreting education in 2007, he has rapidly made a name for himself. With his egalitarian approach, he was quickly offered and assumed a number of leadership positions including lead interpreter at Kelston Deaf Education Centre, lecturer in NZSL Interpreting at AUT, and manager at iSign.

James also holds a Dip.SLI (AUT) and PG.Dip NZSL/English Interpreting (Macquarie) and is currently studying toward a Diploma in Not for Profit Management. He has extensive experience interpreting in educational and community based interpreting and his values-driven approach has seen him volunteering as part of SLIANZ in the 2012 sub-committee responsible for reviewing New Zealand’s NZSL interpreter standards and developing a new set of ethics and conduct in line with international best practice whilst also acknowledging the unique New Zealand environment.

 
NAME Rebeccah Curtis
REGION Auckland,Northland, Waikato, Rotorua; Bay of Plenty
SKILLS Legal, Medical, Minimal Language, Educational, Theatre, General

Rebeccah grew up in Nelson and began her career as a successful actress. A change of direction saw her complete a Certificate in Teaching People with Disabilities and a Dip.SLI (AUT) in 1995. She was the first professional interpreter in Whangarei and has now worked in a multitude of settings nationally, including justice, education, employment, primary health, specialist health, minimal language and mental health.

Regarded as having highest Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) of all of our interpreters, Rebeccah is sought after for her ability to interpret in the most emotionally intense of settings where a cool head and the ability to work without judgement is required. Rebeccah has travelled extensively and is parent of two teenagers who have come up through bilingual education (Te Reo Maori / English). She now leads the profession as our diplomatic and respected President of our professional association, SLIANZ.

 
NAME Geri Durville
REGION Auckland, Waikato
SKILLS Education, Technology, Workplace, Medical, Conference, General

Prior to her career as an interpreter, Geri completed a degree in English Literature at Victoria University of Wellington. Whilst there, she became interested in New Zealand Sign Language and completed the Deaf 101 paper offered there. Since then she has completed her interpreter training at AUT and began working as a full time interpreter in 2008.

Beginning her career in the tertiary education sector, Geri has wide-ranging experience in interpreting for tertiary lectures and tutorials and specialises in the mathematics, engineering and technology fields including advanced knowledge of the associated technological jargon. In 2013, Geri extended her skill set to community interpreting. She has shot to popularity in a wide range of community settings with her service-oriented approach. Geri is based in the Waitakere region and is a proud “Westie”.

 
NAME Julie Whitcombe
REGION Auckland, Northland
SKILLS Legal, Workplace, Medical, Education, General

Julie graduated as a foundation student of the AUT interpreter program in 1994. Interpreting full time ever since, she has doubtless completed the highest number of interpreting hours in New Zealand. Prior to interpreting Julie was a civic volunteer, sportswoman and parent, with a strong sense of social justice. She has dedicated herself to providing access services that recognise the differences between grassroots Deaf community members and a hearing / English-speaking world. Many say they feel comfortable with Julie because she ‘gets where they’re coming from’ and interprets to minimise cultural misunderstanding.

Julie is consulted by colleagues for her expertise in Police, Court and Corrections settings at all stages, levels and in all agencies and departments as well as in health, mental health, counselling and in various tertiary education settings. Her other skills include work-based training and conference interpreting.detail.

 
NAME Noreen Smith
REGION Auckland, Northland
SKILLS Legal, Workplace, Medical, Education, General

Born to Deaf parents, Noreen grew up a C.O.D.A. (Children of Deaf Adults), immersed in a signing environment and learning NZSL as her first language. With a sister who is also hearing impaired, Noreen had extensive exposure to life and interaction amongst the Deaf community. Aspiring from childhood to become an interpreter, Noreen wasted no time in commencing her studies at AUT, graduating in 2011. She soon became a respected Auckland community interpreter.

Noreen has since acquired extensive experience in community, medical, conference, TV, radio and educational settings and regularly works in a trilingual school setting. A proponent of interpreted theatre, she has also translated and interpreted in multiple shows. Noreen is fascinated by the “behind the scenes” of interpreting and has recently added international Project Management qualifications to her accomplishments. A SLIANZ committee member, she regularly presents to interpreters on the use of technology, smart gadgets and modern commerce.

 
NAME Fiona Love
REGION Wellington, Horowhenua and Manawatu, and is also available to travel
SKILLS Legal, Workplace, Medical, Education, General

With over 20 years’ experience working in Deaf communities here and abroad, Fiona formally qualified as an interpreter in 2010 (AUT), Fiona is able to adapt comfortably to working in diverse settings.

She has strengths in education, employment, health, sports, film and theatre and government agencies. She has a background in hospitality (Dip. Prof Cookery, London City and Guilds, 2005) and the arts (Dip. Arts and Creativity with Honours, 2008). She has also worked as an employment consultant and micro business workshop facilitator, giving her a broad knowledge base from which to interpret technical artistic, corporate and culinary jargon. Fiona maintains professional development via NZSL Interpreter and Foreign Language Interpreters Professional Development opportunities and through her voluntary interpreting for Deaf community groups such as local and national Deaf rugby, Deaf cricket and Deaf theatre and film.

 
NAME Wenda Walton
REGION
SKILLS Legal, Workplace, Medical, Education, General

Born to Deaf parents, Wenda learned NZSL as her first language. She went on to complete her Diploma NZSL/English interpreting in 1995. After graduating she took on a role as full time community interpreter in Palmerston North/Manawatu, also doing a great deal of governmental interpreting with her nearest colleague in Wellington.

After leaving Manawatu, she worked in Kaikoura as staff interpreter at Kaikoura Centre for Continuing Education, for a marine tourism training initiative involving six Deaf students. She has since moved to Wellington and completed a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics (VUW, 2003). Her areas of work have included court, police, counselling, medical, workplace, government, state agencies & tertiary education.

Other interests and work have involved NZSL research, NZSL assessment and interpreter peer mentoring. Wenda is seen as an unassuming giant among interpreters due to her equal ability to faithfully convey every inference from NZSL into English and also from English into NZSL.

 
NAME Sandahl
REGION Greater Waikato
SKILLS

Sandahl graduated from the AUT NZSL interpreting course in 2003. One of the youngest to ever qualify as an interpreter, she entered training straight from high school. After finishing her training, Sandahl began her interpreting career in secondary education as a one of the country’s first interpreters in the mainstream at Whangarei Girls High School. Following this, she did a stint in tertiary educational interpreting at AUT.

Sandahl went back to compulsory educational interpreting career at Kelston Girls High School whilst also beginning her family. She moved to Hamilton in 2007 and completed her family, working as a full time mother for 4 years. She now works as a freelance community interpreter in the greater Waikato region covering medical, workplace, sport and educational interpreting assignments.

 
NAME Sam Manuatu
REGION Auckland and Waikato
SKILLS

Sam is a long term member of the NZSL / English interpreting scene. He graduated with the first intake of interpreting students to complete the Dip SLI through AUT (then AIT) in 1994. He is known as a down to earth, no fuss professional who can calmly blend into any setting.

Prior to entering interpreting Sam worked as a fully qualified mechanic and as such is sought after for his excellent understanding of mechanical and trade terminology. He also grew up with Samoan and Tongan spoken at home as well as English, which brings with it a schema of the world which transcends any one single language.

After graduation, Sam spent some years as a salaried community interpreter in the Christchurch region and for the last 20 years has worked in community interpreting in the Waikato region. He also works as a team leader for Spark New Zealand. He lives and works in Auckland and Waikato.