Lara is the Senior Manager for Deaf Adults and Seniors at Deaf Aotearoa
I am Lara Draper, I am Deaf and I use New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). I am passionate about Deaf issues and advocating for Deaf people’s rights. I am the General Manager for Adult and Senior Services at Deaf Aotearoa (not for profit national organisation, DPO) and based in Christchurch. I manage Hauora and Employment services supporting the Deaf community including Deaf seniors and also lead on Adult Community Education (ACE).
I grew up in the north of England, and after studying Sports Science degree and primary school teaching post-graduate certificate in education, I moved to London to become a presenter on the BBC TV See Hear! Programme. I continued in this role for 5 years and presented programmes using British Sign Language (BSL). I have had a varied career as a social care manager for Deaf services, a lecturer, disability co-ordinator, tutor, teacher and project-leader. Prior to becoming a GM for Deaf Aotearoa, I was a Team Leader for the First Signs service for 5 years. This programme provides support for families of deaf babies and children aged 0 – 5.