Official Rugby World Cup broadcaster Sky has received a "fail'' mark from the deaf community after neglecting to show sign singers performing the national anthem during the opening ceremony.

The ceremony was the first time the anthem has been sung in three of New Zealand's official languages - English, Maori and sign.

The sign singers were part of the official choir and signed both the English and Maori versions but the cameras failed to show them.

Deaf Aotearoa chief executive Rachel Noble said Sky had missed its chance to show the world New Zealand was proud to recognise its three languages.


"It's a fail mark for all of those who broadcast the rugby game,'' she told APNZ.

"The community is very upset and very angry, about the fact that we didn't see any of the sign singing that was happening, because they trained and trained.

"It has been a long process to get our anthem in a true sign language translation and to have it presented professionally.''

Two sign singers will be part of the choir at each All Blacks game, and a Facebook page has been set up calling for them to be shown.

"My friends were gutted that they didn't get to see the anthem because the cameras were too busy focused on the players,'' one poster said.

"Yes the players are important, but you can't have someone perform in sign and not make them visible.

"It would be like asking Dame Kiri to sign the anthem with duct tape on her mouth.''

Ms Noble said the organisation had contacted Sky but no one from the broadcaster had got back to them.


She called on Sky to "get their head around the fact that, with sign, you actually need to see it''.

Sky TV could not be contacted for comment.