WDC continues to support young drivers

1 Sep 2020, 12:00 PM

Waitomo District Council’s (WDC) novice driver training programme is set to continue for another year with funding confirmed until June 2021.


The driver programme is aimed at youth aged 16 to 24 and is part of WDC’s road safety programme which is supported by the New Zealand Transport Agency.


Helen Beever, WDC general manager - community services says, “This is a brilliant initiative that continues to be valuable for our young people.”


The programme is designed to help young people pass the different stages of licenses by offering tuition and study environments to learn the road rules and free driving lessons in either Te Kuiti or Otorohanga.  Students register for the programme by contacting Number Twelve.


“The aim of the programme is to create safer journeys for youth on country roads as a result of the knowledge gained from professional driving insructions,” says Helen.


The programme has been in place since June 2016 and run in conjunction with Otorohanga District Council and delivered by Te Kuiti Community House and Number Twelve.


Hilary Karaitiana, Number Twelve Manager says, “If students are well prepared, they have more chance of passing so these lessons are valuable to ensuring they have all the skills needed.  If the lessons weren’t available locally, then students would have to travel which is often not practical for many families. It's hard enough they can only sit tests in Te Awamutu or Taumarunui and getting them to their test is also part of the service provided.


Evidence tells us young drivers who have lessons and go on to pass their test, will reduce their chances of crashing, will increase their employment opportunities and reduce the further likelihood of fines. For many people, attaining a licence can be a catalyst, that starts a positive chain of events in their life, so offering free lessons is huge for the young people of our district.”  


Lorrene Te Kanawa, chair of Te Kuiti Community House, says “the partnership is a positive relationship we can all be are proud of and is a huge asset to our communities.  We are very fortunate to have Number Twelve as the provider whom go above and beyond to support our rangitahi to achieve their licences.  Number Twelve’s success unfortunately means the demand is higher than availability and we can appreciate it can be frustrating because of the big waitlist, however they continue to try and clear the backlog.”


The target for 2020/2021 is 110 young people to obtain learners, restricted and full drivers licenses, with a target pass rate of 90%.  Last financial year the programme exceeded targets with 144 students obtaining the next stage of their driver’s licenses.