Licence guru helps aspiring drivers in Hawke's Bay

By Regan Paranihi

Many youth today don’t see the value or importance of having a driver’s licence until it’s too late. Every time an unlicenced driver jumps into a vehicle with the intention to drive is a 50% chance they will end up with a fine. However, this is still not an incentive for unlicenced drivers to become qualified.

Te Atakura Huata-Harawira was one of those people who found that out the hard way after months of being an unlicenced driver when she discovered the harsh realities of not being a registered driver and not having a registered vehicle.

With almost $2000 in dept Harawira realised the best thing for her was to get legalised and from that moment she has been the driving force behind helping hundreds of others to become legal drivers.

“A lot of people can’t afford to feed their families properly, let alone pay all the costs involved with getting a licence, others are scared of failing, and many just don’t have someone to show them how to drive.”

Harawira runs her own ‘Get Your Licence’ programmer that provides free workshops to those seeking their driver’s licence along with affordable ‘in-car’ lessons for people wanting to get their licence to those who may already hold a learners or a restricted licence.

She says, “Because of my own experience I know exactly what to teach. I’m not a driving instructor – I don’t teach how to drive, I teach how to pass.”

Since ‘Get your Licence’ started out, more than 350 people have come out of the program with a licence with a majority being locals from Flaxmere.  However people from all over the region has commended the down-to-earth support Harawira nod her team provides.

“We have people of all ages coming to us, from 17 to over 70! They are super-excited when they pass, and for me every single pass is a success story,” says Harawira.

Matariki Programme Manager Gerard Quinn says increasing the number of people with drivers’ licences is a practical way to help improve pathways to employment.

“The link between being a licenced driver and the ability to get a job is highlighted by Ministry of Social Development information that shows a Work and Income job seeker with a driver’s licence is seven times more likely to get a job than someone without a licence.”

He adds, “Supporting people to get a driver’s licence is also a collaborative effort, forming a firm foundation for a participating workforce and community. There is much to be gained when the community works together to achieve this goal.”