Te Tairāwhiti take driver licencing into their own hands

Te Tairāwhiti are in the driving seat, equipping their people with the right licences to drive legally.

Ani Pahuru-Huriwai of Tairāwhiti REAP says, "The students have been driving for a long time but driving in the country is different to driving in the big town of Gisborne."

More than fifty whānau are reaping the benefits of the 'Graduated Driver Licensing' program which has also served as a pathway to employment.

Pahuru-Huriwai says, "The full licence is just a beginning, they can move into heavy trade, driving trucks and buses and much more." 

Graduate Paula Backhouse says, "2 years ago I didn't even have a learners so that was cool, I got my full and now I am a St Johns first response."

For many, breaking licencing rules has led to thousands of dollars in fines and in some cases, court.

Backhouse says, "I'd racked up 5 & a half grand in fines driving with no licence & got 12 cars impounded."

The program boasts a 100% pass rate with 32 of 32 participants graduating, 19 restricted licences and 13 full.

Constable Whitiaira Timutimu of Ngai Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou says, "Everyone who started the course have received their licences."

Program Graduate Piripi Reid Abraham says, "I want to get all of my licences so that I can drive and travel all around the place and at any time."

Ani Pahuru-Huriwai says that this is just a start. Tairāwhiti REAP hopes to secure further funding to continue the program for the next three years.