For years, Wairoa residents struggled with the requirement – and huge inconvenience and deterrent – to sit their driver’s test in Hastings.
That problem is now fixed.
Vehicle Testing NZ provides practical driver testing for the general public and has been operating in Wairoa since December 2022 when a test route was re-established in the town.
And now Wairoa and Nuhaka community members are able to take their full driver licence test through the town’s new community-led driver licensing programme provided by Tairāwhiti REAP.
The Growing Drivers Locally (GDL) programme has been successfully running in rural Gisborne and the East Coast for a number of years. The programme helps people to gain a restricted or full Class 1 licence and is open to students of any age living in rural Tairāwhiti, and now includes Wairoa and surrounding communities.
The GDL2Wairoa programme has been launched officially this past week, at Tairāwhiti REAP’s new Wairoa office.
To provide greater flexibility for students on the GDL2Wairoa programme, Wairoa local Cheryl Te Amo, has been contracted to provide dedicated practical licence testing for Tairāwhiti REAP students. Cheryl will be supported by Mere Mill, a fellow community driver testing officer in Gisborne/East Coast.
Cheryl has already started testing, as more than 70 people are booked to sit the test through the GDL programme.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said more options and choices around driver’s licence testing for Wairoa people is good for the whole district.
“Driver licence testing was only returned to Wairoa last year after a 10-year absence. Council, myself personally and other providers have pushed hard to have testing returned to our isolated town. This new community-led driver licensing programme delivered by Tairāwhiti REAP will provide further opportunities for Wairoa whānau.
“Having fully licenced drivers is essential from a safety perspective, and it is great to see people who have not been able to sit their licence, due to geographical, financial and practicality barriers now becoming full driver licence holders.
Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships Linda Stewart says a driver licence opens the door to opportunities like jobs, training and much more. “We know some people face barriers in getting their licence, whether that’s because of the cost or the availability of driver testing services close by.
Enquiries for places on the GDL2Wairoa programme can be made through Tairāwhiti REAP firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting the Tairāwhiti REAP office at 232 Marine Parade, Wairoa.