100 Te Kūiti youth gain restricted drivers licence

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

More than 100 youth in Te Kūiti have gained their restricted drivers licence, thanks to a new Community Driving Programme aimed at small towns.

202 young people across the country have gained their licences through the programme, and just recently Te Kūiti had its 100th student receive his licence.

Originally called Te Kūititanga, Te Kūiti is better known for its sheep shearers.

But this small town community is giving their youth the drive to succeed on the road.

Raymond Hughes says, “I'm the 100th one to receive my licence, and I feel shocked and amazed at the same time, like wow, like I have achieved something for a change.”

Te Kūiti, Whangarei, South Auckland, Gisborne, Porirua and Christchuch East have all been identified as areas with a number of barriers for youth to pass their licence.

Teacher of the Community Driving Programme, Colin Manion says, “Barriers as in cost, barriers as in availability of driver trainers.”

Te Aturangi Stewart says, “This programme here in Te Kūiti is amazing, of the many programmes like this around the country, most of the students to pass have been from here.”

With youth over represented in crash rates in New Zealand according to New Zealand Transport agency, those numbers are gradually dropping here in the King Country.

Te Aturangi Stewart says, “It’s clear to see the safety benefits of this programme to get their learners, restricted and even their full licence.”

Now New Zealand Transport agency hopes to expand this programme to other small communities around the country.