Driver licence testing arrives in Hurunui


Ellenber Ociones high fives Jade Waqairadovu at the learner licence theory testing event in...
Ellenber Ociones high fives Jade Waqairadovu at the learner licence theory testing event in Culverden. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Aspiring drivers in Hurunui can now get their learner licence without leaving the district.

A new initiative by the Hurunui District Council has seen the first batch of graduates get their licences in Culverden this month through the VTNZ portable theory testing service.

Hurunui council’s safer roads facilitator Emma Feathery said the opportunity will be offered to the wider community in April.

The council, in partnership with Proactive Drive, has been running very successful learner licence theory courses for about two years.

‘‘These have been popular from the start and have helped many of our young people over that first hurdle to getting their licence.

‘‘They’ve been so successful, last year we opened these to our migrant workers in Amuri.

‘‘However, taking the next step of sitting for their theory test is still proving challenging for some,’’ Feathery said.

Living in a rural district where there is no public transport makes it difficult for young people to get into Rangiora to sit their test.

‘‘For our migrant workers, if they’re working on farm 11 days on and three days off, or are living far from Rangiora, it’s that much harder.

‘‘Now, thanks to this partnership with VTNZ, every time we hold the theory course, we will have VTNZ on site for people to sit their test.’’

For Ellenber Ociones, 36, from Hanmer Springs, the service has given her the opportunity to take her first step toward a full driver's licence.

When Ociones walked into the Culverden fire station, she was one of 12 people attending the learner theory course.

By the end of the evening, she was the proud owner of a learner licence.

‘‘Living in Hanmer Springs, going to work or to the supermarket, you need a car.

‘‘As migrants, we are new to the area and we didn’t know where to start to begin getting a licence.

‘‘The course was easy to understand and cleared up a lot of questions we had,’’ Ms Ociones said.

‘‘The mobile testing really helped us because it’s not easy to get transport to the testing centre in Rangiora.

‘‘My colleagues and friends, we all went together after work and we were so happy to have all passed.’’

VTNZ product manager Ruth Stuart said the initiative fits in well with VTNZ’s new outreach programme.

‘‘We’re making it easier for people to access learner theory testing and licence renewals for our seniors.

‘‘We understand it can be challenging to get to a VTNZ branch during office hours.

‘‘It’s important to us that we make driver licensing more accessible to more people by removing these barriers.’’

Feathery said she heard about the VTNZ portable theory testing unit through the Driving Change Network, and immediately saw the potential for Hurunui.

"VTNZ has been incredibly accommodating to us, providing after hours and weekend testing options. It's been fantastic."

Feathery said VTNZ will be at Hurunui District Council on Saturday, April 20.

Young people enrolled on the theory learning course will be tested in the morning, and the testing unit will be opened to the public from noon.

Anyone wanting to sit their learner theory test or needing a licence reinstatement, renewal, reissue or requalification can just turn up.

VTNZ will have full eftpos facilities available for licensing fees.