Catholic Māori boys’ school driver training

Hato Pāora College students to have restricted driver's licence before leaving school

A Catholic Māori boys’ secondary school near Feilding is pushing students to gain their restricted driver’s licence before they leave the school.

Hato Pāora College principal, Sean Bristow, says most of his pupils are fulltime boarders. They miss out on driver training.

“Ninety-seven per cent of our boys are boarders and, with that, comes challenges around them being able to access providers for licences,” he says.

“It’s not practical for them to get the help they’d normally be able to get from whānau – Mum and Dad, aunties and uncles, brothers and sisters.

Bristow says the boys come from as far as the Chatham Islands and their parents may live in Germany or New York.

The training is provided by the National Driver Training Centre based near the school at Manfield.

Massey University’s Dr Peter Rawlins supports the training.

He says it should be part of the curriculum. He argued this in a report called Steering Aotearoa Driving Training Pilot.

Manfeild Driver Centre

The Manfeild Driving Centre trains students to at least a learner or restricted licence.

That provides associated NCEA credits and a defensive driving certificate.

Last year some students earned their learner’s licence.

This year they’ll try to earn a restricted qualification.

To achieve that they’ll drive the centre’s electronic Toyota Prius under the guidance of its volunteer mentors.

Bristow says the centre makes young Māori more employable.

“If we can take students to the point they are on restricted or full licences when they apply for jobs, this, we think, will give them an advantage,” he says.

Rawlins says cost is often a barrier to getting a full driver’s licence.

He says it can result in illegal driving which also leads to infringements. That limits work opportunities.

He has presented his ideas to the Mayoral Task Force for Jobs. It supports a free driver’s licence programme at NCEA level two.

Manfeild manager, Michael Barbour, says his organisation deals with barriers some learner drivers face when sitting the test.

They include access to a car and driving mentors to instill responsible and prudent driving habits.

“This is a community effort to keep us all safe on the road,” he says.


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News category: New Zealand.