Puketapapa Community Driving School


In collaboration with our partner organisations, PETER is developing and administering a community-based driving school to provide a low-cost way for Puketapapa residents to successfully complete their driver licences.

The Puketapapa Community Driving School is a collaborative PETER initiative involving partnerships with Migrant Action Trust, Umma Trust, the Rule Education Trust, Wesley Community Centre and English Language Partners

On December 5, 2017 PCDS was officially launched at the Roskill Youth Zone on Sandringham Road. The launch attracted a lot of PETER supporters and Puketapapa residents. The day included the official cutting of the ribbon of the first PCDS car by the Chair of the Puketapapa Local Board, Harry Doig.



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Driver licences are an important passport to living in our current world
A licence provides:

  • Independence and pride

  • Family transportation

  • A requirement for many jobs

  • Avoiding fines and a path into the justice system

  • Reliable access to work, especially for those on shift work or in difficult locations

  • A low-cost option

  • Providing a long-term option for Puketapapa residents


Almost half of New Zealanders sitting restricted driver licences are failing, with a lack of practice behind the wheel being blamed [Stuff November 14, 2017]

Many people, and especially those for whom English is not their first language, struggle to pass the written exam and the practical. These difficulties result in a lot of frustration at not being able to acquire their licence. Listen to one woman who attended a recent PCDS open day: https://www.wevideo.com/view/1035163001


Research on the value of passing a driver licence

There is a strong body of research evidence on the value of obtaining a driver licence. Not only does it enable people to do things like get and hold down a job or support whanau at times of crisis, it also helps prevent them becoming caught up in an entry into the justice system that often starts with driving without a licence. Below is a selection of excerpts from the available research (sources below).

For young people

  • Young drivers are over-represented in road crashes in NZ. They comprise 13 percent of New Zealand’s population and 14 percent of New Zealand’s licensed population, yet were involved in (regardless of fault) 33 percent of fatal crashes, 35 percent of serious injury crashes and 39 percent of minor injury crashes.
  • These crashes have a large social and financial cost. In 2011/12 fiscal year, injury crashes where a young driver was at fault resulted in a cost of over $776 million.
  • The number of young people facing barriers to completing licences in most deprived areas estimated to be between 70,000 and 90,000.
  • ACC active entitlement claims for young drivers amounted to over $37 million during the 2011/12 fiscal year.

Links to the justice system

  • Traffic offences are the highest-volume offence type convicted and re-convicted through the courts (42%). They are mostly sentenced to community sentences and fines.
  • Additionally, 2.7 million infringement notices were issued in 2010, mostly for traffic offences, with 1.1 million unpaid that year and filed by the court for enforcement.
  • In 2013/14 10,300 offenders received a community work sentence for driving offences (a third of all community work offenders).
  • Roughly 20% of re-offending is traffic-related. Much of the re-offending is linked to the sanctions themselves. Imposing fines or disqualifications create situations where further offending is more likely.
  • From 2009-2013, 97.1 % of youth graduated driver licence breaches resulted in an infringement offence, of which 72.8 % was referred to court unpaid. 0.7 % had a positive compliance outcome and 0.5 % were referred to court for prosecution.
  • 39% of offences committed by 17-24 yr-olds were for traffic and vehicle regulatory offences; driving without a licence is the most common conviction for 18-24 yr-olds.

  • 56% of those that appear before court receive a monetary fine similar to cost of completing a full licence.

Links to successful employment

  • Approximately 70% of job vacancies require an applicant to have a drivers licence. •

  • Of 18-24 year-olds on a unemployment (Jobseeker) benefit, 81% (9,000 - 10,000) have either no licence or a learner’s licence only. •

  • Employers in trades jobs (e.g., infrastructure, construction, etc) where the proportion of jobs requiring a licence is higher again, are facing significant skills shortages in Auckland and Christchurch.

  • Over 6000 unskilled and semiskilled labourers are estimated to be required in Auckland in the next 5 years to support current infrastructure project projects.

The evidence is consistent, strong and very clear: having a valid driver licence is an essential passport to being a successful citizen in New Zealand society.


  • Bealing, M. (April, 2016). The driver licensing challenge. Wellington: NZIER report to MBIE.

  • The Case for Driver Licensing challenge, MBIE, 2015
  • Co-Design Lab’s 2015 study of reasons for low incidence of DLs



Our goals:

  • To provide a readily-accessible, low-cost means for residents to pass their driver licences

  • To develop a self-sustaining community resource

  • To prioritise the involvement of groups most likely to benefit from gaining a licence: recent migrants, young people and those socially isolated

  • To reduce offences for not having a driver licence

  • To raise levels of employability, independence and self-confidence of participants.

We provide:

  1. Fully-qualified driving instructors

  2. Supportive, fun learning environment

  3. Translators if necessary

  4. Access to cars for practice

  5. NZQA accreditation

  6. Access to funding for some groups


Progress to date

So where is PCDS up to now? In February 2018, Honey Raslan was asked about what progress had been made in 2017, what is planned for 2018 and what they have learned along the way.

Who comes to PCDS courses?

While PCDS is open to anyone, it also aims to reach out to a range of groups who have face particular challenges in obtaining their driver licences. Of the 20 enrollees in the most recent course, 18 of the 20 participants were women. All were new to New Zealand and most were refugees recruited by the Umma Trust. All but one of the participants had a first language other than English. Their average age was 32 years and all but six were from Puketapapa or an adjoining suburb.

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PCDS is part of PETER's collaborative network. So what is the value of working collaboratively for a group like PCDS? Our Data and Evaluation person John Benseman talked to some Migrant Action Trust (MAT) staff and office-holders who have been involved with PCDS.

John asked them:

  • how MAT had been involved with PETER
  • what they thought the value of working collaboratively was for their organisation
  • what effects colloboration had for the programme
  • the future potential of working with PETER

Richard: https://www.wevideo.com/view/1033989186

Honey: https://www.wevideo.com/view/1027171819

Amie: https://www.wevideo.com/view/1027193613