Puketāpapa Community Driving School – Getting Mount Roskill locals on the road


In 2014, five organisations working in the Auckland suburb of Mount Roskill became aware that many locals — particularly young people, refugees and new migrants — needed a cheaper, easier way to get their driver licence.

Having a licence is important for finding work, and it also builds confidence and independence. But local people were missing out because they couldn’t afford driving lessons and they had no car to practice in — and no-one to supervise them while they practiced. Some faced cultural and language barriers that made learning to drive more difficult.

Rather than coming up with five different programmes the organisations joined forces to set up the Puketāpapa Community Driving School, which provides low-cost driving lessons and practice driving sessions with trained volunteers in the school’s dual-control car.

The project was coordinated by the PETER Collective, a group of organisations and individuals that work together to improve education and employment outcomes in Mount Roskill, and led by the Migrant Action Trust.

“Our mission is to get people to collaborate within a shared challenge,” says PETER Collective director Manawa Udy. “Otherwise what happens is you get all these different people trying to find funding for the same group of people in the same area.”

The driving school has been set up as a social enterprise. That means all its profits will go towards providing subsidised driving instruction for those who can’t afford it.

Migrant Action Trust manager Honey Rasalan says the goal is to become self-sustaining as soon as possible. “We hope the community will see the value of coming to our driving school so they can help someone who can’t afford to get their licence.”

Todd Foundation is supporting the Puketāpapa Driving Initiative (Migrant Action Trust) with two years of funding. This funding was allocated from our General Fund, which is now closed.

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