Pilot programme, Huarahi Ora, is delivered by Te Roopu a Iwi o Te Arawa to help whānau in the community achieve a legal licence and other aspirations along the way. Te Arawa Whānau Ora is proud to have financially supported Huarahi Ora from January to June 2019.
Participants are referred to the programme by Te Arawa Whānau Ora, Moving Mountains, self-referral, and through word-of-mouth. Participants undertake a three-day training course at the marae, before sitting the test at AA or VTNZ. People who can’t read are given verbal tests. If re-sits are required, the door is open for participants to come back for extra support and revision.
Huarahi Ora Instructor, Henry Flavell, says it’s a challenging role because the literacy and reading ability is low for a lot of whānau.
“A lot of our male Māori are already driving – they know how to drive. But as we go along, we’ll realise, ‘hey this guy doesn’t understand words’, so I explain it to them. I’ve found the learner driver test isn’t to learn how well you drive, but to test their comprehension and literacy skills. To combat that, we help them one-on-one. They may be in a group, but we don’t want to alienate them because they can't read.”
Henry says the group undertake mock tests and when participants see their scores increase, their confidence soars, and they realise they can pass the test.
“All of a sudden you hear things like, ‘when I get my licence my dad’s going to buy me a car’, or ‘when I get my licence I’m going to get a job because it’s already there, I just need my licence’.
“We even have people with disabilities. After one girl achieved her licence, my partner gave her a whole lot of information on how to become self-reliant, and she was able to get a car suitable for her disability. For people like her, it’s amazing.’’
Some people who have been pulled over and fined for not having a licence are forced to decide whether to pay to get their licence or pay the fine. Henry says they can’t afford both, so they continue driving. He says Huarahi Ora has taken that hurdle away.
“Police have come up with an initiative where instead of fining them, they’ll send them to an agency and that person refers them to us. They’ll wipe the fine if they complete their licence, which is a brilliant move, and big-ups to the police.”
Former Huarahi Ora paeārahi, Ngawai Kohi, is full of praise for Henry’s welcoming, all-encompassing approach.
“My mate here is really good to our people. I’ve experienced some resistance, especially from our older males. Henry can walk into the room and talk to them. A lot of it is their own fear – they see people and have misconceptions about them. But if you can get them to talk, they actually realise these people are just like me.”