Before you even start to learn to drive on the road, you'll need to get a learner licence.
Once you receive your learner licence (after applying for your licence and passing the theory test) you can start learning to drive in a car or other light vehicle.
To apply for a learner licence you have to be at least 16 years old.
You'll need to go to a driver licensing agent to:
To ensure all drivers on our roads are medically fit to drive, the driver licence application form contains a medical declaration.
Every applicant has to complete this declaration. If you have any of the conditions listed below, you may need to provide a medical certificate.
The declaration asks you to declare these types of medical condition:
When you fill out your driver licence application form, you'll be asked the following question: ‘Would you be willing to donate organs in the event of your death?'
The NZTA can't produce a driver licence for you until you have ticked either ‘Yes' or ‘No'.
By ticking the ‘Yes' box and signing the form, you are indicating your wish to be identified as an organ and tissue donor and have the word ‘DONOR' printed on your driver licence. (It's also put on your record on the driver licence database.)
In the event of your death, your family may be asked for their agreement before organs or tissue are removed for donation. That's why it is very important to discuss your decision with your family.
It's a good idea to think about organ donation before you go to the driver licensing agent.
If you would like more information about organ and tissue donation, contact Organ Donation New Zealand on 0800 4 DONOR (0800 436 667) or visit their website at www.donor.co.nz.
The learner licence theory test is designed to test whether your knowledge of the road rules is good enough for you to learn to drive on the road. Knowing the road rules is important for you to become a safe driver.
You will sit the theory test at a driver licensing agent's office.
Note: you shouldn't take anyone else with you while you are sitting the test. If you do take dependent children (under the age of eight) with you, it is at your own risk as they may distract you, which could cause you to fail the test.
The test is made up of 35 questions about road rules, road hazards and safety practices that relate to the type of vehicle licence you are applying for. See New Zealand's driver licensing system for the different classes of licence you can apply for. The questions will appear in a random order.
The questions have a mix of multi-choice and true/false answers. You select the answer you think is most correct by clicking on it. You can change your mind after clicking an answer but it will be locked in when you decide to move on to the next question. You will know if you have correctly answered the question before the next question displays.
To pass the theory test you need to get at least 32 questions right out of 35. If you get more than three questions wrong, you will need to book to take the test again at another time, and you’ll need to pay another test fee, but not another application fee.
If you pass the test, you'll be given a temporary learner licence, which is valid for 21 days. Use it until you receive your photo driver licence in the mail.
Before you book your theory test, you need to be thoroughly familiar with the road rules. You will need to read and learn everything in The official New Zealand road code. You will probably need to read it several times to know and understand everything you need to know to be a safe driver.
To help you learn the road rules you can test yourself against the questions from the theory test.
If you wish to test your knowledge of the Road code further, or familiarise yourself with the computerised theory test, you can do this by going to www.roadcodepractice.co.nz.
If you are having difficulty preparing for your theory test because of a reading or language difficulty, there are several organisations that may be able to help:
People with reading difficulties can also apply for:
Besides English, the computerised theory test is available in the following languages:
For more information about these options, talk to a driver licensing agent when you book your test.
There are also options for people with English language difficulties when taking the practical driving tests. Talk to a driver licensing agent or contact the NZTA's contact centre on 0800 822 422 for more information.
Note: If you are not complying with your licence conditions the police can now prevent you from continuing to drive until you are able to comply with the conditions of your licence. They may also direct you to drive straight home, take your keys, immobilise your vehicle, or have it moved to a place where it is not a traffic hazard.
Your new learner licence will be valid for five years. You can now drive on the open road and gain the skills and experience that will enable you to progress to the next stage.When you feel you are ready you can apply for your restricted licence.
If you do not progress during the five year period, you will need to pass a theory test once your licence has expired before your learner licence can be issued for a further five years.
L plates show other road users that you are a learner driver, so they will be more considerate of you on the road while you are learning to drive. They also mean that police officers can make sure learner drivers are following the conditions of their licence.
The L plate must have a black L on a yellow background and must be at least as large as the measurements shown on the diagram below.
If you're driving a car, van or ute, your L plates:
If you're riding a motorcycle with a learner licence, your L plate must be displayed on the back of your motorcycle where it is clearly visible to other road users.
L plates can be purchased from driver licensing agents, or you can make your own.
Learning to drive is a big responsibility and it is important that you develop good driving skills so you will be a safe driver on our roads.
You can decide whether to get training from a qualified professional driving instructor or whether you want to get a friend or family member to teach you (a driving coach).
Many people do a mixture of both, getting lots of practice with a driving coach but having some lessons with a driving instructor to improve their skills.
Driving instructors charge a fee for training and must:
Before your first lesson, ask the instructor to show you proof that they hold a current driving instructor endorsement.
A driving coach is someone you know who is willing to teach you how to drive.
Like any driving supervisor, they must hold a current and valid full New Zealand car licence (without a supervisor condition) and have held this (or an equivalent overseas licence) for at least two years.
Your coach should:
Your coach can use the Driving skills syllabus to help them teach when you're learning to drive.
When you drive on your learner licence, you must always drive with a supervisor.
Your supervisor is in charge of the vehicle and must:
Last updated: 23 February 2015