Endurance pays dividends for solo dad of six
Vincent Haworth has been through swings and roundabouts over the last three years to get his full driver licence.
Vincent lives in Whatatutu in rural Tairāwhiti sole parenting his six children, who range in age from 5 to 18 years old.
The 49-year-old says he drove on his learner licence for 20 years.
“Every time I had the time, I didn’t have the money and vice versa.”
In 2020, Vincent read about a driver licensing programme with his local Tairāwhiti Rural Education Activities Programme or REAP which provided support for those needing to gain a licence.
It was the beginning of a fruitful and long-running relationship.
“I did some theory and practice tests with the REAP and flew through my restricted with flying colours first time,” says Vincent.
Tairāwhiti REAP quickly set a date for Vincent to sit his full licence test, but then Covid hit, ending any chance of moving to the next licensing stage.
Tairāwhiti REAP wasn’t deterred.
Vincent remembers, “Helen from the REAP just said, I’ll keep in contact with you.”
And she did – over the next year and a half.
A week out from Christmas 2021, Vincent’s rental home was sold. With housing waiting lists in Gisborne stretching out to five years, Vincent and family moved in with family in Kawerau, Bay of Plenty – three hours away from Gisborne. They ended up spending over three months there.
Returning to Whatatutu, 40 minutes from Gisborne, and a new home, Vincent was ready to sit his full licence.
But the death of three loved ones within four months, and then the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle conspired against him.
Finally, in March 2023, the stars aligned, and Vincent sat his full licence. He passed first time.
He says getting his licence is ‘a big weight off my shoulders’.
It means he can meet the insurance requirement for the family van he’s paying off. He’s able to drive his children to their sports practice. Down the track, he knows he will be able to apply for the estimated 70% of jobs requiring a driver licence. And he’s free from the worry of being pulled over or fined.
It’s been a three-year journey, and Vincent says he can’t thank the REAP – especially Helen – enough. “They’ve been awesome in motivating me,” he says. “Without them, getting my licence would have been the last thing on my mind because it was more about making sure my babies were okay.”
He’s helping his family follow his example. His daughter-in-law passed her restricted licence through the REAP programme in March and Vincent is keen for his older sons, both working in Tairāwhiti, to get their full licence next.