How to Pass Your Driving Test in New Zealand

How to Pass Your Driving Test in New Zealand

Passing your driving test and being a licensed driver is always an exciting milestone to reach.  There are some important practicalities to observe when starting out on this journey and understanding of

New Zealand’s Graduated Driver Licensing System is important.  The aim of this system is to try and ensure that New Zealand’s roads have safe drivers.

The First Step

Learn the New Zealand Road Code (you have to be older than 16) and then apply to take the Theory Test.  You will need your identification document and you will need to declare any medical conditions.

The test is a multi-choice test that is computer generated – you will need to answer 35 questions that test your knowledge of the Road Code.  In order to pass, you have to answer 32 questions correctly.  Once you have passed, you may drive only with a supervisor driving with you.

The Second Step

Get a Restricted License which allows you to drive unsupervised or solo with restrictions.

The test has 45minutes drive time and comprehensively assesses your safe driving skills.  It is recommended that you have a minimum of 120 hours of supervised driving experience.

There are two stages to this test:

  • Stage 1 is a 10 minute test with simple driving tasks in a light traffic situation. Speed zones do not exceed 60km/h and the testing officer can assess whether it is safe for you to go on to the next stage of the test which is more challenging.
  • Stage 2 is a 35 minute test and the skills required are more challenging than the first stage test. Speeds will exceed 60km/h.

The test is designed to test the applicant’s decision-making process, road rule knowledge and whether or not they are sufficiently able to handle a car.

The Third and Final Step

The Full License Test requires you to drive around a pre-set test route and you will perform specific tasks at different locations.   While you are doing these driving tasks, you will be required to describe verbally, road dangers and the driving responses to these dangers. The testing officer uses a set list to assess how well you do in each task.  The total duration of this test is 30 minutes.

The criteria for passing the test is to ensure that you are able to make safe decisions, observe the Road Code and you need to have an excellent car handling ability.  Application of correct responses to any dangers is essential.

You will be required to

  • Conduct pre-drive safety checks
  • Go out on a 20 minute practical drive
  • Adding up the score sheet at the end of the test
  • The testing officer will provide feedback on your performance. Pass or fail.

The NZ Transport Agency  ( is the only website that you should use for booking your practical driving test in New Zealand.  They have a large bank of information that you will find handy to read through when starting your driver’s license journey.



Authored by: Pete Anderson

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