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New Zealand Taxi drivers and area knowledge certificates

Author: New Zealand Land Transport


This factsheet tells you all you need to know about getting an area knowledge certificate to drive a taxi in New Zealand.



As a taxi driver to have a taxi licence in New Zealand, you are required to:

  • hold a current passenger (P) endorsement on your driver licence and hold a current photo driver identification card
  • hold an area knowledge certificate for the area or areas in which your company operates
  • show the certificate to the taxi organisation you wish to work for
  • have the taxi company that employs you record that you hold the right area knowledge certificate/s.

For more information on P-endorsements, see Factsheet 42 P-endorsements and Factsheet 61 Renewing endorsements.

What is an area knowledge certificate?

An area knowledge certificate is a certificate that says you have a good knowledge of the area or areas your taxi company works in, and that you’ve got a good understanding of the English language.

There are two area knowledge tests: one for metropolitan areas and one for non-metropolitan areas.

Who needs to hold an area knowledge certificate?

All taxi drivers must hold an area knowledge certificate. It’s illegal to drive a taxi without one.

If you’re new to the industry, you have to pass the area knowledge certificate test before you can drive a taxi.

How do I get an area knowledge certificate?

You have to pass the required tests with an approved area knowledge course provider, who will then issue you with your area knowledge certificate. A list of approved course providers is available from any regional office of Land Transport New Zealand.

Which test do I need to sit?

If you want to be a taxi driver in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin, you need to sit the test for metropolitan areas.

If you want to be a taxi driver in any other area of New Zealand, you need to sit the test for non-metropolitan areas.

Identification you must have

When you sit the area knowledge test, you must show photo ID to the person testing you. The identification could be a current New Zealand photo driver licence, a current overseas photo driver licence or a current passport.

How you can prove you've got an area knowledge certificate for your area

You can prove you’ve got an area knowledge certificate by:

  • producing the certificate
  • producing evidence that you worked as a taxi driver for a taxi organisation as at 1 September 1993, when the requirements come into force.

Questions and answers

What if my taxi company changes its operating area?

You’ll need to get an area knowledge certificate for the new area before you can work there.

What if I change companies and work for a taxi company with a different operating area?

You’ll need to get an area knowledge certificate for the area or areas where your new taxi company operates.

What if I change companies and work for a taxi company with the same operating area?

You won’t need a new area knowledge certificate, but your new taxi company may ask you to sit its own test to make sure that you know the area.

Test for metropolitan areas

Sit the metropolitan test if you want to drive a taxi in:

  • North Shore City
  • Waitakere City
  • Auckland City
  • Manukau City
  • Papakura District
  • Hamilton City
  • Upper Hutt City
  • Lower Hutt City
  • Porirua City
  • Wellington City
  • Christchurch City
  • Dunedin City.

When you apply to sit this test with an approved area knowledge test provider, they’ll give you the complete set of test questions (all the possible questions you could be asked). Use this information to study for the test.

An approved area knowledge test provider will then test you on all of the following things:

Objective 1

You’ll be given the names of 20 pick-up points and 20 destination points in the area being tested. You’ll be asked to name, from memory, the most direct route between each set of pick-up and destination points. To pass you have to correctly name out loud at least 18 out of the 20 routes, in English, and be clearly understood by the examiner.

Objective 2

You’ll be given the names of 25 major buildings and locations of interest in the area the test applies to. You’ll be asked to write down their addresses, in English and from memory. To pass you need to get the addresses right for at least 23 out of the 25 places. The examiner has to be able to clearly understand your answers.

Objective 3

You’ll be given a list containing the names of the main roads in the area the test applies to. You’ll be asked to write down, in English and from memory, where these roads start and finish. You have to list the start and finish points correctly for at least 18 of the 20 roads, and the examiner has to be able to clearly understand your answers.

The start/finish is determined by the street numbers (ie low numbers = start, high numbers = finish).

Objective 4

You’ll be asked to say out loud (in English and from memory) the names and direction of travel of the one-way streets in the area the test applies to. You’ve got to get them all right (maximum of 10), and be clearly understood by the examiner.

Objective 5

You’ll need to list from memory the locations of the ‘no right turn’ and ‘no left turn’ signs in the area the test applies to. You’ve got to write down all the locations correctly (maximum of 10 ‘no right turn’ and 10 ‘no left turn’ signs), and in written English that the examiner can clearly understand.

Objective 6A

You’ll be given a road map and a list of five road names, including suburbs. You will have to find each road in the map index, and write down the map page number and grid reference. You’ll also have to go to the map page and grid reference, and write down the types of roads and symbols found in each grid reference.

You need to get all the map page numbers, grid references, and roads and symbols found in each grid reference correct, and write them down in English that’s clearly understood by the examiner.

Objective 6B

You’ll be given a road map with compass references, a specific location that you pretend to be standing in, and a list of five suburbs. You need to say out loud the direction (to the nearest compass point, eg north, south, east or west) of the five suburbs from the location you pretend to be standing in. You’ve got to get all the compass point directions correct, answer in English and be clearly understood by the examiner.

Objective 7

You’ll have to answer questions about the knowledge you need to safely and effectively carry out a taxi service. The examiner will randomly pick the questions. You need to answer eight out of 10 questions correctly, speaking in English and from memory. Your answers have to be clearly understood by the examiner.

Objective 8

You’ll be asked to say out loud, in English and from memory, where the main public taxi ranks are in the area being tested. You’ll have to name all of them (maximum of 20), and be clearly understood by the examiner.

Test for non-metropolitan areas

When you apply to sit the non-metropolitan test with an approved area knowledge test provider, they’ll give you a resource book to study.

The area knowledge test provider will then test you on all of the following things:

Objective 1

You’ll be given the names of 20 pick-up points and 20 destination points in the area being tested. You’ll be asked to name, from memory, the most direct route between each set of pick-up and destination points. To pass you have to correctly name out loud at least 18 out of the 20 routes, in English, and be clearly understood by the examiner.

Objective 2

You’ll be given the names of 15 major buildings in the area the test applies to. You’ll be asked to write down their addresses, in English and from memory. To pass you need to get the addresses right for at least 12 out of the 15 buildings. The examiner has to be able to clearly understand your answers.

Objective 3

You’ll be given the names of 15 locations of interest in the area the test applies to. You’ll be asked to write down their addresses, in English and from memory. You need to get the addresses right for 12 out of the 15 places. The examiner has to be able to clearly understand your answers.

Objective 4

You’ll be given a list containing the names of all the main roads in the area the test applies to (the list won’t include more than 20 roads). You’ll be asked to write down, in English and from memory, where the main roads start and finish. You have to list all the start and finish points correctly, and the examiner has to be able to clearly understand your answers.

Objective 5

You’ll be asked to say out loud (in English and from memory) the names and direction of travel of the one-way streets in the area the test applies to. You’ve got to get them all right (maximum of 10), and be clearly understood by the examiner.

Objective 6

You’ll need to list from memory the locations of the ‘no right turn’ signs in the area the test applies to. You’ve got to write down all the locations correctly (maximum of 10), and in written English that the examiner can clearly understand.

Objective 7

You’ll be given a street map of the area the test applies to, and a list of six major city or town buildings. You’ll need to point out on the map where the buildings are. You have to get all six right to within one city or town block, and be clearly understood by the examiner.

Objective 8

You’ll be asked to write down, in English and from memory, the names and locations of all the major commercial wharves in the area. You need to get them all right, and be clearly understood by the examiner.

This objective may not be applicable to some areas.

Objective 9

You’ll be asked to write down, in English and from memory, where the main public taxi ranks are in the area being tested. You’ll have to list all of them (maximum of 20), and your answer must be clearly understood by the examiner.

Objective 10

You’ll have to answer questions about the knowledge you need to safely and effectively carry out a taxi service. The examiner will randomly pick the questions. You need to answer nine out of 10 questions correctly, speaking in English and from memory. Your answers have to be clearly understood by the examiner.

Where you can find out more

For more information, contact Land Transport New Zealand:

Write to us: PO Box 2840, Wellington.

Land Transport, Government of New Zealand.

© New Zealand Land Transport

Link: New Zealand


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