ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum

Level 4, 39 Webb Street

Mount Cook 6011

Mon - Fri: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Office hours

+64 4 801 5812

Office phone

Community Development

We have a range of Community Development activities, events and programmes.  Our programmes change regularly in response to needs identified by our communities. For more information please check below programmes.


Turning the curve

Set up in 2011, Turning the Curve is a driver licence training programme for women from refugee backgrounds. They receive lessons from qualified driving instructors and then practice with their volunteer until they are ready to get their licence.
It was informed by a steering group of women from refugee background communities in Porirua, the Hutt and Wellington. ChangeMakers former Programme Coordinator Naomi Tocher met with these women to hear what they needed most to help with refugee resettlement. Naomi explains that they unanimously said the same thing:
“For them the most important thing, their number one priority to get on with life in NZ, was to get their driver’s licence, so they could be like other NZ women.” – Naomi Tocher
The driving licence programme is led by an advisory group of women from communities and women who have taught refugee-background learners to drive.

Listen to RNZ’s coverage of the ‘Turning the Curve’ programme here.

Selection Criteria

Turning the Curve is for women between 25 and 54 years old who have been in NZ for 2 years. The women selected onto the programme have access to a car (they don’t need to buy their own but need to be able to borrow from a friend or family member) at least twice a week for practice.

APPLICATIONS ARE CURRENLTY CLOSED! If you are interested, please contact us at and send us your contact details (name – email address – postal address – phone number). You will be notified when applications re-open, either by email or postal service.


We are seeking remarkable women to build on a former refugee woman’s formal driving lessons by helping them practice. Are you keen to volunteer? Get in touch with us via to receive more information on the programme.

Our Sponsors

The programme is possible due to the generosity of Wellington women who have committed to sponsoring individual learners to cover the cost of professional lessons. Most of the sponsors have agreed to continue sponsorship for a further two years to help sustain the project. We are extremely grateful for their support. We also express our huge thanks to the continued support for the programme from Good Shepherd New Zealand.


Open Road

The Open Road programme aims to help refugee background people to get their restricted licence.

Being able to learn to drive is important to many former refugees for access to work, as well as to support their greater participation in their wider communities. Having your licence supports longer terms goals of employment and independence. Learning to drive can be difficult without a car or a person to help teach driving skills.

How the programme works

Over 12-20 weeks, mentors provide 2-3 hours’ worth of lessons per week in a dual control car (provided) in addition to a number of lessons from a qualified driving instructor. The learner will be assessed on a monthly basis and when considered ready to sit the test will be given a mock test prior to sitting the real thing.

Want to be considered for the programme?

Applications for our first intake of learners in 2021 are CLOSED. If you want to be considered for the second intake of learners in late 2021 please complete the Expression of Interest below Form and email it to We will keep your details and advise you when applications re-open. Expression of Interest Form Learner

Remember to be eligible you must already hold your learner licence. You must also have a good level of English and some driving experience.

Keen to help as a volunteer driving mentor?

We are looking for more awesome men and women to volunteer as driving mentors on our programme in central Wellington in 2021. The commitment is 2 hours a week for 16 to 25 weeks, please email for more information. We would love to hear from you!
We will provide a dual control car to practice in (you don’t need to use your own!), give you training and driving instructor support. The Open Road programme is also running in Palmerston North, Nelson, Dunedin, Hamilton, and Auckland – if you want to volunteer in one of those regions, you can find information here. Please complete the Driving Mentor application form and Police Vetting form and return them to Kate Twyford

Our sponsors and the history of the programme

The programme is possible due to the generosity of Wellington volunteers who commit their time to help our former refugee learners practice their driving. It’s their support, patience and encouragement that helps our learner’s get their full licence.
We also express our thanks to the support for the programme from Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment and Immigration New Zealand. As part of developing the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy consultation with refugee background communities was held in May 2013. Former refugees were asked about the most helpful activities for newly arrived refugees at Mangere Refugee Centre and about the best ways to help them transition into their new communities.
From there, the Refugee Driver Training Programme was launched in Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington & Nelson. ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum runs the Wellington programme.

Leaders Council

We regularly work with our Leaders Council, which has leaders from each of the communities we represent. We assist them to strengthen their communities and ensure that our work is driven by needs identified by communities themselves.