About Street Smart

Street Smart is a Driver’s education programme designed to help young Kiwis stay safe on the road.

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Learning to drive is a fun but risky business.

Road crashes are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury for young people with youth vehicle accident fatalities in New Zealand amongst the highest in the OECD.

Street Smart is a world-class best practice cognitive based driver programme that aims to positively influence the lives of young kiwis across the country. 

Street Smart is not your traditional defensive driving, classroom lesson or school based environment. We’re a one-day event, offering a practical hands-on learning experience and providing young drivers and their parents/caregivers the opportunity to undertake supervised driving practice. This provides the parent the opportunity to also assess themselves, in order to be a better coach and mentor to their teen.

Street Smart has a focus on developing good decision-making strategies for safe driving, including self-assessment and learning, reading the road environment, resisting peer pressure, managing or eliminating distractions and planning ahead. Behind the wheel for the majority of the day, you’ll experience situations you may not already have faced in your driving journey but could be a real world situation at some stage during your driving life.

Street Smart takes place in safe, controlled, off-the-road environments, under the watchful eye of qualified coaches, who will help teach you their many years of learnings. While our venues are racetrack circuits, there is no racing involved and everything is conducted under normal road rules and conditions.

Our aim is to give you better understanding of where you are in your driving journey, so that you can leave Street Smart as a safer and more aware driver but most importantly where you may need further instruction through the help of your parent / caregiver as mentor or via driving lessons from a qualified driving instructor.


Media Release
Wednesday 12 December, 2018 


Kiwi motorsport icon Greg Murphy, front person for the new Street Smart young driver programme, has been recognised by the New Zealand Motoring Writers Guild with a special honour for his work involving the new road safety initiative. 

Guild President Richard Edwards and Guild member Jacqui Madelin presented the award to Greg Murphy and Holden New Zealand Managing Director, Marc Ebolo, at the company’s Head Office yesterday.

 Greg was humbled to receive the award, acknowledgement of the tireless work he has undertaken in the area of road safety as well as the launch of the new programme.

 “Street Smart is very much a hands-on learning experience, which is proven to be the very best way for anyone to develop and hone new skills,” said the four-time Bathurst champion.

 “The programme helps young drivers gain confidence across ten different motoring experiences, all the while under the watchful eyes of instructors in a safe and controlled environment.  

“There’s no substitute for time behind the wheel and Street Smart allows participants to gain invaluable insights into how to avoid or, if necessary, manage a variety of situations.” 

Marc Ebolo also made mention of the passion and enthusiasm displayed by Greg with regards to road safety. 

“We worked with Greg and other supporters of the programme for more than two years to ensure we were launching the very best initiative to support development of young drivers and foster their confidence on the roads,” said Mr Ebolo. 

“This award is testament that what we’re doing is being noticed and is making a tangible difference to the skill levels of those who participate in the course, enhancing not only their likelihood of knowing what to do in a particular situation but hopefully avoiding it altogether.”

 The award honours the memory of the late Neil Nelson of Palmerston North, a former president of the Guild, and is presented to the person judged to have made a significant contribution to the motoring industry. 

“The New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild is proud to name Greg as the 2018 recipient of this very special award,” says Guild president Richard Edwards.

 “We applaud Greg and Holden New Zealand for this programme.”


Media Release
Friday 2 November, 2018 

Racing rivals rally round to show support for young driver initiative 

A group of Supercar racing rivals teamed up this morning to show their support for a programme aimed at enhancing the all-round driving skills of young Kiwi motorists. 

The rare group appearance comes ahead of this weekend’s ITM Auckland SuperSprint and featured motorsport stars from Red Bull Holden Racing Team, Erebus, Brad Jones Racing, GRM, Walkinshaw and Tekno with one message: you’re never good enough to stop learning, and the best place to hone these skills is in a safe, controlled environment. 

They are supporting the Holden Street Smart programme, which is dedicated to improving driver safety and raising road awareness for young Kiwis. 

Supercar icon and Holden Street Smart Ambassador, Greg Murphy, says the group appearance advocates the importance of teaching people how to learn skills to prepare them for a variety of situations they encounter on the roads. 

“Safe driving is something we all feel passionate about and it’s so important to start with our young drivers and make sure they learn good driving habits from early on. 

“Holden Street Smart has a very specific purpose, and that is to provide a practical learning situation for such drivers to upskill themselves and become better, more aware road users.” 

The hands-on driving programme, which takes place across the country each school holiday, provides young drivers with the opportunity to carry out emergency braking, crash avoidance and low speed manoeuvring.  

“Having the chance to experience these situations first-hand is invaluable and it’s imperative people never stop learning how to drive better, anticipate unusual situations and be aware of their surroundings,” said Greg. 

“It’s only learning through doing which enables people to improve their driving, which will in turn make them safer drivers and go some way to reducing the likelihood of them being involved in an accident or fatality.” 

In addition to Greg Murphy, current drivers including Shane Van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup were amongst the group, along with Tim Slade, Nick Percat, Tim Blanchard, James Courtney, Scott Pye, Jack le Brocq, Anton de Pasquale and Garth Tander or James Golding (TBC) 

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Media release



11th September 2018 – A gap in driver education is a leading contributor to New Zealand’s rising

road toll, with young drivers over-represented in the fatalities.

Motorsport icon and Holden Street Smart ambassador Greg Murphy says much more emphasis is needed on improving driving skills, starting with our youngest drivers.

His comments come after 13 people died last week on our roads, bringing the 2018 toll to 260 - tracking close to being the deadliest in nine years.

Greg Murphy says: “Every day we hear about car accidents and fatalities on our roads, so it’s critical we educate drivers about the dangers of getting behind the wheel, as well as helping them to develop the confidence to feel safe on the road.” 

The Government has recently announced plans for a year-on-year reduction of the national road toll, focusing on a $16.9 billion spend on the country’s transport system, including a programme of median safety barriers, roadside barriers and rumble strip instalments. 

Greg is putting his support behind Holden Street Smart, an initiative which is run every school holiday and provides young drivers with challenging exercises in the safest possible manner. 

“Improving the road system will reduce some of the risks associated with being on the road by making driving more efficient and safer for all road users. However, these improvements won’t change the driving skills of Kiwis, which is where the focus needs to be. The number of damaged median and roadside barriers on perfectly good and straight roads throughout the country, tells you it’s not just the roads that need attention – cars don’t crash themselves. 

“Drivers are still making way too many bad decisions, which in many cases are just because they aren’t aware that they are doing anything wrong. If a driver hasn’t been taught something, then how are they supposed to know?” Murphy says. 

Holden Street Smart is a day-long course for young drivers, accompanied by a parent or caregiver, where they are faced with a variety of scenarios, including learning how to avoid head-on collisions, the importance of driving without distractions and keeping a safe following distance. It’s all done under the watchful eye of experienced coaches and is significantly subsidised by Holden to keep the cost as low as possible, at just $49 for the day.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Holden Street Smart is making a difference by providing drivers with better skills and awareness. And it isn’t just young drivers that are learning - the parents and caregivers attending are leaving with new information and a refreshed way of thinking when it comes to driving better and more safely.” Murphy adds. 

Since launching in February this year, Holden Street Smart has seen more than 400 young drivers, plus their parent or caregiver, take part in the programme, with overwhelmingly positive feedback. 

Vinny McCorkindale, who attended Holden Street Smart with her son in July, says: “It was a very worthwhile day spent in Cromwell with the Holden Street Smart team - not only for the young drivers who took part but also the parents who accompanied them.  There was something for everyone and a great opportunity to sharpen up our everyday driving skills in a controlled environment. This course raises everyone's awareness of our responsibilities on the road - a serious message delivered in a professional way. I would recommend this for all drivers as a fun and very beneficial experience.” 

Marc Ebolo, Managing Director of Holden New Zealand, says: “Holden is committed to tackling and reducing the New Zealand road toll, which is rising at a worrying rate. Hearing that five people were killed on the road in just one day is an enormous sign that there is a lot of work to be done around education and awareness of road safety.” 

“The main purpose of Holden Street Smart is to target the most at-risk group when it comes to accidents and fatalities on the road and it’s young drivers that fall into this category more often than most. We believe this education and hands-on experience will help to change behaviour on the

roads in the future.”

Holden Street Smart courses take place during the school holidays at several locations across the country. To find out more, and to book a spot, visit:  https://www.streetsmart.nz/


“The Street Smart Programme is something that we believe is hugely important and potentially life-saving.”
Greg Murphy, NZ motorsport legend