So you’ve decided to get your motorcycle licence—that’s awesome! Getting your motorcycle licence is a three-stage process.

Firstly you need to get your Learner Licence. Then your Restricted Licence — and finally your Full Licence. Each stage requires successfully passing testing or assessments.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) (the Government entity responsible for driver and rider licensing) has introduced a new assessment system which will eventually replace the old system. This system–Competency-Based Training & Assessment (CBTA)–places greater emphasis on improving rider skill through training. Under the CBTA Assessment System, the minimum time period it will take an absolute beginner to go from Learner Licence to Full Licence is 12 months.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some of the information on this website may be different to the information on the NZTA website. The information on this website only relates to the new CBTA assessment system (the NZTA website also has information about the old system).

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Getting your Learner Licence >

The first stage in getting your motorcycle licence is to get your Learner Licence. Getting your Learner Licence is a two step process:

  • Step One: Sit and pass the Basic Handling Skills Test (BHST)
  • Step Two: Sit and pass the Learner Licence Theory Test

You must complete Step One before sitting Step Two.

You must be at least 16 years old to sit your Learner Licence Theory test.

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STEP ONE: Basic Handling SKILLS Test (BHST)

To apply for your Motorcycle Learner Licence you must produce a Basic Handling Test Certificate. This requires you pass the Basic Handling Skills Test (BHST) as assessed by an approved assessor such as Ornsby Motorcycle Training. You can undertake the BHST at any age — you do not need to be 16 (the minimum age to apply for your Learner Licence).

The BHST test takes about 1.5 hours; 1 hour 15 minutes for the assessor to explain what you need to do, demonstrate and allow time for you to practice.  The test itself takes about 15 minutes. You can book the Basic Handling Skills Test (BHST) with Ornsby Motorcycle Training below –but please read these notes first:

  • The BHST is NOT a ‘learn to ride’ lesson. To pass the BHST you MUST have the some ability to ride a motorcycle. An absolute beginner (i.e.: never started a motorcycle) booking the BHST will NOT learn to ride and pass this test within this 1 hour testing period.
  • An unlicensed rider with limited experience (such as an offroad/motocross rider or someone who has been riding without a licence) may also fail this test if they do not undertake prior rider training.
  • We strongly recommend all riders of all skill levels to undertake rider training prior to sitting the BHST. Ornsby Motorcycle Training offer one-on-one sessions designed to take you from low or zero skill to having basic skills competency with the aim of passing the BHST.

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STEP TWO: LEARNER Licence Theory Test

Once you have passed your Basic Handling Skills Test (BHST), you are required to sit the Licence Theory Test. The Licence Theory Test is a computer-based, 35-question (25 general and 10 motorcycle specfic), multi-choice test that assesses your knowledge of the Road Code and safe riding practices. You will need to get at least 32 questions right to pass. Upon successfully passing the Licence Theory Test, you will be issued with a temporary learner licence so you can start practising your riding. Your photo driver licence will be posted to you.

The Licence Theory Test is undertaken through a NZTA Driver Licensing agent. Ornsby Motorcycle Training do not facilitate the Licence Theory Test. This is the only stage of the Licensing process that we can not offer.

The current list of Driver Licensing agents are:

To find a NZTA Licensing agent near you:

To find out more about the Licence Theory Test:


Once You Have Your Learner Licence

Once you have been issued with your Learner Licence you are legally entitled to ride a motorcycle on the road within the restrictions set for this licence class. These restrictions are:

  • You must not ride between 10pm and 5am.
  • You must not carry any passengers on your motorcycle or moped or in any sidecar.
  • You must not tow another vehicle.
  • You must always have a learner (L) plate attached to the rear of your motorcycle or moped.
  • You must only ride a LAMS approved motorcycle. For a full list of LAMS approved motorcycles click here.

Getting Your Restricted Licence >

The second stage in getting your motorcycle licence is to get your Restricted Licence. Under the CBTA assessment system there is NO MINIMUM time restriction for applying for your Restricted Licence—the only restriction is you must be at least 16½ years of age. Getting your Restricted Licence is a one step process:

  • Step One: Sit and pass the Competency-Based Training & Assessment (CBTA 6R / Restricted)

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Step One: Competency-Based Training & Assessment (CBTA 6R / Restricted)

The on-road Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA 6R / Restricted) is a comprehensive one-on-one assessment of your riding skills to ensure you are competent. The assessment is conducted by an approved assessor such as Ornsby Motorcycle Training. You can sit the on-road Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA 6R / Restricted) at any point once you have your Learner Licence—there is NO minimum time period. Once you successfully pass your assessment you will be issued with a certificate which you need to present, along with paying the application fee, at an approved licensing agency. They will then issue you with your Restricted Licence.

The assessment booking takes about 1½ hours; with the assessment itself taking about 50-60 minutes (depending on traffic) and 30 minutes for the assessor to fill out the paperwork, debrief and issue the certificate. You can book the assessment with Ornsby Motorcycle Training below—but please read these notes first:

  • The Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA 6R / Restricted) is a very different level of assessment to the old ‘Practical’ test, which many riders would have undertaken as part of getting their licence. Most riders who DO NOT undertake optional rider training prior to the assessment will find the assessment difficult and may NOT pass.
  • The CBTA assessment process sets a high standard, we strongly recommend all riders of all skill levels to undertake rider training in preparation to sit the Competency-Based Training and Assessment. Ornsby Motorcycle Training offer two options for rider training to prepare you for the CBTA 6R (Restricted). The good news is—now that you have your Learner Licence you are able to attend Ride Forever rider training group courses at heavily subsidised rates, as the ACC picks up a significant amount of the cost! We do however also offer one-on-one training sessions should you prefer.

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Once You Have Your Restricted Licence

Once you have been issued with your Restricted Licence you are legally entitled to ride a motorcycle on the road within the restrictions set for this licence class. These restrictions are:

  • You can drive on your own between 5am and 10pm.
  • You must not carry any passengers on your motorcycle or moped or in any sidecar.
  • You must not tow another vehicle.
  • You must only ride a LAMS approved motorcycle. For a full list of LAMS approved motorcycles click here.
  • You can remove the learner (L) plate attached to the rear of your motorcycle or moped.

Getting Your Full Licence >

The third and final stage in getting your motorcycle licence is to get your Full Licence. Under the CBTA Assessment System you must have held your Restricted Licence for a MINIMUM of 12 months before applying for your Full Licence. Getting your Full Licence is a one step process:

  • Step One: Sit and pass the on-road Competency-Based Training & Assessment (CBTA 6F / Full)

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Step One: Competency-Based Training & Assessment (CBTA 6F / Full)

The on-road Competency-Based Training & Assessment (CBTA 6F / Full) is a comprehensive one-on-one assessment of your riding skills, similar to the CBTA assessment undertaken for your Restricted Licence. The assessment is conducted by an approved assessor such as Ornsby Motorcycle Training. Once you successfully pass your assessment you will be issued with a certificate which you need to present, along with paying the application fee, at an approved licensing agency. They will then issue you with your Full Licence.

The assessment takes about 1 hour; with the assessment itself taking about 25-30 minutes (depending on traffic) and 30 minutes for the assessor to fill out the paperwork, debrief and issue the certificate. You can book the assessment with Ornsby Motorcycle Training below—but please read these notes first:

  • The Competency-Based Training & Assessment (CBTA 6F / Full) is a very different level of assessment to the old ‘Practical’ test, which many experienced riders would have undertaken as part of getting their licence. Many riders who DO NOT undertake optional rider training prior to the assessment will find the assessment difficult and may NOT pass.
  • The CBTA assessment process sets a high standard, we strongly recommend all riders of all skill levels to undertake rider training in preparation to sit the Competency-Based Training and Assessment. Ornsby Motorcycle Training offer two options for rider training to prepare you for the CBTA (Full); you can choose to attend Ride Forever rider training group courses at heavily subsidised rates, or undertake one-on-one training sessions should you prefer.

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