Ready to go further?

I'll help get you there sooner

Your driver licence is your ticket to success, now more than ever. For work, study, travel and the freedom to choose wherever, and whenever you want to go - your drivers licence gets you there. 

You get helpful, friendly driving lessons from NZTA qualified AA Driving Instructor, Gavin Buchanan.

Learn to drive in our automatic car, or your own manual car. Thames Driver Training is your local AA Driving School in the Thames, Paeroa, Waihi, PaeroaWhitianga and Hauraki Plains area.

Our easy online calendar, lets you check what times are available in different places and to book your lessons online anytime.

driving lessons

Driving lessons, or a Defensive Driving course, are a great practical gift idea! 

  • Happy girl holding Learner Licence doing thumbs up

    Now that you have your Learner Licence, I’ll help you move toward your Restricted Licence.

    First we’ll talk about how much driving, and what type of driving you have done (if any) and what you’d like extra help with.

    As a NZTA fully qualified and endorsed Driving Instructor, I'll show you how to drive, what to do - and what not to do.

    Have driving lessons in your own car, or in our new dual control Suzuki Swift.

    Find out more about driving lessions to get your Restricted Driver Licence

  • Happy student with full licence in car

    The Full Licence test is very interactive and comprehensive.

    It's a test of your observation skills as much as your driving abilities. 

    You will learn to identify what hazards are and how they could affect you. 

    Learn how to safeguard yourself and others from each specific hazard.

    I'll help you to understand what you need to know, so you can practice and become confident before you take your Full Drivers Licence test.

    Find out more about driving lessons to get your Full Driver Licence

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    Save money, time and stress - be completely prepared for your test by doing a practice test.

    I conducted over 5000 tests as a Testing Officer before I became a Driving Instructor, so you can’t get any more like the real thing!

    You will learn what's expected and marked for in your practical Restricted or Full Licence driving test.

    I'll point out any skills you need to improve on in your driving, or any errors that could see your test terminated.

    Find out more about Simulated Practical Driving Tests

driving courses

Learner Licence Courses

An interactive two day course to help you get your Learner Licence.

You'll learn the road rules in the New Zealand Road Code. Find out the difference between compulsory road rules, advisory actions, best practice and the reasoning behind some of New Zealand’s road rules.

Shortly after the course (usually the next day) you will do your Learners Licence test.

Find out more about our next Learner Licence course.

AA Defensive Driving Courses

This course teaches you how to drive more safely and also cuts six months off the time to get your full licence.

The course is 9 hours of learning time in total, held over four evenings in group sessions.

Hands on practical skills are taught during an individual in car tuition session in our new Suzuki Swift (or your car if you prefer). Access to e-drive online learning is included for further practice at home.

We run AA Defensive Driving courses in Thames, Waihi and Whangamata and other areas by arrangement for schools or groups.

Find out more about our next Defensive Driving Course.

senior driving coaching

For older drivers, I provide relaxed in-car refresher coaching. This helps keep you confident and safe in your driving skills. You'll also feel secure that your knowledge of the current road rules is up to date.

If you're an AA members aged over 74 this is a free AA member benefit every two years.

Find out more about Senior Driving Coaching here.

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about me

Hi, I’m Gavin Buchanan, your local AA Driving Instructor.

Coming from a Testing Officer background, I offer you the best of both worlds because I will share my in-depth knowledge of what’s expected of you during your test.

I’ve spent most of my life on New Zealand roads. I’ve ridden horses, pedaled bikes, driven cars, trucks, hauled heavy trailers, been an in-house Driver Trainer, Logistics Manager and I was a Driving Testing Officer for 5 years.

I conduct AA Defensive Driving courses and also provide Defensive Driving for Fleet and Business customers.

My goal is to help you succeed to learn to drive safely and to get your driver licence.


Gavin Buchanan - AA Driving Instructor
Thames Driver Training 
Phone: 07 8685581
Mobile: 027 2686381

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