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Incorporated Societies Update

The new Incorporated Societies Act came fully into force on 5 October 2023

The Incorporated Societies Act 2022 (the 2022 Act) came into effect on 5 October 2023. To reregister or register for the first time, your society will need to provide a constitution that’s compliant with the 2022 Act. The 2022 Act sets out what you must include in your constitution.

It’s important to understand that a rules document, or constitution, is a key legal document for every incorporated society operating in New Zealand. It sets out your society’s purposes, what it does and how it operates. Your society can only carry out lawful activities that align with the purposes outlined in its constitution. Your officers, committee and members should always refer to this document for guidance about running your society, particularly before making any decisions.

What must be included in your society’s constitution

Every incorporated society must have a set of rules. Under the 2022 Act the rules document is called a constitution. It specifies what must be included in your society’s constitution. These requirements existed before — they are just more clearly set out in the 2022 Act.

For example —

  • Why your society exists – (what its purpose is)
  • How someone becomes a member, and the conditions of membership,
  • The makeup of your society’s committee, its roles, functions, powers, and procedures
  • How your society will hold general meetings, make decisions, and elect or appoint officers

Your society may need to change or add new rules. For instance, your society might need to add rules that are compulsory under the 2022 Act. Such as —

  • The need to have at least one contact person, and no more than 3. You must also include how each contact person is elected or appointed.
  • How members and officers give their consent.
  • The procedure for resolving disputes.
  • Whether, and how, written resolutions may be passed instead of holding general meetings.
  • Distribution of surplus assets – they must be given to a not-for-profit organisation (or a class of organisations) that is identified in your constitution.

Once you’ve re-registered with the Companies Office, you’ll need to let Charities Services know about the changes to your rules. The Companies Office looks after the Register of Incorporated Societies (a different register from the Charities Register) and there are lots of useful resources and information on their website to help you with the re-registration process.

For further information click on this link:

Unfortunately, with details changing all the time and at such speed, we need to add that the above content is correct at the time of writing as far as the author is aware and is very much subject to change. We have, to the best of our ability, acknowledged any shared content. All related links provided to the corresponding websites are subject to change as they are live links.