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New guide on accounting for koha

New Guide on Accounting for koha

The Charities Services recently created a new guide on their website that looks at how to report koha.

This new resource is aimed at helping charities report on receiving and gifting koha in their annual performance reports  

Koha can be hard to account for, as the way it is given, and what could be considered as koha, can vary greatly. This resource explains the concept of koha and provides step-by-step guidance to help charities report on it more easily.

What is koha?

While koha can be described as an “unconditional gift”, the way koha is given and what is given as koha can vary widely, and this changes how it will be reported. The purpose of this guide is to help you think about how to report koha in your performance report. We have also included some examples of how you could account for different types of koha.

On this page we separate between koha and payments for a good or service. Koha is often given by manuhiri (visitors) to tangata whenua (hosts) in the pōwhiri process. While koha may help with the costs incurred by tangata whenua, the manuhiri are giving koha because it is customary to do so, not as a result of a financial transaction.

Some examples of koha are:

  • gift of money to a marae.
  • gift of art with the intention they sell it.
  • gift of whiteware to a marae to use in their facilities.

Some people refer to koha as the cost of goods or service, such as the payment for renting out or staying at a marae.

When and how do I record koha?

When recording koha you first need to know if the koha given was cash, or non-cash. Then look at whether anything was provided in exchange, which would be considered a Receipt from providing goods and services. If it was not cash, consideration needs to be made if it was significant to the charity.

The word “significant” on this page is an accounting term. It’s used to refer to something you expect to use for more than 12 months, or an asset large enough in value that not recording it could change the reader’s understanding of your charity/performance report.

We are not talking about things that are culturally significant, such as taonga. We are also not talking about things that may have cultural significance, but no monetary value or no way of being priced. If you think it’s important for readers of your performance report, then providing a Note with a descriptive list of significant taonga may be an appropriate way of acknowledging the mana of those that have donated taonga to your group. If your charity is gifted taonga that is also significant from an accounting perspective (e.g. a high value piece of art), you would still need to record this as income and an asset.


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.