How to Start a Nonprofit Organization in New Zealand

Determining your organization’s objective should be considered before deciding on how to start a nonprofit. A nonprofit’s primary objective is to give back to the community. As a result, there are a few crucial guidelines to consider when incorporating your NGO.

This article seeks to provide details on how to start a nonprofit in New Zealand.Ā 


How to start a nonprofit
How to start a nonprofit


  • All nonprofits must take into account compliance with state charitable solicitationĀ 
  • In New Zealand, a nonprofit is not required to have a formal legal structureĀ 
  • There is no national organization that oversees nonprofits in New Zealand


What are the guidelines on how to start a nonprofit in New Zealand?

In this article, we will outline a step-by-step procedure to walk you through the process of how to start a nonprofit in New Zealand.

1. Outline your nonprofit governing documentsĀ 

During registration, the government examines the governing document of your organization. Hence, a nonprofit should clearly state its charitable purpose and the legally binding rules for operation. In addition, organizations must not grant any authority to further any non-charitable goals or to advance any private or individual causes.

2. Choose Your Nonprofit’s Legal Structure

In New Zealand, you are not required to have a formal legal structure to start a nonprofit. Nonetheless, incorporating an NPO has a lot of benefits.

A registered charitable trust, for instance, has a strong structure for management and governance, and its board members can set personal responsibility limits.Ā 

On the other hand, an unincorporated group lacks a distinct legal identity, which leaves its members potentially accountable for the group’s debts.

Likewise, there are additional legal frameworks for nonprofits in New Zealand. This includes incorporated societies; trusts; not-for-profit companies; provident societies; social enterprises; and Maori Land trusts.

3. Become a Registered Nonprofit Organization

Generally, there is no national organization that oversees nonprofits in New Zealand. As a result, the legal form you select will determine your registration requirements. For instance, organizations that fall under the Charities Act’s eligibility requirements must register with Charities Services. Afterward, a special number will be given once completed.

Also, a charity trust board, society, or corporation must register with the Companies Office to be incorporated.Ā 

4. Tax Responsibilities for Non-Profits

If a nonprofit is registered and incorporated, the organization must pay tax at the company rate. Likewise, unincorporated organizations will be subject to the progressive individual tax rate in New Zealand.

However, nonprofits can sign up with IRD and submit a request for tax relief. As part of the setup process, an NPO must obtain an IRD number. Income used in New Zealand for charitable causes is tax-exempt.


By and large, all nonprofits must take into account compliance with state charitable solicitation. This rule applies to both newly formed nonprofits seeking to engage in initial fundraising activities and well-established nonprofits planning to expand their fundraising nationally.

To start your nonprofit, you can follow this step-by-step guide on how to start a nonprofit in New Zealand.

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