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15 Mar 2024

Incorporated Societies Changes - Things you need to know

If your organisation or group is an incorporated society, then you may already know about the changes that are happening. If you weren’t aware, the rules which govern New Zealand’s incorporated societies have been refreshed for the first time in 114 years.

This change aims to modernise the way societies deal with internal disputes, clarifies officers’ duties and prescribes accounting standards for larger entities. It contains a number of changes that existing incorporated societies need to address, and then they need to re-register before the 5th April 2026.

For societies in the arts, culture and creative sector, this is an opportunity to strategically look at the way you operate, determine if remaining a society is the best approach, or if there is another organisational structure that might be better suited.

There are a range of information sources and guides available online and the Incorporated Societies section of the Companies Register has a range of articles and details about the changes. You could also choose to work with a lawyer to work through the changes. 

In part of wanting to make this process as easy as possible for the societies in the arts, culture and creative ecosystem of the Waikato, we have worked with the team at Tompkins Wake –  a leading New Zealand law firm – to create a resource to highlight the key things to be aware of an consider in meeting the requirements of the new act. 

Tompkins Wake “believes in the power of collaboration”. They worked with the team at Creative Waikato to understand the broad ranging nature of our sector, as well as sharing specialist knowledge to create an accessible resource that hopefully helps to simplify this process and encourage all our local incorporated societies to be proactive in working through these changes before the deadline. 

You can download a copy of the resource here


Key things to note:


  • The re-registration process will involve reregistering your society on the Incorporated Societies Register. 
  • This process includes providing an up-to-date rules document (which will now be called a constitution) that complies with the 2022 act.
  • The new act is more comprehensive than the 1908 Act and will help to integrate best practice processes into all societies 
  • The 2022 Act places a stronger emphasis on officers acting in the best interest of the society.
  • Your society must have a governing body (its committee) of at least 3 people.
  • Your society must maintain a membership of 10 people (previously only need 15 to register) 

Take some time and read through the provided guide as it will be important to start to work through this process with enough time to support your group before the re-registration deadline.


Disclaimer note from Creative Waikato and Tompkins Wake:

The information contained in this article and the attached document is for general guidance only and does not constitute full legal or financial advice.