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The name of your organisation
To be registered under the Charities Act 2005, your charity's name must meet the requirements of the Act.
The first question asked on the application form for registration under the Charities Act 2005 is "what is the full legal name of your entity?"
Some organisations use several names, so we ask you to tell us your "legal name" and we check that against the Act's requirements.
When we receive your application we check your legal name against the Companies Office registers and our own Charities Register. The Charities Act says that names of organisations incorporated under the:
- Incorporated Societies Act 1908
- Charitable Trusts Act 1957
- Companies Act 1993
or established or constituted by another Act, comply with section 15 of the Charities Act, so we do not review these names for offensive or misleading criteria.
Therefore, we review the names of all applicants not incorporated as described above, to make sure we are satisfied that, in terms of the Commission's policy, they are not offensive or liable to mislead the public.
What is your "legal name"?
If you are registered with the Companies Office as an incorporated society, incorporated charitable trust board (also known as a registered charitable trust) or a company, your legal name is the name you are incorporated under. This is the name you should use in answer to the first question when you apply to us for registration.
If you are established by name under an Act of Parliament you should use that name.
If none of the above apply to you, then use the name:
- that your rules state is your full and correct legal name, or
- or that is the most formal name that your charity is known by - for example, the name that is used on formal documents such as your rules, trust deed or other governing document.
It is important to include words like "The", "Te", "Trust", "NZ", or "New Zealand" if they are part of your name.
Only include the word "Incorporated" if it is part of your legal name. Your organisation may have been incorporated under an Act but the word "Incorporated" may not necessarily be part of your legal name. Usually, but not always, it will be the last word of your name if you are incorporated under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.
What if your charity is commonly known by a name that is not your full legal name?
The Charities Register will show your organisation's full legal name (the name under which you are registered). This is the name that will be displayed by the Register search function. If you provided another name by which you are commonly known, it will be shown on your Application Record (which is included in your organisation's entry on the Charities Register).
What criteria do we use to decide whether a name is offensive or misleading?
We use a similar approach to the Registrar of Companies. A name may be considered offensive or misleading if it is:
- contrary to public policy (not acceptable to the majority of the general public, for example, a name that shows racial prejudice or includes "hate" speech)
- liable to offend a particular section of the community or a particular religion
- could mislead someone about your purpose because it indicates a purpose different from those stated in your rules
- implies a connection with another organisation which appears not to be the case (we will give you the opportunity to provide information to show that you do have a connection)
- is identical to the name of another organisation already registered with the Companies Office or the Charities Commission
- would amount to an offence against any Act, including the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981.