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Starting a new charity

If you are thinking about starting a new charity, and want to make informed decisions, these resources can help you identify and ask the right questions. In addition, this material is useful in developing your charity when you first start operating. 

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Considering registering as a charity?

Deciding to become a Registered Charity creates opportunities and obligations for an organisation. This resource aims to help you understand what these opportunities and obligations are.

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Charitable purpose

If you decide to apply to register as a charity, you will hear a lot about a legal concept called ‘charitable purpose’. This is a complex legal concept embedded in section 5(1) of the Charities Act 2005. It has evolved through 400 years of case law, since the Statute of Charitable Uses came into force in England in 1601. Judges’ decisions continue to shape the meaning of ‘charitable purpose’ in New Zealand.

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Rules and the Charities Act 2005

Your rules are the documents that set out your charity's purposes, what you do and how you operate.  For example, they may be your trust deed, constitution or charter. If your organisation was specifically set up under an Act of Parliament, your rules may be set out in that Act.

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How to apply

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Ready to apply?

Read the information on this page if you are ready to apply for registration. The link to apply online is also on this page. 

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Group registration

Registered charities that are affiliated or closely related, and have similar charitable purposes, can apply to register as a group under the Charities Act 2005. Charities must nominate one member to be the “parent” entity that applies for group registration on behalf of all charities in the group.

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Restricting information

The Charities Act 2005 emphasises transparency and the availability of information about registered charities to "promote public trust and confidence in the charitable sector".

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Fee summary

View our fee summary here

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