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Advancement of education/Te kōkiri mātauranga
Updated 17 March 2023
This page offers guidance on one of the four categories of charitable purpose, advancement of education. It explains how a charity can advance education in a charitable way, and provides some examples of wording used by charitable organisations.
To be charitable under this category, your organisation's purpose must:
The modern concept of "education" covers formal education, training and research in specific areas of study, and expertise. It also includes less formal education in the development of individual capabilities, competencies, skills and understanding.
Museums and galleries for the public, promotion of cultural and artistic appreciation of the arts, music and literature can all be considered as education.
If an organisation conducts research, to fit within the “advancement of education” head of charity, the research needs to be carried out in an objective and impartial way. This also means that the findings of the research are available and accessible to the public.
If an organisation uses research to advocate for its point of view on an issue, the advocacy purpose is considered separately from whether it advances education. Advocacy to persuade people to a particular point of view is not the same as advancing education. To advance education, an organisation must have a genuine educational purpose.
Activities that relate to propaganda, opinions or lack neutrality, or are biased towards a particular outcome, would not qualify as advancement of education.
Advocacy for a particular view can still be charitable even if it does not advance education in a charitable sense. For further information about when advocacy is charitable, see Advocacy/Taunakitanga(external link).
You should also read Charities Services information about charitable purpose and your rules.(external link)
Here are some examples of wording used by charitable organisations to show how they fit with the "advancement of education" charitable purpose:
To advance education...
The book Charity Law in New Zealand(external link) includes detailed information about each charitable purpose, including references to relevant case law. Charity Law in New Zealand is available to download on the Charities Services website.
You can also read (external link) explaining why particular applicants have been declined registration. Reading the decisions can help you understand how your purposes must be charitable and provide for the public benefit. The following legal decisions are particularly useful for understanding the advancement of education:
Family First Supreme Court Decision(external link)
Greenpeace of New Zealand High Court Decision(external link)
Draco Foundation (New Zealand) High Court Decision(external link)