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Advancement of religion/Te kōkiri hāhi
This page explains how a charity advances religion in a charitable way, and provides some examples of wording used by charitable organisations to show how they fit within the "advancement of religion" charitable purpose.
You should also read Charities Services information about Charitable purpose and your rules.
To be charitable under this category, your organisation's purpose must:
It’s generally assumed that an organisation which advances religion also provides a public benefit. However, this may not always be the case.
The term "religion" includes many different faiths and belief systems (for example, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism). Generally, however, to be religious there needs to be a body of doctrines that:
The doctrines and canons of conduct must also be sufficiently structured, clear and serious so as to be capable of advancing religion.
To "advance religion", a faith must be passed on to others by spreading its message and taking positive steps to sustain and increase the religious belief. An activity that is simply connected to religious activity will not be sufficient.
For example, a court found a newspaper connected to a church did not in and of itself advance religion.
Where an organisation advances religion in a charitable manner, it is assumed that it provides a public benefit. However, if the organisation promotes conduct that is inconsistent with prevailing public policy, or it is focussed too narrowly on its adherents, that presumption may be rebutted.
For example, previous courts’ decisions have said:
Here are some examples of wording used by charitable organisations to show how they fit with the "advancement of religion" charitable purpose:
PLEASE NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list, and if you plan to use different wording, you may wish to ask us before finalising your rules document - email@example.com.
You can read a book about Charity Law in New Zealand if you want to know more about the advancement of religion as a charitable purpose. It contains 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 Decisions 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 religion: