Take atawhai - Charitable purpose


This page outlines information on charitable purpose and guidance on stating your purpose in your rules.

To be registered as a charity in Aotearoa, your take atawhai (charitable purpose) must fall under one or more categories:

Ngā take tātaku - Stated purposes

When writing the purpose clauses for your rules it is good to think about how you will frame them. The examples below are a suggestion only. Some charities find it helpful to state the charitable purpose and then state how they will achieve it.

"Te whakamāmā i te pōharatanga mā te. . ." - “To relieve poverty by. . .”  

"Te kōkiri i te mātauranga mā te. . ." - “To advance education by. . .”

"Te kōkiri i te hāhi mā te. . ."- "To advance religion by. . .”

"Te whai hua mō te hapori mā te. . ." - “To be beneficial to the community by. . .”

Find out more about take atawhai (charitable purpose)(external link).

Ngā tauira rārangi kaupapa - Example purpose clauses

Te whakamāmā pōharatanga - The relief of poverty (external link)

Example - Promoting the relief of poverty through providing kai to whānau in need. 

Example - To provide mahi for the unemployed people of the...(hapū name).

Te kōkiri mātauranga - The advancement of education(external link)

Example - To provide a safe, supportive learning environment for our mokopuna to become competent in te reo Māori.

Example - To develop a sense of whanaungatanga by motivating a cultural awareness of Tikanga Māori by ensuring the preservation, promotion and development of hapū history, language and kaupapa.

Te kōkiri hāhi - The advancement of religion (external link)

Example – To preserve and maintain the church and the marae property based on the kaupapa and tikanga handed down by our tupuna to us for the following purposes – religious activities, hui, tangihanga, educational and training activities, fundraising activities and ventures, Māori culture, recreational purposes and all other gatherings associated with marae life.

Ngā take whai hua mō te hapori - Other purposes beneficial to the community(external link)

Example – To develop a zero waste programme based on te ao Māori that integrates, social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits and visions.

Example – To work in partnership with territorial authorities, marae, Māori authorities, industry and central government to achieve the goal of zero waste on marae within Aotearoa.

Te hiranga o ngā mahi - Importance of activities

When we are assessing a charity for registration, a group's stated purposes and its activities are considered. It is important that activities are connected to a charitable purpose to qualify to be registered as a charity.

Example purposeTo uplift a group of people through the promotion of economic and social development.

Ngā tauira o ngā momo mahi - Example activities

  • Providing hapori (community) programmes at a marae in a rural area to support a hapū and the wider hapori would likely qualify.
  • Providing grants to individuals or businesses in a wealthy area would unlikely to qualify for registration.

This is because the purpose to promote economic and social development is charitable where it is directed at regeneration of an area, or those who need support. Providing grants to those who do not need to be “uplifted” would not be connected with the charitable purpose.

Te aronga ki ngā kaupapa ōhanga me ngā kaupapa whakawhanake -ā-pāpori - The approach to economic and social development purposes

Your group may have previously had to amend its purposes from “advancing or lifting up” a group of people through “economic and social development”. The independent Te Rātā Atawhai (Charities Registration Board) clarified their approach for organisations with broad purposes.

Our approach is to accept those broad “catch-all” purposes, provided the activities undertaken support or are consistent with charitable purposes. 

Kei hea ētahi atu whakamārama mō ngā momo kaupapa mahi atawhai? - Where can I find out more information about charitable purposes?

Our website has a lot of information about charitable purpose(external link). We also published guidance on public benefit(external link).

The online book ‘Charity Law in New Zealand’ contains detailed information about each charitable purpose, including references to relevant case law. 'Charity Law in New Zealand' is available to access or download on the Charities Services website(external link).

Our website includes all previous legal decisions(external link). Each of these explains why particular applicants have been declined registration.

There are other resources that give more information. Hon Justice Joe Williams, the first Māori Judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court of New Zealand, spoke about charitable purpose in the context of Aotearoa in his address to the 2019 Charity Law and Accounting conference. He considered how charitable purpose might look in the modern-day context of Aotearoa, particularly for Māori charities.

Justice Joe Williams’ speech ‘Pemsel in the Pacific?’ [PDF, 456KB](external link)