Bringing an incorporated society to an end

When a society needs to be wound up

New legislation for incorporated societies

Between 5 October 2023 and 5 April 2026 there are 2 Acts in force.

If your society —

  • registered for the first time on or after 5 October 2023, the Incorporated Societies Act 2022 (2022 Act) applies.
  • registered before 5 October 2023 and has reregistered since then, the 2022 Act applies.
  • registered before 5 October 2023 and has not yet reregistered, the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 (1908 Act) applies.

An incorporated society may reach a point where it is no longer active, or can no longer operate. This could be because membership numbers have dropped, the society’s purpose has been achieved, or the society is in financial difficulty.

This section applies to societies currently registered under the 1908 Act

If your society existed before 5 October 2023, it must operate under and comply with the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 (the 1908 Act) until it reregisters under the 2022 Act.

If you’re not sure which Act applies to your society, you can check by searching the Incorporated Societies Register for free.

When a society reaches the end of its 'life' there are two ways it can be brought to an end – by dissolving the society, or having it put into liquidation. A society’s rules may specify which is required.

Dissolving an incorporated society

If the society has no assets or liabilities (debts), it can apply to us to be ‘dissolved’, and removed from the register.

Before making the request, the society must deal with any financial matters as specified in its rules, and the requirements of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.

Alternatively, we may decide to dissolve the society if we believe it is no longer operating. This can happen if a society fails to file an annual financial statement.

Applications to have an incorporated society dissolved can be made online, following the steps below, or by completing the required form.

Information you’ll need to provide

A society applying to be dissolved must confirm that it —

  • is no longer carrying on its operations
  • has no assets – all surplus assets have been disposed of as required by the society's rules and the Incorporated Societies Act 1908
  • has no liabilities (debts) including contingent liabilities
  • is not a party to any legal proceedings or disputes
  • has resolved to apply to be dissolved.

Read section 28 of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 for more information.

How to apply to dissolve an incorporated society

To apply online to dissolve an incorporated society, you must have:

  • a RealMe® login
  • an online services account for the Incorporated Societies Register
  • authority to update information on the register for the society.

Step by step

  1. Log in to your online services account.
  2. On your dashboard, select the incorporated society you wish to dissolve from 'My Businesses'.
  3. On the 'View Details' page, from the ‘Maintain Incorporated Society’ menu, select ‘Request to Dissolve’.
  4. Confirm the required conditions for dissolving the society (as stated above), and that a resolution has been passed to apply for dissolution.
  5. Once you have confirmed the above, complete the ‘Signatory Details’ section and click the 'Submit' button.
Request to dissolve a society

What happens next

  • The application is reviewed to ensure all requirements are met.
  • If the application is accepted, the society is immediately removed from the register. It may, however, take longer to process a request where we require further information to make a decision.
  • The applicant is notified by letter of the outcome of the request.
  • The Registrar gives public notice of all dissolved societies in the New Zealand Gazette and on our website.

This section applies to societies currently registered under the 2022 Act

All help topics

Getting started on the register 7 guides

Searching the Incorporated Societies Register 2 guides

Find out how to search our registers for information about incorporated societies, and other entities

Starting an incorporated society 5 guides

To incorporate a society in New Zealand you must submit an application, along with the required documents, and pay a registration fee.

Reregistering under the 2022 Act 6 guides

Running your incorporated society 7 guides

Once you’ve registered, you’ll need to keep your details on the register up to date, and follow the rules that apply to incorporated societies and how they are run.

Meeting your annual filing requirements 3 guides

Once you've registered your incorporated society, you'll need to file annual financial statements. Societies registered under the Incorporated Societies Act 2022 must also complete an annual return.

Ending an incorporated society 2 guides

When an incorporated society reaches the end of its 'life', it must be wound up and removed from the register. Here we outline the ways this can be done – by dissolving the society (1908 Act), removing the society from the register (2022 Act) or placing it in liquidation.

Restoring an incorporated society to the register 2 guides

An application can be made to us to have an incorporated society restored to the register, by the society itself, or by a creditor. You'll need to provide evidence to support your application.

Forms and fees 3 guides

The forms you might need to update a society's details, along with the fees that apply and ways you can pay.

Managing your online account 7 guides