Changing your society's rules or name

How to request a change, and what's required

An incorporated society can change the rules that govern how it is run. So it’s worth reviewing your rules periodically to make sure they stay relevant. You may wish to seek legal advice when doing this.

A change to your rules must be made according to the procedures outlined in your existing set of rules. Any changes must also comply with the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.

It’s free to update your society’s rules on the register.

A rule change takes effect only when you have registered it with us. Until then, the existing rules must be followed. To check that a change has been registered, you can search the register of incorporated societies.

Search for societies Use our Constitution Builder tool

Let us know what you think

We’re keen to refine the Constitution Builder tool to make it as useful as we can, so we’d love to hear your feedback.

Let us know what you think of our Constitution Builder tool

Changing your society’s name

If you wish to change your society’s name, you’ll need to follow the same process as that for changing your rules. This is because a society’s name is established by its rules – in fact, it’s the first rule of an incorporated society.

Before deciding on a new name, be sure that you can use it.

Once the name change has been registered, we will send you a new Certificate of Incorporation stating the new name.

What you’ll need to provide

When changing your rules, or your name, you’ll need to submit:

  • a copy of the updated rules with the alterations highlighted OR a copy of the rule (or rules) that have been changed. This must be signed by three members of the society
  • if you’re filing manually, Form IS2: ‘Certificate for alteration of rules’.

How to change your rules or name

To update your society’s rules or name online

  1. Log in to your online services account.
  2. On the dashboard, select the incorporated society for which you wish to file a rule change from 'My Businesses'.
  3. On the 'View Details' page, select ‘Maintain Incorporated Society’ and, from the drop-down menu, choose ‘Change Society Rules/Change Society Name’.
  4. Confirm whether your rule change involves a name change. (Alternatively, you can click the 'Name Change' button on the 'View Details' page.)
  5. If yes, enter the proposed name. You can use the ‘Name availability check’ button to ensure the new name is available.
  6. Upload a copy of the updated rules.
  7. Include any documents to support your change of rules or change of name.
  8. Tick the certification box.
  9. Compete the signatory details and click ‘Submit’.

To submit a rule change manually

  1. Download Form IS2 – Certificate for alteration of rules.
  2. Complete the form, making sure the confirmation box is ticked if the alteration involves a change of name for your society.
  3. Attach a copy of the updated rules, signed by three members of the society, and any other supporting documents.

Send your completed form to us.

By post to —

Companies Office
Private Bag 92061
Victoria Street West
Auckland 1142

or by email to processing@companiesoffice.govt.nz

What happens next

Reviewing your request may take up to three working days. We'll send you an email or letter confirming the rule or name change has been registered.

Any change of name takes effect from the date we update the register. At that time we'll issue an updated Certificate of Incorporation.

A name change does not affect the rights or liabilities of the incorporated society, and doesn't affect legal proceedings by, or against, the society. Legal proceedings taken against the society under its former name may be continued against it under its new name.

All help topics

Getting started on the register 6 guides

Find out about incorporated societies and the Incorporated Societies Register, and what's needed to register and maintain an incorporated society in New Zealand.

Searching the Incorporated Societies Register 2 guides

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

Starting an incorporated society 3 guides

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

Running your incorporated society 6 guides

Once you've registered your incorporated society, you'll need to maintain it by keeping your details up to date, filing annual financial statements, and meeting your other legal obligations.

Keeping society details up to date 5 guides

Once you've registered your incorporated society, you'll need to file annual financial statements and update other society details when they change.

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. There are two ways this can be done – by dissolving the society, or having it liquidated.

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

Forms you'll need to register your incorporated society and keep it up to date, along with a schedule of fees payable.

Managing your online account 6 guides