Complying with your society's rules

How your society should be run

One of the requirements of being an incorporated society is that you have a set of rules stating clearly how the society should be run.

The Incorporated Societies Act 1908 sets out what must be covered in your constitution or set of rules including —

  • the society’s 'objects' (its purpose)
  • its membership
  • how meetings are held
  • the appointment of officers
  • use of the society’s ‘common seal’
  • how the rules can be altered
  • the control of funds and property, and
  • how to wind up a society.

It's important to adhere to your society's rules. They should be followed at all times.

If you want to change the way your society operates, then the rules can be updated at any time, as long as it’s done in the way the existing rules specify.

What if your society is not being run in line with its rules, or legislation?

A society may experience internal problems or disagreements about how it is being run, or the way in which its rules are being interpreted or applied. These problems must be dealt with by the society itself.

We cannot intervene in disputes or provide interpretations of rules. The Incorporated Societies Act 1908 does give us certain powers to investigate alleged breaches of the Act, but not breaches of a society's rules.

Viewing incorporated societies’ rules

All incorporated societies’ rules can be viewed online, for free.

Search for societies

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