Using our Constitution Builder to draft or revise a society’s constitution

An online tool for drafting or revising society constitution under the 2022 Act

This tool can help you draft a constitution that complies with the Incorporated Societies Act 2022 (2022 Act) if your society is —

  • Registering for the first time on or after 5 October 2023, or
  • Reregistering as a 2022 Act society.

Every incorporated society must have a constitution. Your constitution is a document that details how your society will operate.

Here are some examples of the provisions that must be covered:

  • why your society exists – what its purpose is
  • how someone becomes a member and the conditions of membership
  • the makeup of your society’s committee and its roles, functions, powers, and procedures
  • how your society will hold general meetings, make decisions, and elect or appoint officers
  • the procedures for resolving disputes.

To help you draft your constitution, we have a 'do-it-yourself' online tool for writing or revising your society’s constitution — the Constitution Builder.

How to use the Constitution Builder

It is free to use the Constitution Builder. Once you finish, we'll send you a draft constitution as a Word document that you can then review with your members.

In our tool we have 3 different rule types —

  1. Mandatory rules
    • The rules required to be in your society’s constitution by the Incorporated Societies Act 2022, and
    • Rules that are essential to include so that your constitution makes sense (for example, the ‘Definitions’ clause)
  2. Recommended rules
    If you include these rules your society’s constitution will be more comprehensive – many reflect best practice ways of running societies.
  3. Optional rules
    These rules might only suit some societies. You can choose to include these if they are appropriate for how your society will operate.

Information you'll need to get started

There is some information you must have on hand so you can complete the mandatory rules.

Mandatory rules

  • Your society's name
    It must end with the word ‘Incorporated’, ‘Inc’ or the word ‘Manatōpū’. You can choose to use a combination of these words as the last word or words of your society’s name.
  • Whether your society will be registered as a charitable entity under the Charities Act 2005.
  • Your society's purposes
    What it intends to do or achieve.
  • Some procedural information about holding general meetings —
    • How many working days’ notice your society will give when calling a general meeting.
    • What's required, including how much notice must be given, for motions to be able to be voted on at a general meeting.
    • How many members forms a quorum at a general meeting (a percentage of eligible members)
    • Who would chair the meeting if the Chairperson was absent.
    • Whether the meeting Chairperson has a casting vote and whether they have the power to adjourn a meeting.
    • What the grounds are for removing a person from the meeting.
    • Whether meetings can be held electronically as well as physically meeting in person.
    • Whether your society may pass a written resolution in lieu of a general meeting. And if so, what percentage of members must approve such a resolution for it to be passed.
    • What percentage of eligible members need to sign a request making it necessary for the committee to call a Special General Meeting.
  • What grounds apply for the committee to pass a resolution to cease a member’s membership.
  • How many members will be on the committee
    There must be at least 3.
  • How officers are elected or appointed
    The tool offers 3 options.
  • The term of office for each officer plus —
    • The maximum number of consecutive terms an officer can serve.
    • The maximum number of consecutive years a chairperson can serve.
  • The grounds for removing an officer.
  • Some procedural information about holding committee meetings —
    • How many officers forms a quorum at a committee meeting (half or two-thirds)
    • Whether the meeting Chairperson has a casting vote.
  • When your society's financial year begins and ends
    The day and month.
  • How the constitution can be amended
    • The percentage of eligible members that must sign the proposed motion to amend the constitution and when they need to get the signed motion to the Committee (the number of working days before the general meeting).
    • How many working days’ notice the committee will give when giving notice to members of a proposal to amend the constitution.
    • Whether the resolution can be passed by a simple majority or a two-thirds majority.
  • The legal name, description, or class of not-for-profit organisation that any surplus assets would be given to if your society is put into liquidation or removed from the register.

There are also several 'Recommended' and 'Optional' rules that you can customise to suit your society.

  • For example, it’s no longer mandatory for societies to have a common seal but if your society will, you will need to record who will have custody of the common seal and who will countersign when the common seal is affixed to a document.

You can save your draft

Once you've started creating a constitution you can save it and come back later to finish adding the details.

When you save your draft, we'll send you an email that contains a link to use when you're ready to carry on drafting.

  • Make sure you enter a valid email address. You will need the email to come back to your saved draft.
  • Each time you save a draft, we'll keep it in the system for 90 days.
  • We'll send you a reminder email 30 days before the draft is due to expire.

Start drafting your constitution

Use our Constitution Builder tool

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