Applying to incorporate a society

How to apply and what you’ll need to provide

By the time you’re ready to apply to incorporate your society there are several things you need to have already done.

To incorporate your society, you must complete an online application and pay the application fee of $88.89 (plus GST).

You will need to provide certain information about your proposed society along with a copy of your society’s constitution. We’ll review your application, and we aim to let you know the outcome within 3 working days.

On this page:

The information you’ll need to provide

When you apply for incorporation, you’ll need to provide the following information about your society.

Your society’s proposed name

The name you’ve chosen for your society.

Your society’s proposed name needs to be unique. It can’t be identical or almost identical to the name of another incorporated society or entity (for example, a charitable trust board or a company). It can only be similar to another society or entity name if that organisation gives its written consent. If you have written consent to use your name, upload a copy of that consent when you apply.

Your balance date

You’ll need to tell us when your society’s balance date is. This date should have been decided as part of drafting your society’s constitution.

The ‘balance date’ is the last day of your financial year and it also plays an important role in determining other deadlines for your society. In particular, within 6 months of each balance date your society must —

  • prepare its annual financial statements
  • hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM)
  • present its financial statements to the AGM, and
  • file an annual return with us, along with its annual financial statement.

Your society’s contact details

Registered office address

The address for your registered office must be a full physical address. You cannot use a post office box, private bag or DX address as the registered office.

This is the official address for your society and will be displayed on the register. The registered office address is where your society keeps its records, which could include your register of members. It’s also an address that anyone can use to contact your society and deliver any legal documents, such as court documents.

It must be a full physical address — you can’t use a Post Office box, Private Bag or DX address as the registered office.

Address for communications – physical or postal

You must provide a physical or postal address for communications. We don’t publish this address on the public register, but we’ll use it if we need to send letters to your society so it should be an address that’s actively monitored by someone in your society.

Email address for communications

You must also supply an email address for communications. This email address won’t be visible on the public register, but it will be used by us as a point of contact with your society. We’ll use this email address to send reminders to file your society’s annual financial statement and annual return so choose an address that’s regularly checked by someone in your society and make sure it’s kept up to date.

Phone number

You have the option to provide us with a contact phone number for your society – a landline or a mobile phone number. The number will not be visible on the public register, it will only be used by us as another point of contact.

Details of at least one contact person

Your society must have at least one contact person and no more than 3. Your society’s constitution must specify how each contact person is appointed or elected. To be a contact person they don’t need to be an officer of your society, but it should be someone who can handle enquiries from us.

For each contact person you’ll need to provide their name, a physical or postal address, an email address and a telephone number. The contact person’s address details need to be different than the society addresses for communication provided above. Their contact details won’t be visible on the public register — they will be used by the Registrar to contact the society, so it’s important to keep them up to date.

Details of committee members and other officers

You must record the names and contact details for each of your society’s officers. You’ll need to advise which officers are members of your society. You’ll also need to certify that they have consented in writing to being an officer and certified that they are not disqualified from being an officer.

Most of the information you need to provide about your officers is kept private. This means it can only be seen by the Registrar or people who have authority to update your society’s information on the register.

The only details that the public will see are your officer’s names and their appointment dates.

Your society must have at least 3 people on its committee and each person on the committee is an officer of your society. Other people can also be appointed as officers even if they’re not part of the elected committee. This includes anyone who holds a position which allows them to exercise significant influence over the management or administration of the society. Learn more about committees and officers

Confirm you have the minimum number of members

You’ll need to confirm you have the minimum number of members required to incorporate your society (at least 10 members).

Your society’s membership can include individuals and body corporates (for example, charitable trust boards, companies, or other incorporated societies). When you’re counting your membership numbers, a body corporate counts as 3 individual members.

Upload a copy of the society's constitution

You’ll need to upload a copy of the constitution your society has prepared. The constitution must comply with the 2022 Act. It must also have been approved by your members at a general meeting.

Provide additional NZBN information (recommended)

Once your society is incorporated it will be assigned a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). Details from the Incorporated Societies Register about your society will also be stored, and searchable, on the NZBN Register.

You have the choice of providing extra information about your society that will also appear on the NZBN Register. For example, you could add your society’s public email address and its website address so that anyone searching the NZBN Register can find out more about your society or get in touch.

Who can see the information you provide

Most of the details you provide in your application for incorporation will be made publicly available on the Incorporated Societies Register. Anyone searching for your society on the register will be able to see these details.

Some specific information will be kept private — such as contact person details and officer addresses. This means it can only be seen by the Registrar or people who have authority to update your society’s information on the register.  

How to complete your application

Complete and submit your application online via our website.

Before you can apply online, you must have:

  • a RealMe login
  • an online services account for the Incorporated Societies Register.

Step by step

Log in to your online services account then select ’Incorporate a Society’ from the dashboard.

Complete your application, one section (or tab) at a time.

General details

  • Enter the proposed name of the society and confirm the name is available by clicking 'Name Availability Check'.
  • Upload your society’s constitution, as well as any other supporting documents you wish to submit.
  • Confirm your society’s balance date.
  • Complete the signatory details section.


Enter details for the society’s registered office address, address for communication (including a contact email address), phone number and the details of each contact person.


Every society must have at least 3 officers and most of the officers must also be members.

  • Enter details of all officers of the society – their name, physical or postal address, email address and start date.
  • Confirm that each officer has consented to be an officer, and that they’ve certified that they’re not disqualified from holding that role.
  • Confirm which officers are members.
  • You can also choose to include an officer’s role if they have one. For example, chairperson.

Additional NZBN information

You can enter extra information for the society that can be made public on the NZBN Register. For example, its public email address or its website address.


Check that the information you’ve provided in the application is correct.

Submit and pay

Submit your completed application and pay the application fee - $88.89 (plus GST)

Apply to incorporate a society

What happens next

We will check your application

We aim to review your application within 3 working days from the date you submitted it to us. If it’s in order, we will add your society to the Incorporated Societies Register and issue a Certificate of Incorporation.

If we have any questions about your application, we’ll get in touch with the person who completed the application and let you know what we need.

You'll receive your Certificate of Incorporation

We’ll email the Certificate of Incorporation to the person who completed the application and to the society’s email address for communication.

Operating after incorporation

Once your society is incorporated, your committee will run the day-to-day affairs of the society and make decisions for it. The constitution you uploaded when you applied for incorporation governs the way your society will operate. Your members will be entitled to take part in the society’s activities and to vote at future general meetings but will have no administrative role.

Your society will need to keep certain details up to date on the register, so be sure to check what’s needed any time you need to change things such as your society’s addresses, officers’ details, contact person’s details or your society’s constitution. Your society will also need to file  its financial statement and annual return every year to remain on the register. We have guides in the Help Centre on our website to help you meet all your ongoing obligations to the Registrar.

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