The role of Charities Services

What the agency does and how it operates

Charities Services operates independently of the Companies Office and the Charitable Trusts Register.

The agency administers the Charities Act 2005, and is responsible for registering and monitoring charitable organisations in New Zealand, as well as providing support and education to the charitable sector on good governance and management. Its role is to:

  • maintain and monitor a register of charities
  • receive annual returns and monitor the activities of charities
  • promote public trust in charitable organisations
  • provide education and assistance to the charitable sector
  • encourage best practice in governance and use of resources
  • stimulate and promote research about the charitable sector
  • provide advice on matters relating to charities.

Te Rātā Atawhai, the independent Charities Registration Board, makes all decisions on registration and deregistration, but delegates straight forward decisions to Charities Services.

Registering with Charities Services is voluntary and costs nothing. Registered charities are required to file an annual return along with a performance report or financial statements with Charities Services. They must also pay an annual fee to Charities Services if their income exceeds $10,000. Failure to provide annual returns is the most common reason for being removed from the Charities Register.

The Charities Register

The Charities Register contains information about more than 27,000 registered charities operating under the rules of the Charities Act 2005. It summarises each charity’s purpose and activities, and includes their annual returns and performance report or financial statements.

Once registered, organisations are required to notify Charities Services if certain details about their organisation changes.

You can apply to register, and search for details of registered charities, on the Charities Services website.

Contact details for Charities Services

Website address

Email address

Freephone (within New Zealand)

0508 CHARITIES (0508 242 748)

Calling from outside New Zealand

+64 9 339 0848

Postal address

Charities Services
P O Box 12138
Wellington Central 6011

Physical address

Charities Services
45 Pipitea Street
Wellington Central 6011

All help topics

Getting started on the register 8 guides

Searching the Charitable Trusts Register 2 guides

Searching the register for information about charitable trust boards and their status.

Starting a charitable trust board 5 guides

To incorporate a charitable trust board you must submit an application, along with the required documents. There is no registration fee.

Keeping charitable trust board details up to date 7 guides

Ending a charitable trust board 2 guides

There are two ways to end a charitable trust board. If the board is no longer operating, it can apply to be dissolved. If it is unable to pay its debts, it can be placed in liquidation.

Restoring a charitable trust board to the register 1 guide

A trust board that has been removed from the Charitable Trusts Register can apply to us to be restored.

Forms 1 guide

Find the forms you'll need to register your charitable trust board or keep its details up to date. Please note: there are no fees for registering or maintaining a charitable trust board.