Overview of the charitable sector and the Charities Act


The charitable sector contributes significantly to New Zealand society. These charities contribute in diverse areas including sports, recreation, arts, culture and heritage, emergency and social services, health, education, religion, conservation and the environment. There are around 28,000 registered charities in New Zealand. The sector has an annual total income of more than $21 billion and it is supported by more than 217,000 volunteers and more than 145,000 full-time staff (equivalent to 5 percent of New Zealand’s workforce). 

Charities Act 2005

In 2005, the Charities Act was enacted. The Act aims to promote public trust and confidence in the charitable sector. It provides for the registration of societies, institutions, and trustees of trusts as charitable entities. It also places certain obligations on charitable entities, such as annual reporting. Being listed on the charities register entitles an organisation to tax exemptions on most income under the Income Tax Act 2007. Registration on the charities register is voluntary. 

Link to Charities Act 2005 (Legislation NZ website)