Is your constitution, really your constitution?

20 May 2021

With the Incorporated Societies Bill working its way through the legislative process, all clubs are going to need to review their constitutions in the near future.  Clubs New Zealand's recommendation is that during the transitional period, clubs use the opportunity to modernise, streamline and ensure that the clubs constitution is a fit-for-purpose set of rules.

The first step in this review process, will be to ensure that the constitution you have in front of you, is in fact the constitution that is registered with the Incorporated Societies Office. 

When Clubs New Zealand is called in to assist a club, the first question we are likely to ask is what does your constitution say?  This question can be met with a variety of answers, and concerningly, in some cases the committee don't know, or they are referring to a constitution that differs to the one that is registered, and this presents a whole heap of challenges.

So how do you find a copy of your registered constitution?

1. Go to

2. Enter the clubs name, incorporated societies number or NZBN into the register search bar

3. Select your club from the list of search results (if your club does not show up, ensure that you are searching base on the registered name of the club not the trading name)

4. Click the filings tab to see a list of all documents that have been filed.

5. You will need to scroll through the list of filings to find the most recent "change of rules" or "alteration of rules".

6. Click on the latest change and download the PDF.  

For some clubs when an alternation has been made, only that alteration has been submitted to the societies office.  In this situation you are going to need to go back and try to find the last full version of the constitution that was registered and ensure that all all alterations that have been made since match with the version of the constitution you have within the club.

Now what?

Once you are satisfied that you are dealing with the registered constitution, make sure there is an editable version stored on clubs computer system/server and that this is dated.  You may also wish to load a copy onto the Clubs website with a note confirming when it was registered, that way committee and members can have look for themselves at any time, without having to go through the register search described above.

Clubs New Zealand is currently reviewing the model constitution and we will release this closer to the Bill being passed into law (so that we can be sure any potential changes made during the legislative process are captured).

Once this model constitution is released, clubs will need to look at the changes required, compare these to what you already have and made a plan to get the constitution up to speed. 

If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact National Office on 0800 425 827.

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