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How to register as a union

The union must:

  1. First, become an incorporated society by applying to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies (registration fee of $102.22 applies), and then
  2. Apply to the Registrar of Unions (the Registrar) for registration as a union (no registration fees apply)


You can apply to incorporate an incorporated society and register as a union at the same time by completing and submitting the below forms together. Your application to incorporate a society will be considered first, and if successful, your application to register as a union will then be assessed.



1. Becoming an incorporated society


2. Applying to register as a union

If you are already an incorporated society, you need to:

  • check that your rules will comply with the requirements of the ERA. This involves:
    • the rules including an object to promote members' collective employment interests
    • the rules being "not unreasonable", "democratic", "not unfairly discriminatory or unfairly prejudicial", and "not contrary to law"
    • the rules containing a provision relating to the process for holding a secret ballot for the purposes of the ERA
  • satisfy yourself that the union is "independent from any employer".

To apply for registration as a union, an officer of the society needs to:



The Registrar will check your application. If it is in order and complies with the ERA, the Registrar will register your union and send you a Certificate of Registration. If you sought incorporation as an incorporated society at the same time, the Registrar will also send you a Certificate of Incorporation for the society.

[icon] Important information.Other things to be aware of

Under the ERA, it is an offence to mislead the Registrar. The penalty for misleading the Registrar can be up to $5,000.

The union officer who makes the statutory declaration that forms part of the application to register needs to carefully consider the requirements of the ERA before signing that declaration.


Last updated 29 March 2017


Contact the Registrar of Unions

New Zealand Companies Office
Private Bag 92061
Victoria Street West
Auckland 1141

Freephone | 0800 20 90 20



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