• CCH Charities law update 2024 Tuesday 18 June 2024 2.30pm
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand annual conference Global issues facing charities 4-5 July 2024, Wellington click here
  • CCH Charities - objections and appeals processes Thursday 1 August 2024 2.30pm
  • CCH Incorporated Societies Act Tuesday 12 November 2024 2.30pm

Previous seminars:

  • Guest discussion at The Law Association Trust Law Committee Meeting, 17 April 2024
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand Roundtable meeting on New Zealand's Charities Amendment Act 2023 - issues in practice and where to from here Tuesday 19 March 2024 at 1pm NZT
  • Honoured to be asked to speak at Moore Markham's conference in Christchurch on Friday, 23 February 2024 on Charities in a time of change
  • Incorporated Societies Act and regulations - what you need to know 2023 29 November 2023 2.30pm click here
  • CCH Charities Amendment Act 2023 - what you need to know 15 November 2023 2.30pm click here
  • Honoured to be invited to speak at a Town Hall Event organised by Imagine Canada entitled The future is now - imagining the nonprofit sector's relationship with government in 2050 6 November 2023 2-3.30pm Eastern Time (8am NZT on Tuesday 7 November 2023) click here 
  • Legalwise Incorporated Societies Act and regulations 26 September 2023 1-2.15pm click here
  • Presentation to the REBUS Club of Khandallah on Charities - the tide of change 25 August 2023 click here
  • CCH Charities law update 1 August 2023 2.30pm click here
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand Annual Conference - Charities in a time of change Thursday 27 July, Melbourne and onlineclick here 
  • Wellington South Rotary Club Charities law and how it might impact 12 July 2023 click here 
  • ICON-S conference Viewing Charity Law as Private Law Islands amid Public Law Oceans through the lens of New Zealand's Charities Act Review process Tuesday 3 July 2.30-4pm click here
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand Roundtable meeting to discuss the reforms proposed (or missed) by the Charities Amendment Bill (with the kind support of Grant Thornton), Tuesday 4 July 5-6pm click here
  • Auckland District Law Society Charities - the tide of change 1 June 2023 1-2.15pm click here
  • Law and Economics Association of New Zealand Charities Amendment Bill - its impact and risks 27 April 2023 click here. For a recording of the presentation, click here
  • Port Nicholson Rotary Club Charities law and how it might impact 12 April 2023 click here
  • Legalwise webinar Review of the Charities Act 9 March 2023 click here
  • New Zealand Initiative podcast The flaws of the Charities Amendment Bill 2 March 2023 click here
  • Rotary Club of Wellington The future of charities in New Zealand 13 February 2023
  • Symposium on the Global War on Terrorism and its impact on Muslim Charitable Institutions  Thursday 15 December 2022 at 0630 NZTclick here
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand hybrid workshop Charity regulation reviews: the hard issues that don't get addressed, honoured to be a panelist with Dr Oonagh Breen, Dr Matthew Turnour, Anne Robinson AM, and Murray Baird, 12 December 2022
  • Zoom discussion on the Charities Amendment Bill hosted by Steven Moe of Parry Field 7 October 2022 click here (for audio and video) or here (audio only) 
  • Honoured to be one of only 26 people in the world invited to attend the Charity Law Workshop hosted by the University of Notre Dame at its London Gateway, and one of only 5 invited to present a paper (What does a world-leading framework of charities law look like?) and have it commented on by 2 other attendees, 23-24 September 2022 click here
  • Legalwise webinar Incorporated Societies: Requirements Post the New Act Tuesday 13 September 2022 0930 - 1230 click here
  • CCH webinar The Incorporated Societies Act - what you need to know Tuesday 6 September 2022 at 1030 click here
  • Fundraising Institute of New Zealand Conference 2022 Changemakers - the impact of you Fireside chat: cuss and discuss Michael Fowler Centre Tuesday 30 August 2022 3.15-4.15 click here - the review of the Charities Act is discussed from 49:15
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand conference Charity regulation in Australia and New Zealand - 10 years on: reflections from administrator and sector perspectives 29 July 2022 click here
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand webinar Attorney General v Family First New Zealand [2022] NZSC 80, Thursday 14 July 2022, click here 
  • Trust Democracy Zoom workshop Charities are worth it! Wednesday 22 June 2022 1930-2100 click here
  • CCH webinar Charities law update 2022 Thursday 16 June 2022 at 1030, click here
  • Impact Call with Steven Moe, Kate Frykberg and Justin Stevenson 27 May 2022 click here
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand webinar What does a world-leading framework of charities law look like? Thursday 19 May 2022 at 3pm NZT, click here
  • University of Melbourne Governance and regulation of charities - international and comparative perspectives 2 May 2022, click here
  • Legalwise webinar Charities and Not-for-profit: Critical update Tuesday, 9 March 2022, 1.15-4.30pm, click here
  • Community Networks Aotearoa conference, presentation on The Incorporated Societies Bill - what you need to know 25 February 2022 click here
  • Legalwise Webinar Not for profit and charities: governance, reporting, tax, Thursday 16 September 2021, 0915-1230, click here
  • Australian and New Zealand Third Sector Research webinar Charities law in New Zealand: history and where to now? Wednesday 15 September 2021, 2pm NZT, click here and here 
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand 2021 Conference: Government and the sector, 5 August 2021, Melbourne and online, click here 
  • Community Networks Wellington meeting 21 July 2021 11-12 Developments in charities law in Aotearoa New Zealandclick here 
  • Guest lecturer, The University of Auckland, LAWGENRL 715 Special topic: Law of not-for-profits, 5 July 2021, click here
  • CCH webinar, Charities law update 2021Wednesday 16 June 2021, 2.30-3.45pm, click here
  • CAANZ NFP SIG webinar Not-for-profit tax updates, Tuesday 18 May 2021, 4-5pm
  • Hui E! webinar Charities law reform - why it matters, Wednesday 17 March 2021, 12-1pm, click here - for a copy of the powerpoint presentation, click here
  • What should be the definition of charitable purpose in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand? co-design sprint workshop facilitated by Mele Wendt MNZM from the Centre for Social Impact, Wellington, 11-12 March 2021click here
  • Legalwise webinar Charities and Not-for-profits: critical updates, Friday 26 February 2021 1.30pm-4.45pm via zoom, click here
  • Guest lecturer, University of Otago, Laws 486 Special topic: not-for-profit law, 20 January 2021click here
  • Co-designing the ideal structure to best support charities in Aotearoa New Zealand, "sprint" workshop Thursday 26 November 2020 9-5pm (plus a half day by zoom on Friday 27 November) click here
  • Responding to Covid-19 - how might we #Buildbackbetter, online conference hosted by the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand in conjunction with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, with support from Charities Services Ngā Ratonga Kaupapa Atawhai4 November 2020 1-5pm click here
  • Webinar on the topic of advocacy by charities, organised by the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, 1 October 2020, 4pm NZT, click here
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, online conference 30 July 2020 Charity law and charities: responding to crises click here 
  • Legalwise webinar, Charities law:navigating the road to recovery and beyond, Tuesday 21 July 2020, 2 - 3.30pm, click here
  • Wellington Not-for-profit Special interest group webinar, Not-for-profit tax updates, Tuesday 14 July, 4-6pm
  • CCH webinar, Charities law update 2020Wednesday 17 June 2020, 2.30-3.45, click here
  • Election forum, Wednesday 10 June 2020, 4-5.30pm, click here 
  • CCH webinar, Governance of charities and other not-for-profits, Thursday 26 March 2020, 2.30-3.45pm, click here
  • Not-for-profit law critical updates, Legalwise webinar, Thursday 12 March 2020, 1.15-4.30pm, click here
  • Exploring Public Benefit in Charity Law conference, Melbourne University, 29 November 2019 click here
  • CCH Webinar, Governance of charitable trusts 2019Tuesday 19 November 2019, 2.30-3.45pm click here
  • Review of the Charities Act, webinar kindly hosted by Philanthropy NZ, 15 August 2019, click here
  • Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand conference Why and how we value the charity sector, Melbourne Law School, 1 August 2019click here
  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Not-for-profit special interest group NFP tax update, Tuesday 16 July 2019, 5-6pm, Chartered Accountants House, 50 Customhouse Quay, Wellington
  • CCH Webinar, Charities law update, Tuesday 11 June 2019, 2.30-3.45pm
  • Better giving 1: setting up and managing your giving, Philanthropy Summit 2019, Friday 11 May 2019click here
  • Future prospects for charity law, accounting, and regulation conference, Te Papa, Wellington 11-12 April 2019click here
  • Developing a community-led response to the review of the Charities Act - 662 responses to the survey were received which is a brilliant result, thank you! The results of the survey can be found hereSee also the presentation by Dave Henderson from Trust Democracy at the 2019 Charity Law Conference here. For more information, please click here. Thanks so much to Strategic Grants and to all involved for the fantastic support we have received, thank you again!
  • Community engagement meetings for the review of the Charities Act 6 March to 18 April 2019, click here
  • 17 January 2019, guest lecturer, University of Otago, Laws 486, Special Topic 15: Not for Profit Law, click here
  • Contemporary issues in charity law, Otago University Faculty of Law, 18 January 2019
  • CCH Webinar, Update on the review of the Charities Act, Tuesday 27 November 2018, 10.30-11.45am
  • Developing a community-led response to the review of the Charities Act, initial consultation meetings were held in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch on 18 October, and 2 and 7 November respectively. Please click here for more information. Thank you very much to Grant Thornton, RSM Hayes Audit, and Parry Field Lawyers who generously provided the venues. We very much appreciate your support!
  • Legalwise Not-for-profits, trusts and charities law symposium, Thursday 1 November 2018, 0900-5.15pm, The Grand Mercure, Auckland
  • Wellington Not-for-profit special interest group event Hot tax topics for 2018 click here
  • Charities law update 2018, CCH Webinar, Tuesday 12 June 2018
  • Review of the Charities Act, presentation to the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand conference, May 2018
  • Perspectives on charity law, accounting and regulation conference, Wellington, 26 and 27 April 2018, click here
  • Social enterprise in New Zealand - an overview, CCH webinar, Tuesday 28 November 2017, 2.30-3.45pm
  • The new financial reporting rules and Incorporated Societies, Oamaru, 28 October 2017 
  • Tax implications relevant to the NFP sector, in particular the spectrum of entities ranging from 100% charities to 100% "businesses" and everything in between (eg social enterprises), Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand, Not-for-profit Special Interest Group, Tuesday 19 September 2017 4.30-6pm, level 7, 50 Customhouse Quay, Wellington
  • Incorporated societies, Masterton, 3 August 2017
  • Charities Law Update 2017, CCH webinar, Tuesday 13 June 2017 
  • 25 March 2017, Incorporated Societies and The new financial reporting rules, New Plymouth
  • January 2017, guest lecturer, University of Otago, Laws 485, Special Topic 14: Charity Law 
  • November 2016, guest speaker, University of Melbourne Law School Masters Course, LAWS 90055 Charity Law for the 21st century, click here
  • New Zealand charities regulation and the Charities Amendment Bill, Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2016 Conference, Melbourne, 25-26 August 2016
  • Charities law update 2016, CCH Webinar, Tuesday, 14 June 2016 
  • IRD Obligations and the NFP sector - a tax update, Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand, Not-for-profit Special Interest Group, Wednesday 18 May 2016 4.30-6pm, level 7, 50 Customhouse Quay, Wellington
  • Governance of charities and other not-for-profits 2016, CCH Webinar, 22 March 2016
  • RSM Hayes Audit Charities - the legal definition, changes and impacts, 28 September 2015,  4.30-7pm, click here
  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Auckland not-for-profit special interest group, 29 September 2015, 0730-9am
  • Australian Charity Law Association, Unstable, unpredictable, unstoppable? The changing legal climate for charities, 27-28 August 2015, Brisbane, click here
  • Governance of charities and other not-for-profits, CCH Webinar, 18 August 2015
  • The Bonfire of the Charities, Tax Special Interest Group, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, 27 July 2015, Wellington
  • Charities law update 2015, CCH webinar, Tuesday 16 June 2015,
  • 10 Points in One Day, Legalwise Seminar, 24 February 2015, The Intercontinental Hotel, Wellington, click here
  • Victoria University of Wellington, Centre for Accounting, Governance and Taxation Research, Seminar: Taxation issues for charities and not-for-profitsThursday 26 February 2015, 0815-1145, click here
  • The Supreme Court decision in Greenpeace - unintended consequences, CCH webinar, Tuesday 4 November 2014, 2.30 - 3.45pm
  • Charity begins at...Developing perspectives on charity law, Auckland District Law Society, Wellington 1 April 2014, Auckland, 3 April 2014
  • Forum - 19 April 2012 - International perspectives on issues affecting the charitable sector in New Zealand, see further information below

  • Charitable purpose forum, organised by the Charities Commission (as it was then) 17-18 April 2012.

The Supreme Court decision in Greenpeace - Unintended consequences

DATE: Tuesday, 4 November 2014
TIME: 2:30 - 3.45pm
DURATION: 75 mins
SUITED TO: Lawyers and accountants involved with charitable organisations in their professional and private capacities, not-for-profit specialists, and charities themselves. All involved or likely to be involved with charities should be familiar with the Supreme Court’s decision and its likely impact, at whatever level.


It is almost 10 years since the Charities Act 2005 was passed into law. In those 10 years, the charities regulator (originally the Charities Commission, and now the Department of Internal Affairs – Charities Services and the Charities Registration Board) has taken an approach to the definition of charitable purpose that has controversially seen hundreds of charities denied registration, many of them because of their work advocating for their charitable causes. Rightly or wrongly, the burden of developing the definition of charitable purpose falls on individual charities bringing appeals against decisions of the agency administering the Charities Act. Greenpeace is the first such charity to continue such an appeal under the Charities Act all the way through to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Greenpeace is an important decision in New Zealand charities law. It will undoubtedly be looked to by other jurisdictions as well. All involved or likely to be involved with charities should be familiar with the Supreme Court’s decision and its likely impact, particularly those affected by the charities regulator’s previous approach to advocacy by charities.

The webinar is intended to be suitable for those involved with charities, at whatever level, advanced or otherwise. It is intended to give both a theoretical overview as well as sufficient detail to be practical. Practitioners from both small and large firms should attend.

Learning Outcomes:

- What can charities do in terms of advocacy following the Supreme Court’s decision without jeopardizing their charitable registration

- An understanding of the Supreme Court’s reasoning regarding illegal activity by charities

- An analysis of some of the obiter comments, in particular regarding the presumption of charitability and the distinction between purposes and activities

- A critical analysis of the decision, and how it might be applied in practice

- A framework for considering where to from here for New Zealand charities.

Presenter: Sue Barker, Director, Sue Barker Charities Law

Charity begins at...Developing perspectives on charity law
Auckland District Law Society, 1 and 3 April 2014

Presenters: Sue Barker, Director, Sue Barker Charities Law
                 Dr Donald Poirier, Senior Registration Analyst, Department of Internal Affairs
                 Craig Fisher, Chairman and Audit Director, Hayes Knight Audit NZ Ltd
                 Geoff Clews, Barrister (Auckland)
                 David McLay, Barrister (Wellington)

There are currently 27,045 registered charities in New Zealand. Lawyers intersect with not-for-profit organisations in both their professional and private lives. This seminar addresses key aspects of the law relating to charities from several perspectives, those of: the regulator, the litigator, the tax specialist, the audit. This will be a dynamic session with a panel discussion at the end.

You will learn about the following current issues:

  • charitable purposes and public benefit;
  • the types of entities that can have a charitable purpose, focussing on the grey areas, such as golf clubs, social enterprises and professional organisations;
  • strategies for appealing decisions of the regulator;
  • the impending reforms of the financial reporting standards, the legal implications of those reforms and how they will promote transparency and comparability;
  • some financial myths; and
  • taxation issues - the tension between the charities regime regulated outside the taxation legislation and charities acting as businesses.

Who should attend?

Lawyers involved with charitable organisations in their professional and private capacities, those wanting to undertake pro bono work for charities, not-for-profit specialists and taxation lawyers.

Forum - 19 April 2012 - International perspectives on issues affecting the charitable sector in New Zealand

The trustees of the New Zealand Third Sector Educational Trust (CC47402), in conjunction with ANGOA (the Association of Non-Governmental Organisations of Aotearoa CC45453), are holding a full-day forum on International perspectives on issues affecting the charitable sector in New Zealand.
There is a lot happening in the charitable/third sector in New Zealand at the moment, including the review of the law of trusts, a proposed review of the Charities Act, a bill before Parliament to subsume the Charities Commission within the Department of Internal Affairs, and several recent Court decisions which have caused a reasonable degree of controversy. Also, even though New Zealand has a smaller population to draw from than many comparable jurisdictions, it is curious to us why there is not the depth of centralised study and analysis that is a feature of eg Australia, Canada, the US and the UK, and we think this is a gap that needs to be and will be filled.
The aim of the forum is to bring together people from all aspects of the sector to raise and discuss some of these issues. The forum will include presentations by 4 international speakers:
• Lindsay Driscoll, ex Charity Commission for England and Wales, and recently-elected Chair of the Washington-based International Centre for Non-Profit Law;

• Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane;

• Dr Matthew Turnour, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane; and

• Bob Wyatt, Muttart Foundation, Canada.

Date: 19 April 2012, 0830 registration for 0900 start, all-day event followed by refreshments at 4pm.
Venue: James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, 147 The Terrace, Wellington.
Cost: $30 (including GST), which includes lunch and morning and afternoon tea. We have sought to keep the registration fee to this level to make the forum as accessible to the charitable sector as possible. If you are able to make an additional donation to help us cover costs, this would be very gratefully received. Donations are eligible for a credit/deduction for tax purposes. 
For catering purposes, please RSVP to
[email protected] before 5pm, Friday 13 April 2012 (please advise any special dietary concerns). You will be invoiced via email in response to your RSVP. Please be sure to specify which event you want to attend.
The New Zealand Third Sector Educational Trust and ANGOA acknowledge with thanks the support of the Charities Commission, BNZ and LexisNexis in making this forum possible.

Charitable purpose forum - 17-18 April 2012

In April 2012 the Charities Commission hosted a two day forum to discuss the definition of Charitable Purpose.

The objective of the forum was to discuss and debate the issues and opportunities around Charitable Purpose to help inform the First Principles review of the Charities Act 2005. This review is scheduled to be completed by 2015.

The forum also provided attendees with an opportunity to better understand the complexities of Charities law and the difficulty around defining Charitable Purpose.

To set the scene for the forum, an options paper was prepared by Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Dr Matthew Turnour from Queensland University of Technology. This paper was circulated to all attendees prior to the forum.

The forum included presentations from keynote speakers from:

  • The United Kingdom - Lindsay Driscoll
  • Canada - Bob Wyatt
  • Australia - Professor McGregor-Lowndes and Dr Turnour

These were complemented by a presentation on the New Zealand legal perspective from Justice Joe Williams.

In addition to the keynote presentations, four panels of speakers presented on the existing definition, funding perspectives, ethnic perspectives, and what a future definition might be.

After each panel discussion there were group discussions for the forum attendees to provide input into the concepts, issues and potential solutions. The forum was held under Chatham House rules to encourage free and frank debate.

Attendance at the forum was by invitation only and approximately 70 people from a wide cross- section of the sector attended, including:

  • a wide range of charities
  • some organisations that had been declined registration
  • academics
  • lawyers
  • funders
  • representatives from central Government agencies
  • a range of ethnic representatives
  • capability builders.