The Department of Internal Affairs - Supporting communities

Created: August 12, 2013 at 9:56 AM | Updated: November 30, 2018 | By Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs is committed to helping New Zealand build strong communities.

One of the ways it seeks to achieve this is by ensuring that there is clear and helpful information on the services available, and by supporting communities that need to access the various services.

The Department has developed a series of videos to ensure that communities have a better understanding of the services available from the Department, and improve access to these services.

Charities Services

Charities Services carries out the registration, education and monitoring of charities. General Manager Brendon Ward wants to help communities gain a better understanding of the benefits of being a charity, and encourages communities to find out more about the services on offer.

Transcript of this video

The Office of Ethnic Affairs

Director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs Mervin Singham encourages individuals and organisations in ethnic communities to find out more about the resources and support services available from the Department of Internal Affairs, in particular in the area of charities, community advice and grants.

Transcript of this video

Community Operations Advice and Grants

The Community Operations Group supports communities, hapu and iwi to be resilient and achieve their aspirations. We do this through the provision of advisory services, information and administration of funding. We have community advisors in 16 service delivery offices located from Kaitaia to Invercargill. General Manager Robyn Nicholas encourages people to make contact through our website, by telephone or in person to explore how we may be able to provide support.

Transcript of this video


Freephone: 0800 824 824



Video Transcript Charities Services

Brendon Ward, General Manager, Charities Services

Charities Services is really here to try and build the best possible community organisations that we can. And one of our key areas of focus is building public trust and confidence in the charities sector.

So what is a charity? Well it's hugely diverse. It can be the relief of poverty, the advancement of religion or education, or any other purpose beneficial to the community. And there is a huge variety. You know we've got multinational organisations like, for instance, the Red Cross. We've got smaller organisations that are just national like, for instance, the Cancer Society. And then we've got a whole lot of tiny organisations.

In fact 95% of all registered charities in New Zealand are quite small - you know the local choir group, or for instance, the group that is supporting the local ethnic community. But most of the charities here in New Zealand are tiny - you know, less than $10,000 dollars, but some even $500 or just $1000 of annual turnover,

So if you think that you fall into that category, then please just come and have a look at the resources that we've got and see if you think you might qualify.

You know government is really keen to make sure that we can support you the best way we can. Charities Services do that in three ways.

The first one is around registration. We can take your applications and assess them, and if you qualify we'll make sure that you're on that Charities Register.

The second way is around education. We've got a great function where we can go out and talk with the community and provide a whole lot of fantastic resources.

And the third area is around compliance and that's really just to make sure that all of the organisations are doing what they should do.

So what we'd really like you to do if you are interested in being a registered charity is to take a look on our website ( We've got a whole lot of great resources about what charitable purpose means, how to apply, and what the benefits are. The Charities website has also got the Charities Register. And there are 26,000 registered charities here in New Zealand and many of them do fantastic work. I'd really encourage you to go on, have a look at some of those organisations because there just might be something there to inspire you.


Video Transcript - Office of Ethnic Affairs

Mervin Singham - Director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs

Over the years in my role in Ethnic Affairs I've come across many people who have applied for a community grant or funding and failed to do so, to be successful.

In my observation there were a range of reasons for why this happened, including their lack of understanding of what was being sought in the application; cultural barriers; language barriers; lack of understanding of the services offered by government.

This is why the Office of Ethnic Affairs is working with Community Operations to ensure that they have a better grasp of the type of issues faced by ethnic community people in applying or gaining their support and how to solve them. In the Charities area we've also discovered a range of people who don't understand what it means to be a charity, how to be registered, and the benefits of being a charity, and they would benefit significantly if they understood exactly what those things mean.

The Office of Ethnic Affairs is working with Community Operations and Charities to make sure that organisations that need to understand what a charity is, and what the benefits of being registered as a charity can be, are aware of those advantages and also understand the management and governance capability they need to run a charity effectively. On the Community Operations side, we want ethnic people, ethnic communities who are interested in grants, and how to apply for and administer their grants effectively, to have support from Community Operations. We're working together to make sure that this can happen as easily as possible.

If you are a community group and you are looking for support in terms of how to get funding or a grant, or you're wondering what the benefits of being a charity are, or indeed what a charity even is, then we urge you to seek the services and support offered by the Department of Internal Affairs, specifically by Charities Services and Community Operations. Visit their websites, talk to their advisors, engage with the Department's resources and information to give you the benefits of these things that we offer.

Video Transcript Advice and Grants

Robyn Nicholas, General Manager, Community Operations, Internal Affairs

Community Operations supports communities to be resilient and achieve their own aspirations and the emphasis is really on achieving their own aspirations.

Community has a very wide definition and it really is about how you define yourselves. It can be community of place or neighbourhood, it can be community based on cultural or ethnic background. It can be community based on an area of interest.

The diversity of communities is really important to us because we know that we have to respond to that diversity and provide our services in a way that meets your needs.

We provide a range of different services to help communities be resilient and achieve their aspirations. One of those is through our advisory services and that's people going out into the community and working WITH you to help you achieve your own goals.

Another one of the services we provide is funding. So we deliver over $200 million worth of funding to communities and we do that through a variety of mechanisms, with a variety of criteria and policies and those are all available on our website.

We deliver the Lottery Grants Board funding. We also deliver a number of Crown funds, and also a number of Trusts.

We use the valuable resources that Ethnic Affairs and Charities provide to actually DELIVER. So they bring skills and knowledge that we can actually deliver through our advisory services. We provide our services through a number of different mechanisms. So we do the face to face delivery service in communities from Invercargill to Kaitaia. You can look us up in the phonebook or you can go on the website ( You can come in and see our staff, you can give them a ring. You can ask them to come out and visit you in your place, your organisation, or your community.

What we need from you is for you to make contact with us, for you to come to us and tell us what it is you need.