How to register as a union

Becoming a union, and what's required

A group of employees wishing to register as a union must first become an incorporated society.

Becoming an incorporated society

For information about becoming an incorporated society please refer to:

Applying to register as a union

As an incorporated society, you’ll need to:

  • check that your rules comply with the requirements of the Employment Relations Act (ERA)
  • satisfy yourself that the union is independent of any employer.

What you’ll need to provide

  • the completed application form (which includes a statutory declaration), signed by an officer of the union
  • copies of:
    • the union's certificate of incorporation under the ISA
    • the union's rules as lodged with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies.

Form 1: Application for society to register as a union [LINK TO PDF FORM]

Authority to update a society’s details

To apply online for registration as a union, you must have:

  • a RealMe® login
  • an online services account with the Business Registers
  • authority to manage information on behalf of your incorporated society.

How to register as a union

To apply for registration online

  1. Log in to your online services account.
  2. On the dashboard, from ‘My Businesses’, select the incorporated society you wish to register.
  3. Select ‘Maintain Incorporated Society’, then ‘Lodge Other Documents’.
  4. Select the document type ‘Application for Society to Register as a Union’.
  5. Upload the completed application form and statutory declaration, as well as a copy of the society’s rules and Certificate of Incorporation.
  6. Select ‘Submit’.

To submit your application manually

  1. Download Form 1: Application for society to register as a union.
  2. Complete the application form, ensuring it is signed by an officer of the union.
  3. Send the completed form and statutory declaration, together with the copies of your rules and your Certificate of Incorporation to —
    The Registrar of Unions
    Companies Office
    Private Bag 92061
    Victoria Street West
    Auckland 1140.

Form 1: Application for society to register as a union [LINK TO PDF FORM]

What happens next

If your application is in order and complies with the ERA, we will register your union and send you a Certificate of Registration.

If you applied for incorporation as a society at the same time, we'll also send you a Certificate of Incorporation.

Other things to be aware of

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

The union officer who makes the statutory declaration (which forms part of the application to register). This will now only apply to manual applications. If they apply online they will be received separately.