Starting a Club

1. Establishing a Committee

To ensure your club's sustainability, a management committee must be established. This will include a president or chairperson, a secretary, and a treasurer who is formed with the intention of making decisions about issues or taking action on tasks. A club's main committee will be the management team.

Your club may also have a number of different sub-committees who are in charge of specific events like fundraisers, regattas, etc. Committee members have set roles and jobs to complete. The roles of people on your committee or management team could be:

  • President/chairperson
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Volunteer coordinator

For a list of committee job descriptions and tips to running a good meeting see the Sport NZ website - Committees, roles and meetings

2. Create a Constitution 
Whether your Club is an incorporated society, friendly society or similar you will need to have an up to date constitution in place which outlines how your Club is run. One of our goals at Waka Ama NZ has been to assist Clubs and Regions to align their constitutions to ours, to assist clubs who may be in need of updating their constitution and to assist those who may be forming new clubs by developing a Club Constitution template to aid them in this process.

The Waka Ama New Zealand Club Constitution Template provides clubs with all the detail they require while also allowing for some flexibility in certain areas (text written in blue) so that clubs can express their unique identities. It is important to remember that this document It is not a prescription, it is a template, so clubs may make any changes they wish. However, we would advise that this document has been legally reviewed and any significant changes, other than the flexible areas in blue, should be reviewed by a lawyer to ensure the document remains sound.


Waka Ama New Zealand is happy to assist you with your process to update, amend or adopt a new club constitution. Please contact if you have any questions and require any advice.

See the template attached. 

Sport NZ also has some great tips and a sample constitution you can download here, the societies office also has a sample set of rules here

3. Becoming an Incorporated Society/Trust

The process is very easy and there is a step by step guide on the Companies Office Website - Starting a Society
There are three basic steps
  1. An application form (signed by 15 members, with signatures witnessed by someone who has not signed the application form as a member)
  2. A copy of the society’s rules certified by an officer or solicitor of the society
  3. The filing fee 

Your club must be an incorporated society with 15 affiliated members to become a member of Waka Ama NZ  

4. Contact your Regional Waka Ama Representatives 

Once you have completed the above steps, your club will need to affiliate to the region first  - contact details for each region can be found here. Each region is different and there is an affiliation fee associated with this process.

5. Contact Waka Ama NZ

Once your regional representative confirms your affiliation the next step is to contact Waka Ama NZ (if you are not in contact with us already)

6. LIVE on the Waka Ama NZ Website

Once all these steps are completed your details will be loaded on to the Waka Ama NZ Website. Your club will be issued with a Waka Ama NZ member log in, password and other relevant information.

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Updated: Apr 2, 2020