Our Partner, Steven Moe had first met Panapa back in 2017 when they were both on a panel about legal structures at the Social Enterprise World Forum held in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

When we first spoke with Panapa Ehau from Hikurangi Enterprises about their social housing plans for their people we knew this would be a special project. Based on the beautiful East Coast of the North Island in Te Tairāwhiti, the heart of the idea was to enable their people to gain access to housing. He says:

“Anything we do or engage in is founded upon high trust relationships and kaupapa. Parry Field is part of our wider network that share a similar vision of doing great work to increase the wellbeing of people and the environment around us. The network are outcomes focused on intergenerational change. The partnerships that evolve are pono (true) and tika (true) in all aspects bringing together knowledge, skills and experience of many for the benefit of all involved”.

We discussed possible legal structures that could be used ranging from companies, incorporated societies or limited partnerships but eventually settled on setting up a charitable trust. The reason for this was the initiative is all about reduction of poverty with an addition of education thrown in as well. A charitable trust is a stable legal vehicle to use for an initiative like this (for more on legal structure options, read our free guide “Charities in New Zealand: A Legal Handbook”).

There was a lot of thought put into what the governance framework would look like and also how this new entity would interrelate with other entities that were already existing.  Fortunately there were several other groups who want to see this succeed including the Tindall Foundation and Community Finance who each offered support in different ways.

One challenge which is worth others considering was what name to choose – the original name selected was already used by another entity so another was chosen: “KAENGA HOU TRUST”.

Drafting the Trust Deed, we next spent considerable time to really think about how to express the charitable purposes and how they really summarise what this is about:

Subject to clause 3.1 and without in any way derogating from it, the Trustees may also devote or apply both capital and income of the Trust to further charitable purposes by:

  • Providing education in the form of courses, seminars and written information for whanau and community housing providers about providing housing for whanau who are disadvantaged or poor and would otherwise not have access to housing;
  • Providing education and developing wrap around services to support whanau who are disadvantaged to access housing;
  • Providing support for whanau who are disadvantaged to be able to have access to housing; and
  • Participating in systematic change initiatives that increase knowledge and pathways for disadvantaged whanau access to housing including advancing education about homelessness and housing issues.

Another feature of the Trust Deed which is worth mentioning is the inclusion of principles (mātāpono) that we often suggest to clients to include. These are not purposes themselves but they help to set the “tone” for the new charity and its focus so it is worth including here:

3.4 In carrying out the Charitable Purposes, the Trustees will be guided by the following principles (Mātāpono):

  • respecting and implementing the dual heritage of the partners of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi);
  • respecting the cultural diversity of people and communities and encouraging people from all whakapapa and backgrounds;
  • inspiring and enabling people and communities to reach their full potential and take ownership of their future;
  • maintaining high standards of professionalism, integrity and ethical conduct; and
  • enabling positive social change from within, by building capable communities with the belief, the means, and the opportunities to create sustainable positive outcomes for all stakeholders and future generations.

It was a happy day in January when the email came in saying I am pleased to advise that KAENGA HOU TRUST is now a registered charity.”

A successful registration as a charity has meant the project can continue forward and funding partners have stepped up with significant contributions.  Watch this space and lets see what comes next!

There is a big need for more community housing in our country – in our first article here we talked about what Community Housing Providers (CHPs) are.  In this article we will talk about how you can register to become a CHP.

How do I become a Community Housing Provider?

Anyone can be a CHP, but the Public and Community Housing Management (Community Housing Provider) Regulations 2014 (the Regulations) sets out the criteria that must be met to become a registered CHP. An entity must first meet the eligibility criteria, which requires an entity to meet the CHP definition mentioned above, its governing body supports the application for the entity becoming registered.

After having reviewed the performance standards, if the Community Housing Regulatory Authority (CHRA) is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the entity has the capacity to meet the performance standards it may be registered.[1] However, an entity cannot be eligible for registration if they are a council-controlled organisation, a local authority, or are subsidiary of these organisations unless they operate at an arm’s length away from them.[2]

The performance standards set out in the Regulations and by the CHRA are relevant for the eligibility criteria.[3] These standards for registration are put in place to ensure that the CHP does have the capacity to become a registered CHP, as well as to ensure the CHP can continue to comply with these standards once registered. The performance standards focus on five key principles, which are:

  • Governance
  • Management
  • Financial viability
  • Tenancy management
  • Property and asset management.

One we often provide assistance with is the governance aspect of the performance standards. This is to ensure your entity is governed in the appropriate manner with the correct systems and processes in place.

For more information on the performance standards, please have a look at the CHRA document on the performance standards: https://chra.hud.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/performance-standards-guidelines.pdf

If an entity meets the eligibility criteria, it can then meet with the CHRA and discuss particular matters such as the entity’s circumstances, and it provides a chance for the CHRA to discuss the expectations of a CHP, the entity’s suitability for registration, and any other information they may require. Following the meeting, an entity must complete an application form. This includes providing mandatory supporting information and evidence which demonstrates the entity’s capability to meet the processes and policies required of a CHP as set out in the performance standards.

An application for registration will be reviewed by the CHRA, who aim to make a decision within 60 working days of having received it (provided the application was fully complete). The CHRA will focus on whether the tenants will be housed appropriately, as well as reviewing whether the five performance standards are met by the entity. Throughout the review, the CHRA consider the principles of proportionality, transparency, fairness, and consistency.

If an entity is successful in their application, the CHRA will still provide feedback as to what can be improved to further meet the performance standards. The entity will then be added to the Public Register on the CHRA website and published in the New Zealand Gazette. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will also be notified that your entity is now registered, meaning the entity and HUD can then proceed to provide community housing to those in need.

We help many community housing providers and could help you as well – check out our information at our information hub here.


This article is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice. You should talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. Reproduction is permitted with prior approval and credit being given back to the source. 

If you would like to discuss further, please contact one of our team on stevenmoe@parryfield.com, judithbullin@parryfield.com or paulowens@parryfield.com at Parry Field Lawyers.


[1] The Public and Community Housing Management (Community Housing Provider) Regulations 2014 s 5(a), (c), (d).

[2] The Public and Community Housing Management (Community Housing Provider) Regulations 2014 s 5(b).

[3] The Public and Community Housing Management (Community Housing Provider) Regulations 2014 s 5(d).