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Drafting Your Constitution

The Rule Book for your Club/Society

All clubs affiliating to the UCSA for the first time are required to prepare a constitution for their club. A constitution is a legally-binding document for your club that formalises the conditions and rules of your club and your members – a rule book. Your constitution is your GUIDING document, it should help lead your decision-making process and protect the integrity of the club for years to come.

You should not rush drawing-up your constitution without careful consideration of what is going into it. A well-written constitution can be of great use as it lets everyone know what the aims and objectives of the club are, and how to deal with any situations that may arise.

EXAMPLE: The UCSA provides a template that covers the basics for your club or society, which can be found here, or from the Clubs Co-ordinator.

You can alter this template to suit your club, your executive positions, and your day to day running as you wish. Take your time and try to create clauses that are specific to your club and who you want to be. This may be a reference to the code of conduct, a mission or long-term goal, even an unusual executive position.

Alternatively, you can build your own constitution from scratch using the New Zealand Companies Office here.

All Constitutions should include:

  • Club/society name
  • Aims and objectives
  • How someone becomes a member and the conditions of membership. This includes the requirement that a person must consent to be a member
  • Arrangement for keeping the society’s members up to date
  • A process of how someone ceases to be a member
  • Committee structure and officers
  • Procedure for elections
  • Meeting procedure including AGM/SGM meeting rules
  • Financial responsibilities such as the control of funds and property
  • Process for dissolving the club and winding down clause such as the distribution of any assets
  • Process for amending the constitution
  • Discipline of members and procedure for resolving disputes

For a more detailed list of requirements for a club/society constitution, please consult Section 26 of the 2022 Incorporated Societies act located here.

Finalizing your constitution

Once you’re happy with your draft, you can send your constitution to the Clubs Development Coordinator to check if it is compliant with UCSA policy. Once they give the final tick of approval, you can now bring your constitution to your club’s Inaugural General Meeting (IGM) for one last discussion before affirming it. Once your IGM has affirmed your constitution, it becomes your club’s leading document.

Any future changes to the document must be followed as outlined in your constitution, being compliant with both the Incorporated Societies Act and with UCSA policy.

For more information on the process of becoming a new club please follow the link here.

Updated on February 5, 2024

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