At Cooperative Business NZ, we independently represent member-owned and purpose-led businesses, increase awareness of the contributions they make to New Zealand, and ensure they continue to prosper and thrive for generations to come.

Mike Brown Profile

Co-operatives and mutuals

Part of the fabric of New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most co-operative economies in the world.

Our co-operative and mutuals make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s economy and society.

Did you know that the top 30 co-operatives alone contribute 13% of GDP by revenue and employ more than 41,000 New Zealanders? It’s a contribution that needs to be talked about far and wide. 

Our services and initiatives allow us to provide a platform for some of New Zealand’s most enduring businesses, alongside newly established member-owned organisations, to have a strong collective voice. In turn, this collective voice brings about positive change, awareness and education on the value of the business model.

what we do

“We aim to increase awareness of the business model through advocacy, education, events, insights, lobbying, educational resources and collaboration opportunities.”

Saya Wahrlich, Cooperative Business NZ CEO


The important stuff

Meet the Board

We’re governed by a Board consisting of both member and independent directors.

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Meet the Team

Small but mighty. Meet those behind the day-to-day operations.

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Meet our Members

Our full members sit across almost every sector and vary significantly in size.

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Strategic Summary 2020 - 2023

Read an overview of our strategic plan, set and adopted by the Board in 2020. This is due to be revised in 2023.

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Value Proposition

Read our value proposition, designed to ensure we provide maximum value for all current and future members.

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We are governed and operate according to our Constitution. This was adopted by our members at the 2020 AGM.

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where we came from


The organisation was first established in 1981 as a Steering Committee to support and represent New Zealand’s agricultural co-operatives.

We have evolved throughout the decades to meet our members’ changing needs. How did we get to where we are today?

Mike Brown Profile

Connect with the World

Tap into our networks

We are linked in with the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). We frequently tap into a large pool of co-operative practitioners, researchers and specialists from the Asia-Pacific region and worldwide.

We are also an Affiliated Member of BusinessNZ and work closely with these groups on shared advocacy and lobbying initiatives. 

Not only that, but we work closely with similar organisations around the world including our Australian ‘sister’ organisation The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals


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Business NZ
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The Co-operative difference: rochdale principles

Our members are unique, and we want to ensure they leverage their co-operative identity and maximise the value of their points of difference.

Co-operatives are guided by seven internationally agreed principles, the Rochdale Principles, which emphasise democracy and shared equity while providing economic and social returns to members and their communities. 

    • Voluntary and open membership
    • Democratic member control
    • Member economic participation
    • Autonomy and independence
    • Education, training and information
    • Cooperation among co-operatives
    • Concern for community


Building a better world

Co-operative businesses are committed to bringing economic and social returns for their members and communities.

Here’s how New Zealand’s co-operatives are helping build a better world.