Starting a Co-op

Start Up User Guide for new co-ops, mutuals and societies

Since taking on the CEO role at Cooperative Business NZ in April 2016, Craig Presland has received many requests for assistance with setting up new co-operatives. With this in mind, Craig has produced a User Guide for all those considering whether to set up, or otherwise to join, a co-operative. In this document we answer the following questions:

January 18th, 2017|

What we mean by a cooperative

A simple definition, available here. Vital to understanding whether or not the cooperative business model will make possible what you are wanting to accomplish.


  • Full Membership is open to co-operatives, mutuals and other organisations whose constitutions or governing documents provide that the co-operative principle is paramount. The current annual subscription fee is available upon request and you can apply for full membership by filling out the Form Here.
  • Individual Associate Membership is for individuals who are keen to support and be involved with the co-operative movement in this country. The cost is $120 plus GST a year. Apply for Individual Associate membership by filling out the Form Here.
  • Corporate Associate Membership is for non-cooperative businesses and organisations which wish to provide their products / services to Co-operative Businesses NZ’s Members while supporting the co-operative business model and co-operative movement here in NZ. The cost is $2,500 plus GST a year. Please contact us for more information.
  • Provisional Membership is for individuals, businesses and organisations who are intending to set up a new co-operative business otherwise looking into converting an existing business into a cooperative. Apply for provisional membership by filling out the Form here. The cost is $300 plus GST a year

Cooperative Principles

The cooperative is the only business model with its own set of principles. Drawn up by the  International Cooperative Alliance, cooperatives the world over use these seven principles as the basis of their business:

1 – Voluntary and open membership
2 – Democratic member control
3 – Member economic participation
4 – Autonomy and independence
5 – Education, training and information
6 – Cooperation among cooperatives
7 – Concern for community

Download these principles with an explanation: International Cooperative Alliance – Seven Principles

If you would like a copy of a booklet produced by Cooperative Business NZ that asks the right questions when considering whether to set up a co-operative in NZ, as well as providing advice and guidance at the various stages when setting up a new co-operative business or organisation, please contact Co-operative Business NZ CEO Craig Presland.