Relationships Aotearoa Inc – an $8m government-funded charity

Relationships Aotearoa Inc, a registered charity (CC24033) which received $7.91 million in government funding last financial year (ended 30 June 2012), via Child Youth and Family and Ministry of Justice operating grants, is described in the Dominion Post today as a “family counselling organisation” for which “marital status was not the most important factor in raising children” [Emphasis added]. However, this charity that employed 60 full time workers and 250 part-timers last year and spent $8,184,156 on wages and salaries last as well as $11,600 on its honorarium payments to central boardroom members, has no mention of, let alone definition of, the words “marriage” or “family” or “marital status” or “children” in its  Constitution and Rules (amended and approved at its AGM on 26 November 2012).

Its Constitution Objects” (available on the Charities website ( have all been approved by Charity Services/Department of Internal Affairs as serving “charitable purposes”. There is no mention anywhere in the Constitution/Rules that the charity has any obligation, duty of care or interest in educating parents, whether married or unmarried, in the “raising [of] children”. The entire focus of this charity which had a total operating income last year of $13,070,460 is on enhancing undefined “relationships”.

Midlands regional manager of Relationships Aotearoa, Ash Smart, is quoted in the Dominion Post as saying: “[Marital status] is not the issue [in raising children]. The issue is: Are they being born into strong and healthy relationships?”.

Family First NZ, another registered charity, while agreeing that strong and healthy relationships are important, puts such a statement in context – i.e. such relationships are important in the raising of children. It contends that children thrive best when raised by a loving mother AND father who are committed to each other in marriage. It recognises the excellent parental achievements of solo parents, de facto parents, and parents who adopt children, but emphasises that an input to children’s upbringing/nurture etc from both a father AND a mother (living together in a committed relationship) is the ideal environment in which to raise children.

So focused on undefined “fulfilling relationships” is the charity Relationshiops Aotearoa, that the closest and most precise statement about the $8m state-funded charitable activities of its employees is limited to the following:

Objects include:

3.1 To promote and advance the Society throughout New Zealand.

3.2 To support the people of Aotearoa/New Zealand to create fulfilling relationships by providing quality service including counselling, information and resources, and by building awareness of the importance of strong and healthy relationships.

3.3 To recognise and honour Te Tiriti O Waitangi.

3.1 To promote education for relationships throughout New Zealand.

The Dominion Post points out:

“Children needed to be in a home with love and warmth, and evidence showed having their biological parents around increased the likelihood of this.”

Family First NZ has for many years highlighted this very point, but gone much further by researching and publicising the factors that sadly lead to family breakdown and child abuse etc.

The Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc, (“SPCS”) has as one of its objects: “To promote wholesome personal values, including strong family life and the benefits of lasting marriage as the foundation for stable communities.” (Constitution. s. 2[c]).

SPCS points out that loving and committed relationships between spouses in marriage is fundamental to the success of Society’s “natural and fundamental unit” – THE FAMILY. Supporting and promoting stable marriages should be seen by government as beneficial to Society’s well-being and future.

New Zealand and Australia are both signatories to Article 16 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), as are all member States of the United Nations

Article 16 states:

16 (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have a right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

16 (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouse.

16 (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.


Note: The Relationships Aoterora Inc. website “Relationships Aotearoa: counselling & educating” listed on the Charities website as:

…. is currently NOT functioning. Its homepage states: ‘Our website is now under construction and coming soon’


  1. Michael Mckee says

    I wouldn’t quote the UN Declaration on Human Rights as sec 29 states “or whatever the UN thinks/says/rules” in effect!
    You are in effect giving them the power to make/state a position.
    Michael Mckee

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