Company status


When CORE was established in March 2003 it was set up as a registered limited liabilitynot for profitcharitable company, but what does all that mean? Who owns CORE Education? and what do we do with any profits made?

Registered limited liability company

Limited liability companies are the most popular form of business structure in New Zealand. 

New Zealand limited liability companies are regulated by the Companies Act 1993. Limited companies must be registered with the NZ Companies Office and:

  • have at least one director (individuals only, not body corporate)
  • have at least one shareholder
  • be a New Zealand-registered office (with a physical New Zealand address)
  • undertake annual maintenance with the Register of the Company — includes filing annual returns and financial reporting for some types of companies
  • are subject to compulsory audit.

A company’s activities are regulated by the Companies Act 1993 and, when adopted, by an optional document called a constitution. Directors manage the business and affairs of the company. They are accountable to the company for the proper performance of their duties.

Registered charitable organisation

In addition, CORE is also a registered charitable organisation, registered with the NZ Charities Commission. Charitable organisations are governed under ancient laws — The Statute of Elizabeth (otherwise known as the Charitable Uses Act) was passed in England to protect and prevent the misuse of charitable funds in 1601 and was adopted as New Zealand law.

Under these regulations, the advancement of education is considered a charitable activity. To be charitable under this category, your organisation's purpose must:

  • provide some form of education
  • ensure learning is passed on to others.

The modern concept of "education" covers formal education, training, and research in specific areas of study and expertise. It also includes less formal education in the development of individual capabilities, competencies, skills and understanding. To "advance" education, learning must be passed on to others. If research is to be conducted, it must be in an objective and impartial way and the useful results made available, or accessible, to the public. The following purposes are considered to "advance" education:

  • providing education through early childhood centres, schools, universities and vocational training
  • providing scholarships and prizes for academic achievement
  • providing or improving sporting facilities for schools or universities
  • providing museums and libraries
  • developing the character of young people (for example some youth groups).

CORE’s charitable purpose is reflected in the constitution to “advance education” by:

  • researching, applying and disseminating the benefits of new learning technology
  • developing innovative, creative, and effective e-learning environments
  • promoting the importance of research
  • assisting educational institutions and teachers to obtain better classroom resources
  • assisting educational institutions and teachers to understand technology.

CORE believes that all the work it undertakes advances education and so has a charitable purpose which is for the betterment of educators and students both in New Zealand and around the world.

Not for profit

CORE is also registered with “not for profit” status. In legal terms, this means that CORE is not able to, nor would it want to, distribute profit to individual shareholders.

For CORE it is much more than a legal term though. CORE was founded on the belief that education is a public good, and not something where any shareholder should make pecuniary gains for any success. It was set up in such as way that no individual “owner” can make a personal financial gain from any profits made by the company.

Over the past few years CORE has been in the financial position to also allocate funds to external charitable activities that advance CORE’s education and charitable objectives, however CORE’s day-to-day work is considered charitable by its nature, and there is no obligation to undertake any additional charitable activities to support the company’s charitable status.

Who owns CORE Education?

The CORE Education Charitable Trust are CORE’s official owners. In CORE’s case, the owners are trustees who are entrusted to hold the shares in CORE and to act as Kaitiaki, holders of our moral purpose. Their role is to ensure that we stay true to our values and mission, and that we adhere to our charitable purpose as defined by our constitution.

Vince Ham was one of our first trustees and always ensured that all discussions were founded on the beliefs and values of our constitution. We are pleased that Ronnie Davey, Vince’s widow, has been able to take a place on the Trust.

Trust members are paid a nominal amount to attend meetings but receive no other financial incentive, irrespective of whether CORE makes a profit or not.

What does CORE do with any profits made?

It is important to remember that “not for profit” does not mean that we cannot make a profit. In fact, for the continued success of the company it is important that we do. Prudent companies ensure that a reserve is built to enable the management of the company in fluctuating financial times. Money in the bank allows CORE to undertake a range of developmental and philanthropic opportunities designed to help CORE push educational boundaries, such as the free Modern Learning Environments Expo we held in Christchurch in 2013.

In addition, each year money is allocated to CORE’s charitable activities, to return investment to the wider education sector and to stimulate and support best practice and new educational development. Each year CORE offers a range of awards, grants and scholarships to reward leading educators, celebrate successes and support educators to become world leaders in their field. These awards are overseen by Ann Hatherly and the Research team, with support from our Māori and Pasifika teams. 

In addition to the awards we have had for a few years, in late 2013, CORE established the Dr Vince Ham Excellence in Postgraduate Research Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship supports new postgraduate research contributions in key priority areas for CORE. By supporting educators to produce rigorous research we aim to grow the body of knowledge to help meet our mission of pushing the boundaries of educational possibility.

More information

The CORE Foundation is dedicated to rewarding and celebrating the education sector in all its myriad forms by offering several awards and scholarships. These opportunities are available to all educators in New Zealand.

We also make donations and support charities outside the education sector, some of the organisations that we have supported over the years are listed here.