Stewards' Trust

The Stewards' Trust of New Zealand Incorporated (our full legal name), is incorporated under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 (No. 222834) and also registered as a charitable entity in terms of the Charities Act 2005 (No. CC10270). For more information visit the Charities Register at


The Trust was established by prominent Assembly Elders and businessmen in 1919 to provide trustee property services. The objective was for Stewards' Trust to hold title to properties on behalf of individual Assemblies (Churches) in a custodial role, thereby providing stability of title ownership.

The process overcame the need for elders/trustees to be constantly changing the names on title deeds, as the circumstances of individuals changed. This has been a successful formula over many years. During the second half of the 20th century, in particular, many new Assemblies were established and became vested in Stewards' Trust. In the latter part of the 20th century, Stewards also became titleholder to a number of Assembly camps and other "business type" operations. The Trusts established were for the purpose of the ministry.

In 2018 more than 100 Assemblies (comprising about 170 individual land titles ), are held by Stewards on behalf of individual Assemblies.

Below is a list of what Stewards' Trust can be used for:

  • Provides a property trustee service.

  • Can be named in your Will to receive legacies for Christian work. You can specify your particular interests.

  • Receives and administers various funds, principally for Christian work within New Zealand, associated with Brethren Assemblies.

  • Provides backing for Strength and Unity Conferences for Brethren leaders.

  • Can put you or your church in touch with people who can offer you help and guidance with property and finance related matters.

  • Has provided information and assistance to churches to assist them with the registration process for the New Zealand Charities Commission.

  • Has established a Group Insurance Scheme for churches and has assisted some churches with insurance matters.

Stewards' Trust:  A Trustee Service

Your Assembly is now established and is buying a property, that's great, but:

  • How do you go about the purchase?

  • How do you get it set up as a charitable trust?

  • Whose name goes on the title?

Stewards' Trust provides a property trustee service for Brethren assemblies. 

Each property is held under a separate Declaration of Trust, specifically designed for Brethren assemblies.

This provides a ready made trust structure, at minimal cost and minimal effort.  With Stewards' Trust, there is no need for you to create a separate trust for your local church.

For more information about how Stewards' Trust can assist you through our trustee service, please contact John Robinson.

Charities Commission Registration

Although the deadline for registration during the transitional period has now passed, it is not too late to register your church if you have not yet done so.  The Register remains open and you can register any time you like.

A "How To" Guideline for Brethren Churches

We at Stewards' Trust have done what we can to make it as easy as possible for you to attend to the registration of your church with the Charities Commission.

There is no overall registration, where one body completes registration for every church.  Rather, each church that wants to gain registration must register individually for themselves.

Here is a step by step process.

  • First, download and read an update letter prepared by David Burt.

  • Then download the Governance Statement and Schedule of Doctrines which David refers to.

  • Then download the standard Declaration of Trust document, which is again referred to in the letter.

  • Now go to the web site of the Charities Commission, and download the various registration forms. There is a form for the church, as well as a form for each officer of the church to complete. Complete the registration forms, get them signed, attach the Governance Statement and Declaration of Trust documents and then post it all to the Commission.

If you have questions about the registration process, or about anything you read in the documents above, please contact John Robinson.

If your church has its own trust and you need some assistance with changing your trust deed, we recommend that you see your lawyer, or contact Gaze Burt.

Stewards' Trust:  Legacies and Bequests

You're thinking about your Will.  You want to ensure that when you no longer need your money, it can be put to good use for the Kingdom of God, either here in New Zealand or overseas.

Stewards' Trust can help you.  You can name Stewards' Trust in your Will as a beneficiary, for all or part of your estate.  You can leave money to be used as the Executive of Stewards' Trust sees a need, or you can specify an area of work you would like to support.

We strongly urge you to see your lawyer about your Will.  He or she can ensure it truly sets out your wishes, and that it is valid after your death.  It is also important, if naming Stewards' Trust as a beneficiary, that our correct legal name is used in your Will.

If you would like to discuss a possible bequest with us, please contact John Robinson.

Charitable Gifts

From time to time you may want to make a donation or gift to the work of God.  Your regular giving should be made to or through your own local church.  But what if you have a larger sum of money to give, or you want it to go to an area of work that your church doesn't get involved in?

Stewards' Trust, as a charitable entity, can receive your gift without you needing to worry about any gift duty.  You can make a gift to be applied at the discretion of the Executive of Stewards' Trust, or you can give specific directions as to what you would like your gift used for.  As long as the gift remains for a charitable purpose, and it fits within the objects for which Stewards' Trust was established, that is fine.

If you would like to discuss making a gift to Stewards' Trust, please contact John Robinson.

Stewards' Trust: Other Services

Stewards' Trust can provide you with assistance on a variety of matters:

  • We have people who can help you with decisions about what your church property is worth, or about the value of the property you are thinking of buying.

  • Need some repair work done on your church building, but don't know where to start or who to turn to? Contact us, and one of our people may be able to pay you a visit and point you in the right direction. We can't do the work for you, but we can give you the benefit of expertise.

  • Some of our Executive Committee people have the practical skills to guide you in these matters. If we can't come to you, we have local members in your area who may be able to assist, or may be able to put you in touch with others who can.

  • We can assist you with insurance of your church property through the Property Insurance Scheme we have initiated (see our Links page).

Legislative Responsibilities

The composition and experience of the Executive Committee has led to Stewards also providing wider commercially related services to the Assemblies as the need has arisen. This has become more focused in recent years as more legislative responsibilities have been imposed on the wider community and on the administration of Assemblies.  For example, over the past 30 years the introduction of GST and other various tax related legislation, the Charities Act including subsequent financial reporting, the Health and Safety Act and other statutory requirements. Stewards continues to advise and contribute to the statutory obligations of Assemblies.

Property Insurance Scheme

Stewards' Foundation

The Stewards' Foundation (New Zealand) Incorporated (our full legal name), is incorporated under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 (No.223296) and also registered as a charitable entity in terms of the Charities Act 2005 (No. CC10589).  For more information visit the Charities Register at


The Foundation is a highly specialised lender.  It was established in 1955 as a separate legal entity, by Stewards' Trust, to provide lending facilities to Assemblies at favourable interest rates to facilitate the development of Church properties.  Over the years this has also included lending to full-time workers, missionaries and ministry related commercial activities, such as camps.


Over many years funds were borrowed from Assembly members and organisations (depositors), by way of unsecured bonds at varying market rates of interest.  The Foundation was a 'Non-Bank Deposit Taker' in terms of legislation.

This borrowing facilitated the work of the Foundation and the Executive are indebted to the many faithful Assembly members and organisations that placed funds on deposit over the years.

However, recent times (and following the Global Financial Crisis), the Statutes and Regulations governing 'Non-Bank Deposit Takers' became onerous to such an extent that the Foundation was reluctantly forced to abandon this initiative.  All deposits were repaid.

The Foundation has continued to lend from the equity that had been built up over the years.  The Foundation's ability to do so was more restricted and it has been decided to focus future lending to the development and support of Assemblies only.

Lending Details

  • Funds are lent on a first mortgage basis to Assemblies who align themselves to the Christian Brethren or Open Brethren Assemblies throughout New Zealand.

  • Loans are offered on a ten year repayment term for Churches. In exceptional circumstances this may be extended to fifteen years.

  • Mortgages can be on a table repayment basis, where each payment is the same amount; OR on a reducing repayment basis, where each payment comprises a fixed principal sum plus a reducing interest sum.

  • For more details or for an application form for a mortgage advance, please contact John Robinson our Secretary.

We have an information sheet for churches.  Each sets out more detail on our loans and loan criteria.  Please view or download these documents.

You can also download an application form for a church or institution mortgage advance.

Stewards' Foundation: Investing

Stewards' Foundation is no longer receiving funds for investment.

Executive Committee & Members List

Stewards' Trust and Stewards' Foundation

The Trust and Foundation are separate legal entities having different functions.  However, the two entities are very closely linked using the same Membership and Executive Committee. The day-to-day administrative work is conducted by the Executive Committee. This Committee is typically comprised of experienced professionals including lawyers, accountants, business consultants and others from commercial background. They meet quarterly. A full list of the current Executive Committee is listed below.

Executive Committee (2018)

  • Graham Walton (Chairman) - Auckland

  • John Robinson (Secretary) - Auckland

  • Andrew Linton (Treasurer) - Hamilton

  • Phil Aish - Auckland

  • Malcolm Davie – Wellington

  • Cameron Bennett - Hamilton

  • Phil Caffyn - Hamilton

  • Stewart Rowe - Palmerston North

  • Murray Frost - Christchurch

  • Kotie Smith - Christchurch

Members (2018)

We have a wider membership base of regional representatives throughout New Zealand.  We try to cover the whole country, although at times we do have gaps.  Our members include the Executive Committee as listed above, together with the following people:

  • Terry Bradley – Orewa

  • Andrew Clemow - Whangarei

  • Alan Thorp – Auckland

  • (Mrs) Glenys Yeoman – Auckland

  • Mark Gardiner – Cambridge

  • James Major – Havelock North

  • Jeff Simpson – New Plymouth

  • Jay Gillett – Matamata

  • Ron Stuart – Upper Hutt

  • Dean Paynter – Nelson

  • Graham Anderson - Christchurch