Apply for Funding

The Southern Trust is always open for applications to benefit the community. We do not have any cut off dates. In most cases, applications are processed within 20 working days. Requests larger than $30,000 are reviewed at the next available monthly Board of Trustees meeting.


Before applying please view the application process video which will guide you through the steps necessary to complete an application. The video will open in a new window.
Application guide



All applications are only accepted online. To access the funding system click the link below.

Access the funding system


To be eligible for funding you need to be a non-profit organisation. You can be active in the areas of community, education, arts and culture or amateur sport.

If you are confident that you understand the criteria for funding applications, then you can begin the application process by completing our application form. Please note that the greater level of detail you provide us from the beginning, the easier and more efficiently we can process your request. Your application will not be considered unless it is fully completed and accompanied by all required supporting documentation.

What is an authorised purpose?

It is important for community organisations to clearly understand what an Authorised Purpose is.

The Southern Trust maintains an ongoing policy to provide funding to organisations that meet these important criteria. Learn more about what is an Authorised Purpose and the areas and community organisations it applies to The Gambling Act 2003 defines authorised purpose and our charter describes charitable purposes as “any charitable, philanthropic, cultural, or educational purpose, or any other purpose that is beneficial to the community.

Authorised purposes under section 4 of the Gambling Act 2003 are:

  • a charitable purpose;
  • a non-commercial purpose that is beneficial to the whole or a section of the community;
  • promoting, controlling, and conducting race meetings under the Racing Act 2003, including the payment of stakes;
  • classes 1-3 gambling can also raise money for an electioneering purpose.

Personal or commercial gain 

Nobody should make a direct commercial profit from any authorised purpose funding. Funding to individuals should be avoided because they often constitute personal gain or a personal commercial profit.

Sometimes there is a legitimate incidental commercial benefit as an indirect result of an authorised purpose payment. For example, if producing an educational booklet were an authorised purpose, it would be legitimate to pay the printers as a necessary part of the production.

Charitable purposes

Charity is helping people in need in the community. Typical recipients of charitable funding are the needy, for example, poor, sick, disabled or elderly people. Funding to further public health, religion and education may also be charitable.

Some examples of charitable authorised purposes are:

  • welfare assistance for people in need;
  • hospital visits for the elderly;
  • donations to IHC, Barnardos or the Cancer Society;
  • donating a computer to a school.

Education and training

Funding for public education is usually an authorised purpose. Funding to educational bodies is a charitable purpose if the funding is for public rather than private purposes. In the case of individuals receiving funding it is especially important that the selection of recipients is done in an open and transparent process.

Training which will result in commercial gain or career-oriented qualifications (e.g. training for tourism or professional sports) is unlikely to be an authorised purpose. A distinction is drawn between giving funding for general education and training and giving funding that will assist a person in their commercial and professional career. For example, funding to a centre training the unemployed in general employment skills would be an authorised purpose while training promising athletes with the aim of creating professional sports people would not.

Training for venue operators in gaming machine operations is not an authorised purpose but may be claimed as an expense if the society allows this.

Religious purposes

The advancement of religion is a charitable purpose. This applies to all religions and sects that fall under the criteria of religion at law being a “belief in a supernatural being, thing of principle and the acceptance of certain canons of conduct to give effect to that belief”. Funding will often be for the provision and maintenance of grounds and facilities used by religious organisations.

Funding for sport

Funding must only be made available for amateur sport. Most kinds of funding for amateur sports are permissible. You can pay for playing uniforms (but not dress uniforms), grounds maintenance, equipment, coaching – in short, anything that is necessary to play the sport. Funding should be made to the national organisation or an affiliated club, not to individuals.

Professional sports are not authorised purposes, except where a professional is involved in coaching, training or development for junior sport. Funding could be made for short term coaching courses, not a full-time salary. 

To ensure that the sporting group has bona fide credentials, teams or individuals that benefit from funding should be affiliated to a recognised national organisation. Funding made to non-affiliated social sports clubs (such as corporate leagues) are not deemed to be an authorised purpose as membership in these teams is not open to the public. 

The definition of bona fide sport that is approved by the department is a sporting activity, organisation or club that is:

  • affiliated or aligned to a national body; and
  • genuine and real (has standards and rules etc.); and
  • played on a regular basis as part of a significant competition; and
  • open to public membership.

Trophies or modest non-cash prizes are the only kind of sports prize that is an authorised purpose. Cash prizes or large non-cash prizes are not an authorised purpose.

Funding for a public sports facility (e.g. a stadium) is acceptable if the facility is not used primarily for professional sport.

Trade tournaments or sporting events staged primarily for commercial publicity and/or the benefit of a select industry group, are not an authorised purpose. 

Other community purposes

These must be non-commercial and benefit the community or a section of the community. A section of the community means a group that is open to public membership. A closed group where membership is discretionary is too limited to be considered a section of the community. For example, a closed group could comprise members of a family or a firm’s social club. 

Some examples of community authorised purposes are:

  • amateur theatre groups;
  • non-profit museums and art galleries;
  • amateur cultural groups;
  • non-profit community cultural or arts festivals.

Racing and other semi-commercial sports

Under the Gambling Act 2003, an authorised purpose for which funding can be made includes “promoting, controlling, and conducting race meetings under the Racing Act 2003, including the payment of stakes”.

The circumstances of the racing industry have been described in a High Court declaratory judgment as unique. Racing club purposes have been found to be both cultural and for the benefit of the community. Racing has a status in New Zealand society, which is recognised and reinforced in special legislation for the racing industry. Authorised purpose statements can allow for the proceeds from gambling to be spent on stake money, the provision and maintenance of bar areas, equipment and club members’ facilities. However, funding should not be made which support the commercial wing of the racing industry, for example, the training and/or breeding of racehorses or payment of jockeys.

The unique recognition afforded to the racing industry precludes authorised purpose statements for racing clubs setting a precedent for change to any other class of society’s statement of authorised purpose. 

Funding for ten-pin bowling should be purely for the assistance of members of the recognised amateur league and should not directly benefit any commercial ten-pin bowling centre (e.g. by the payment of lane fees). Similar rules apply to any sports facility run for commercial profit, such as billiard parlours and country clubs for golf.

Wages and salaries

Wages and salaries may be eligible for authorised purpose funding where the employing body has an entirely non-commercial community or charitable purpose and provided that the payment of a wage is necessary to achieve the authorised purpose. For example, the payment of an amateur sports coach for specific short-term coaching courses may be an authorised purpose.

Wages and salaries of people involved in the gaming operation are not an authorised purpose. They should be claimed as an expense by the society.


Vehicles purchased with authorised purpose funds must be used for authorised purposes only and usually to assist in transporting needy people to hospital and other such trips. Vehicles are not for private or commercial activities. Club courtesy vans used to ferry patrons home from social functions, regardless of need, are not an authorised purpose. For auditing purposes, logbooks of the use of the vehicle need to be maintained. 

Social activities

Most events which are social in nature (e.g. parties, balls, sports supporter’s trips) are not authorised purposes. Provision and maintenance of facilities set up for provision of social activities are also not an authorised purpose.

Purchase of alcohol, paying staff for bar work, and the maintenance or provision of bar facilities are not authorised purposes. Examples of social activities which are authorised purposes are:

  • a Christmas party for children in hospital;
  • a concert for the residents of an old people’s home.

The following are not authorised purposes:

  • Family reunions;
  • Entertainment in pubs or clubs;
  • Sporting trips for supporters or spectators;
  • After match functions for sporting groups.

Promotion and advertising

Advertising is seldom an authorised purpose unless what is being promoted is entirely non-commercial and benefits the community. The kinds of advertising or promotions which may be acceptable authorised purposes are:

  • the promotion of public amenities such as parks or museums;
  • advertising for charitable appeals;
  • advertising for non-profit cultural events;