Donations and Koha Policy


As a public sector entity, the University must ensure that it conducts its business with financial prudence. The University must ensure that any donations or koha gifted to a third party are transparent and subject to appropriate scrutiny. In particular, the donation or koha must relate to an activity or event which 'fits' the profile of the University, and is consistent with its vision and strategic objectives, and its image as a public sector entity.


This policy applies to all members of the University.


This policy clarifies the circumstances in which donations and the gifting of koha to third parties is appropriate.


1. A donation made to a third party, including the gifting of koha, is appropriate in circumstances where:

  • There is a clearly identified relationship between the University and the recipient of the donation or koha, and
  • The activity or event ‘fits’ the profile of the University, is non-political, is made to a recognised organisation by normal commercial means, not to an individual and, other than in the case of koha, not in cash, and
  • It can be clearly demonstrated that the donation or gift satisfied the compliance obligations of this policy and either:
    • In the case of koha, is justified in cultural terms, or
    • In the case of a donation, is justified in terms of its alignment with the University’s vision and strategic goals

2. Personal relationships and obligations of members as private individuals do not of themselves establish relationships or obligations of the University.

3. All donations and gifts of koha must conform with regulations issued by the Inland Revenue Department. No payment must be made as a donation or koha (tax free) when the actual circumstances surrounding the payment carry an obligation to pay tax.

Note: For example, payments for services such as speaking or cultural performances are subject to resident withholding tax.

4. The giving of a donation or koha must have prior approval as follows:

  • Under $100 in value: on a one over one basis
  • Between $100 and $500 in value: by the Director of Faculty Finance or service division Finance Manager, dean or higher provided that the one over one test is applied
  • In the exceptional case that the proposed donation or koha is over $500 in value: by the Vice-Chancellor or delegate on the recommendation of a University Executive Committee member

5. The amount of the donation or koha must be appropriate to the circumstances and have regard to Māori custom (in the case of koha).

Note - Advice may be sought from the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) or delegate on what is appropriate for particular circumstances. This is advice on amount, not a request for approval.

6. Donations and koha must be within the amount budgeted by the Approving manager.

7. All donations and koha over $100 must be recorded as a gift given on the Gift Register.

8. Where the Approving Manager, upon inquiry, ascertains that a donation or koha is actually a payment in relation to services supplied, then a tax invoice must be obtained and the transaction treated in accordance with normal University practice for such payments.

9. In the rare circumstances of the University giving koha or donation to a member the payment will be subject to PAYE under taxation law. The payment must be made through Payroll Services to ensure correct tax treatment of the payment.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Koha is an unconditional gift where the recipient has neither stipulated that it be given, nor has an expectation of receiving it. It is distinct from expenditure for services supplied. The giving of koha is an integral part of Māori culture

Approving manager is the line manager or a manager higher in the approval hierarchy with the appropriate delegated financial authority

Members means those persons who make up the University as set out in section 3(2) of The University of Auckland Act 1961 and includes University employees, students, Council committee members, contractors, sub-contractors and invitees

One over one is the principle that an approving manager can only approve expenses of their direct reports as per the organisational chart maintained by Human Resources. They cannot approve their own transactions or those of the person that they report to. Nor can they approve expenses of a member at the same level or higher in the organisational chart

PAYE is Pay As You Earn which is a form of tax that is deducted from income earned by employees

University means the University of Auckland including all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Include the following:

Document management and control

Owner: Director of Finance
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: 10 September 2015
Review date: 1 October 2017