The New Zealand government doesn't consider Jediism a religion or believe in the Force

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

In the spring of 2014, the Jedi Society of New Zealand was became an officially-recognized company under the country's Incorporated Societies Act 1908. The Society, its members say, is dedicated to upholding the values of the Jedi, the fictional group of Force-sensitive knights featured in the Star Wars franchise.

Though being Guardians of the Peace and enabling eternal vigilance of the Sith are listed amongst organization's primary goals, New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs have rejected the Society's request for a religious tax exemption.

In Star Wars the Jedi are described as being a monastic order of teachers, diplomats, and warriors who fight for intergalactic peace and the balance of the Force. The Jedi Society of New Zealand, the DIA charity services board argued, couldn't claim goals nearly as altruistic.


Because the organization failed to "promote a moral or spiritual improvement," the board denied its claims that it was eligible for tax-exempt status as a religious organization.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Though the government may not take New Zealand's Jedi-aligned organizations seriously, tens of thousands of New Zealanders do.

According to Stuff, New Zealanders have petitioned multiple times to have their belief in the Force by the country's census. In 2001, over 50,000 identified their faith as "Jedi" for the New Zealand Census. Four years later (the same year Revenge of the Sith was released,) that number was down to 20,000.


Strong as the Force may be with some Kiwis, however, the board determined that the Society wasn't sufficiently "structured, cogent, or serious enough to be taken seriously."

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