The Sociological Association of Aotearoa began its life in 1963 as the Sociological Association of Australia and New Zealand, with a NZ branch existing from 1968, changing its name to SAA(NZ) in 1988.

SAANZ is a non-profit association whose members include academics, social researchers, public and private sector workers, postgraduate and undergraduate students. SAANZ holds annual conferences, supports a refereed journal, a website and maintains an email list.

SAANZ aims to further sociology in NZ, to provide a network for NZ sociologists, to further links with other sociological associations, and to address issues of relevance to NZ sociologists. It is a ‘collective member’ of the International Sociological Association (ISA), maintains reciprocal arrangements with its Australian counterpart, TASA, and is a constituent organisation of the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ).

Members are entitled to reduced fees for the annual conferences of both SAANZ and TASA.  Membership is open to anyone with an interest in sociological research. There are no registration requirements, and membership fees are modest. SAANZ members are expected to act according to the Ethical Guidelines of the Association and abide by its Constitution.