This section provides an overview of New Zealand's classification system and how it works.
The current system was established and operates according to the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 (the Classification Act). In this section you will find information about the Classification Act, how it is applied, and the work of the Classification Office.
Find out about the process films and other publications go through when they are classified, and read case studies to see the classification process in action.
The classification system in New Zealand operates under the Classification Act, passed in 1993. The Act regulates how films, games and other publications are classified.
This page provides an overview of the legal criteria that must be applied by the Classification Office when classifying a publication - such as a film, game, book or computer file. Once they are examined under those criteria, publications can be classified as unrestricted, restricted (eg R16 or R18), or objectionable (banned). Read more about The classification criteria
This page explains how New Zealand's classification law applies to games. Under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, video and computer games can be classified and have age restrictions placed on them in the same way as films, DVDs and other publications. Read more about How games are classified
Computer files downloaded from the internet come under the definition of a 'publication' in the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, and can therefore be classified. Read more about Classification and the internet
This page explains the structure of the Classification Office, including information about its relation to government, staff makeup, and vacancies. Read more about the Classification Office
This page outlines some key classification statistics from the past financial year. You can also download copies of official documents such as our Annual Reports and Statements of Intent. Read more about Statistics and corporate documents
This page has information about how the Classification Act is enforced - including the role of Customs, the Police and the Department of Internal Affairs. It also has information about the offence provisions and associated penalties. Read more about Enforcement, offences and penalties
One of the functions of the Classification Office is to provide research. We have published research about a variety of topics, including the New Zealand public's views on the classification system. Read more about Research
Censorship in New Zealand has been around since the 19th century. We've put together an overview of important milestones and how the current system evolved. Read more about History of censorship in New Zealand
This page contains information about the classification system for people who do not speak English as a first language. Information in 20 languages and scripts is available. Read more about Information for non-English speakers
Read our recent research reports: