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New Zealand's classification labels

This page is about the New Zealand classification labels that must be displayed on films, DVDs and restricted-level games. It provides information about what the labels mean.

For information about obtaining a classification label see How to submit films and games for classification.

Full set of classification labels, from G to R18

Useful links

What is a classification label?

All labels have a classification symbol and usually a descriptive note indicating the type of content in a film or game that may be of concern to viewer - for example, whether the film contains violence or sex.

You will find the labels displayed:

  • In cinemas
  • On video and DVD cases
  • As part of film trailers and on advertising material such as posters and online listings
  • Sometimes magazines, books or music CDs may also have classification labels

Film labels are colour coded like a traffic light:

GREEN
means anyone can view a film.
YELLOW
means that anyone can view the film, but guidance from a parent or guardian is recommended, and some films may be more suitable for mature audiences.
RED
means restricted. It is illegal to show or give the movie or game to anyone under the age stated on the label.
Full set of classification labels, from G to R18
Official classification label poster

What do the labels mean?

Unrestricted labels

Please note that most unrestricted films are not classified by the Classification Office before release, but if you disagree with a film's G, PG or M rating you should definitely let us know. For more information, see Inquiries and complaints about classification.

G label

G

Anyone can be shown or sold this. G films should have very low levels of things like frightening scenes. However, not all G level films are intended for family audiences and it is always a good idea to look at reviews and plot information before taking children to any film.

PG label

PG

Films and games with a PG label can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. The PG label means guidance from a parent or guardian is recommended for younger viewers. It is important to remember that PG films can be aimed at an adult audience and to be aware of the content of a film if you are taking children to it.

M label

M

Films and games with an M label can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. Films with an M label are more suitable for mature audiences. When considering whether to let a child see an M-rated film, it's a good idea to find out what the film is about - and to always remember to check the descriptive note.
The meaning of the M label

Restricted labels

Red means restricted: it is illegal to sell, hire, show or give a restricted (red labelled) film or game to anyone under the age shown on the label (unless an exception is stated on the label).

Restrictions apply in cinemas, at home and at school. Adults cannot give children permission to watch restricted films, or play restricted games. Various online platforms and services also use official classifications and these may be accompanied by parental controls or locks.

All films and games with red restricted labels have been classified by the Classification Office before release. If you disagree with a classification, please contact us and let us know. For more information, see Inquiries and complaints about classification.

R13 label R15 label R16 label R18 label

Red means restricted
R13, R15, R16, R18

It is illegal to sell, hire, show or give a film or game with an age restricted label to anyone under the age specified. If something has one of these labels it can only be supplied to people of and over the age shown on the label. A parent, shop or cinema is breaking the law if they supply an age-restricted item to someone who is not legally allowed to access it. You will see these labels on films, games, DVDs and a few music recordings, magazines and books.
What does R13 mean?

RP13 label RP16 label

RP13, RP16

The RP label means that the film or DVD can only be watched by someone under the age on the label if they are with a parent or guardian (an adult over 18). You will see these labels on films and DVDs. A parent, shop or cinema is breaking the law if they allow unaccompanied children to access these films.
What does RP mean?

R label

R

R means that there is a special restriction. Refer to the words on the right of the label for the full conditions.

Other publications

Sometimes publications other than films and games are submitted to the Classification Office for classification. These publications can be given labels and display restrictions just like a film or game. Red restricted labels have been available for restricted non-film publications such as magazines since 2005.

Distributors sometimes assign their own labels to these publications to warn consumers of content. These labels are not allowed to resemble official classification labels and do not mean that a publication has been classified.

What does the descriptive note on the label mean?

Descriptive notes are designed to help people when they are deciding whether to watch a film. The notes indicate whether there is content in a film such as offensive language, sex scenes, violence, cruelty or other potentially disturbing or offensive material. Please be aware that violence or offensive language, for example, will generally be stronger in a restricted film than an unrestricted film.

For more information about classification labels contact the Information Unit.

R13 label with descriptive note
R13 label with descriptive note: "Contains violence and offensive language"
R16 label with descriptive note
R16 label with descriptive note: "Contains sex scenes"