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Latest news

Check out the latest classification news, events and topics from the Classification Office

This section includes our media releases, news articles on various topics related to classification, information about our latest research, details of submissions we've made, resources and useful PDFs.

Closeup of newspaper headline reading 'Latest News'

Research: Children and teen exposure to media content

3 February 2017

The Classification Office commissioned UMR to survey New Zealanders about media content. Results indicate there is widespread public concern about content such as sex and violence in entertainment media, particularly amongst parents. The representative survey of 1000 adult New Zealanders also identified a number of specific harms relating to young people’s exposure to this content. The results support previous research showing the importance of classifications for making wise viewing choices.

Full report - Children and teen exposure to media content (PDF, 1.27MB)

News item: Children and teen exposure to media content

Cover of our research report - Children and teen exposure to media content

Research: Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence

30 November 2016

This report is the first component of our research and consultation project exploring the effects of viewing sexual violence in mainstream commercial media such as movies, TV shows and games. In early 2016 Colmar Brunton held a number of focus groups with teenagers and this is a full report of findings. The research is unique in that it addresses young people's own understandings of sexual violence in media entertainment.

Download the full report - Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence (PDF, 970KB)

News item: Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence

Media release: Chief Censor publishes research about sexual violence in media

Cover of our research report - Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence

Chief Censor: "Violent media is helping to shape a violent NZ" (media release)

22 September 2016

The Film and Literature Board of Review has today upheld the Chief Censor's R18 classification of the film Don't Breathe, due to hit cinemas this week. The classification also carries the warning "Contains violence, sexual violence and offensive language".

Chief Censor Dr Andrew Jack welcomes the Board of Review decision, stating that it helps increase New Zealanders’ awareness of violent entertainment and supports their right to choose what they and their families are exposed to. Dr Jack says the Classification Office is viewing an increasing amount of horrific and gratuitous sexual violence in mainstream entertainment targeting young people.

Media release: Chief Censor: "Violent media is helping to shape a violent NZ"

Don't Breathe movie poster

Recent complaints about violence and sexual material on free to air television

For the past few months, the Classification Office has been providing a service on our public website for people to check whether the free to air television shows that they wish to watch have previously been given an official rating or classification. In the process of compiling this information, the Classification Office became concerned about a couple of instances of potentially harmful, violent and/or sexual material displayed on free to air television at times and in ways that appeared to contravene broadcasting standards.

This page explains the concerns of the Classification Office and the outcome of the broadcasting complaints process.

News item: Recent complaints about violence and sexual material on free to air television

Image of man watching TV

Media release: Classification Office to consult with community about sexual violence in entertainment media

6 July 2016

This media release is about our upcoming research into young people's views about depictions of sexual violence in movies, shows and games.

The first part of the qualitative research involved focus groups with teenagers, conducted by Colmar Brunton. A report on the findings from this initial survey is expected to be released in the coming months.

Media release: Classification Office to consult with community about sexual violence in entertainment media

stylised image of people talking around a table

Media release: Chief Censor releases comprehensive survey of media use frequency in New Zealand

4 July 2016

This media release accompanied the publication of our survey about media use and perceptions of the classification system.

Research shows that the classifications currently used for films, videos, and other publications are trusted, reliable, and preferred by New Zealanders for a platform neutral classification system of the future.

Media release: Chief Censor releases comprehensive survey of media use frequency in New Zealand

News item: Changing media use and public perceptions of the classification system

Cover of our research report - Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views

Research: Changing media use and public perceptions of the classification system (June 2016)

4 July 2016

We commissioned Colmar Brunton to carry out a survey of the public's views about, and understanding of, the classification system - and about New Zealanders' changing media use habits. This representative survey of 1,000 people found that New Zealanders continue to have a high level of trust in the classification system, despite a rapidly changing entertainment media environment. This research follows on from similar research conducted in 2006 and 2011.

Download the full report - Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' views (2016) (PDF, 1.33MB)

News item: Changing media use and public perceptions of the classification system

Cover of our research report - Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views

The Office has classified a number of Wicked campervans

Updated 9 June 2016

The Classification Office has classified nine Wicked campervans so far. Five have been classified as Objectionable - this means it is illegal for anyone to supply, own, or possess the vans in New Zealand. Four have been classified as Unrestricted.

Recent decisions: Wicked Campers

An image of the vehicle depicting Goofy holding a bong with the word 'Stoned'

What does 'RP' mean?

8 March 2016 (updated post)

The RP classification label is not used very often and many people are unfamiliar with its meaning. This page explains what the RP13 and RP16 classification labels mean.

Blog post: What does 'RP' mean?

RP13 classification labelRP16 classification label

What does R13 mean?

3 March 2016 (updated post)

Recently there have been a few films and games released with R13 classifications. This page explains what the R13 classification means.

Blog post: What does R13 mean?

R13 classification label

Research: New Zealanders want one classification system for movies, TV shows and games

29 February 2016

The Government is currently undertaking a review of content classification in New Zealand, with one potential outcome being that all content could use the same set of content warnings or classifications in the future, regardless of format or medium. Results of recent research by UMR commissioned by the Classification Office indicate there is widespread public support for one classification system for all entertainment content.

Read more about New Zealanders want one classification system for movies, TV shows and games

1950s family watching TV

Research: Attitudes towards classification labels - 2015

1 December 2015

It's important for the Classification Office to keep up to date with how New Zealanders think about and use the classification system. This is why we asked UMR Research to include some questions from us in their October 2015 Online Omnibus survey. A representative sample of 1000 New Zealanders 18 years of age and over participated in the survey.

We asked how people are guided by restricted classifications when making viewing choices. We also asked if people would like to see these classification labels on TV. There was wide support for this.

Read more about Attitudes towards classification labels - 2015

Restricted classification labels on DVDs

Submission on the Government discussion paper Content Regulation in a Converged World

16 October 2015

The Classification Office has made a submission in response to the Government's discussion document Content Regulation in a Converged World (published on 25 August, 2015).

The Classification Office submission - Balancing Freedom of Expression with Public Safety in a Digital Age - sets out the essential elements of a more modern regulatory regime for entertainment and information and suggests areas where changes to the current regulatory arrangements may be required in both the short and longer term.

Read more about Submission on the Government discussion paper Content Regulation in a Converged World

Cover of OFLC submission on media convergence

We've launched our new website for students

22 July 2015

Providing quality, relevant and updated content for students has long been a focus of ours. Students and young people generally are some of our most important stakeholders - they're big consumers of entertainment media and are directly affected by our classification decisions in a way that adults aren't. We try to do as much as we can to help young people understand the system, and also to encourage them to comply with classifications when choosing content for themselves and people younger than them.

Blog post: Our new website for students and teachers

Visit the website

Students' website homepage

What does 'M' mean?

27 May 2015

It's one of our most frequently-asked questions, so we've written a blog post that we update regularly. The M label on films and DVDs - explained.

A movie, TV series or a game with an M rating can be sold or supplied to anyone. It is an unrestricted classification. This page explains what the M rating means using M movies as an example. It is important to remember that M means the same thing whether it's on a cinema film, a DVD, an online movie, a game, or an online television episode. The M rating indicates that the movie is more suited to a mature audience.

Blog post: The meaning of the M label

M label on DVD

Plain English Guide to the Offence Provisions updated

14 May 2015

We have updated our Plain English Guide to the Offence Provisions to incorporate recent amendments to the Classification Act.

Download Plain English Guide to the Offence Provisions (PDF 877KB)

Plain English Guide page

Our video Public Service Announcements

1 August 2014

A library of PSAs produced by the Classification Office on video.

Videos include:

  • Wise Choices for the school holidays
  • Wise Choices for that special someone
  • Wise Choices for your teenage gamers
  • Wise Choices for you and your bros
  • Wise Choices for the whole family
  • Red Means Restricted cinema ad

Read more about Our video PSAs

Old-fashioned TV with the words 'PSA' on the screen

Media release: Young People's Perceptions research

4 November 2013

Chief Censor Andrew Jack spoke in support of research published by his office this week that found that many young New Zealanders are critical of the system of legal restrictions operating in this country for films and games.

The research was conducted with the assistance of Colmar Brunton Social Research Agency and is freely available on our research page.

Read more about Young People's Perceptions research

Cover of Survey of Young People's Perceptions of the Classification System

Resources for retailers and cinema operators

1 November 2013

We have distributed 1,000 posters of the Red Means Restricted flyer for retailers and cinemas to display at the point-of-sale to assist customer understanding of legal restrictions on games and films.

Read more about Resources for retailers and cinema operators

A cinema audience

2012 changes to the Classification Act

2 October 2012

From 1 October 2012 there are several changes to the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, and the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Regulations 1994. Read about them in this article.

Read more about 2012 changes to the Classification Act

Cover of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993

Research: Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views

24 June 2011

In June 2006 the Classification Office published a new research report. Aspects of the research may be of particular interest to parents of children and young people, members of the entertainment industry, government departments and media students. This new research shows that the public remain supportive of the classification system, and value the services provided by the Classification Office.

Read more about Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views

Cover of the report Understanding the classification system: New Zealanders' views

Article: Historical Records Database project

20 December 2010

Classification decisions are legally binding unless superseded by a new decision from the Classification Office. They are also a matter of public record, and the Classification Office wants to make them publically accessible. In a project begun in September 2009 the Classification Office has been adding and updating records from the registers of the old Office of the Chief Censor of Films (CCF) in order to achieve this aim. When this work is completed, New Zealand will have a complete censorship database dating back to the 1920s.

Read more about Historical Records Database project

Archive shelving