This page has information for teachers about showing films in the classroom, classifying student-made films, and our Censor for a Day event for media students.
You can also take a look at our student website, written for students studying censorship as part of NCEA media studies.
If you need more information please feel free to contact our Information Unit.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs receive complaints each year about teachers showing restricted material to underage students.
There are two types of restricted films:
RP(age) films are able to be watched by students under the age on the label BUT ONLY if an adult is with them. This is so the adult can support the students in understanding material in the film.
What does RP mean?
R(age) films must not be shown to anyone under the age on the label. Supplying or showing a restricted film/game or other publication to someone underage is an offence. This includes clips from restricted films, such as those found on websites like YouTube, and applies to downloaded films as well.
What does R13 mean?
Teachers or parents cannot give permission for an underage student to watch a restricted film which has a R13, R15, R16 or R18 restriction placed on it. The only way to legally screen these restricted film to underage students is with the direct permission of the Chief Censor. This is called getting an exemption from classification.
The application for an exemption must be accompanied by the required fee of $102.20. This fee is non-refundable if the application is declined.
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You can apply to the Chief Censor for an exemption from classification under section 44 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. An exemption under section 44 means you will be able to legally show a specified film/publication to students under the age of the restriction.
The application must be accompanied by the required fee of $102.20. This fee is non-refundable if the application is declined.
Your application should explain the reasons for seeking the exemption (for example why you are wishing to use the particular film in question instead of one with a lower or no restriction). You may also like to outline what steps you will be taking to mitigate the injury to the public good which the Classification Office identified when assigning the film its restriction. Summaries of reasons for decisions on films are available from the Information Unit.
If you need more information contact our Information Unit.
Since 1999, the Office of Film and Literature Classification has held an event called Censor for a Day (C4aD). C4aD rotates between different regional locations. It usually takes place during the first and third terms.
C4aD is a valuable opportunity for senior Media Studies students who are studying aspects of media regulation including film classification. The full-day programme involves senior students, who must be at least 16 years old, viewing a pre-release film and being taken through a classification exercise. All groups of students must be accompanied by at least one teacher.
The Classification Office does try to tailor the presentation to a student audience. However, in order to provide a realistic representation of what we do (classify material likely to be restricted or objectionable), it is important to know that the film to be shown is likely to be one that is restricted.
Read more about Censor for a Day, including reports of what happened at the events, in the Censor for a Day section on our student website
Invitations for schools to participate in Censor for a Day are sent out a few months before each event. If you would like to receive an invitation, contact us to make sure we have the most up-to-date contact details for your school. Seats fill up fast, so we encourage you to respond quickly when the invitation emails are sent out.
Teachers and students studying the classification system should visit our student website. This has case studies, historical information, research and detailed information on how books, films and computer publications are classified in New Zealand.
We are very happy for students to ask us questions about the classification system - but we do like them to have looked at our student website first!
We can offer web-conferencing to schools on classification topics. This may help schools who are not able to access our Censor for a Day programme.
Visit our website for students
We have a number of other free resources your school might like to use. Please contact us if you'd like a supply of any of the following for your class:
A booklet outlining the censorship process and labelling, suitable as a school resource.
Contact our Information Unit to order copies of Censorship: The Basic Facts.
The restricted movies flyer is a double-sided sheet informing people that it is illegal to supply restricted films or games to underage people.
Contact our Information Unit to order Red Means Restricted flyers (100 flyers per pad).
All premises which supply films, DVDs and/or games are required to display a poster which explains what the classification labels mean. The law requires the poster be no smaller than A3.
Contact our Information Unit to order classification label posters (available in A3 and A2).