skip to main content

About NZ Classification

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.

How classification decisions are made

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.

Subsection pages:

Read more about How classification decisions are made

New Zealand's classification law

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.

Subsection pages:

Read more about New Zealand's classification law

The classification criteria

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

How games are classified

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

Classification and the internet

Content downloaded from the internet comes 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

About the Classification Office

This page explains the structure of the Classification Office, including information about its relation to government, staff makeup, and vacancies.

Read more about About us

Official Information Act Requests

Read more about Official Information Act Requests

Statistics and corporate documents

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

Enforcement, offences and penalties

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

History of censorship in New Zealand

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

Information for non-English speakers

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

Youth Advisory Panel

Read more about Youth Advisory Panel

Quick questions

Front page of the Act