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).
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.
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.
This page explains the structure of the Classification Office, including information about its relation to government, staff makeup, and vacancies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 our recent research reports: