Led by the Chief and Deputy Chief Censors, Te Mana Whakaatu The Classification Office is organised into groups that work together to inform and empower New Zealanders to watch content in a positive way and safeguard them from harm.
The Chief Censor and Deputy Chief Censor
The Chief and Deputy Chief Censors are appointed on the recommendation of the Minister of Internal Affairs, with the agreement of the Minister of Women's Affairs and the Minister of Justice. The Chief Censor and Deputy Chief Censor form the Board of the Classification Office.
Acting Chief Censor
Rupert Ablett-Hampson was appointed Deputy Chief Censor in 2021 for a three year term. He is currently Acting Chief Censor, after previous Chief Censor David Shanks' term ended on Friday 6 May.
The Chief Censor
The Chief Censor is the chief executive of the Classification Office and is responsible for allocating duties and responsibilities amongst staff. The Chief Censor performs a number of additional functions under the Classification Act, including the power to:
- Grant members of the public leave to submit an unclassified publication for classification.
- Allow previously classified publications to be submitted in order to be given a new classification.
- 'Call in' an unclassified publication in order for it to be classified (this is usually the result of complaints from members of the public).
- Grant an exemption (upon request) from a classification restriction - for example a school teacher showing a restricted film to students.
The Deputy Chief Censor
The Deputy Chief Censor exercises the powers, duties and functions of the Chief Censor in the event of absence or vacancy. The Deputy Chief Censor is currently responsible for the overall management of the Classification Unit.
The current Deputy Chief Censor is Rupert Ablett-Hampson. Rupert joined the Classification Office in October 2021, having previously held legal roles in private practice and most recently as chief legal advisor at the Ministry of Social Development.
The Classification Office team
The Classification Unit
The Classification Unit consists of three teams of Classification Advisors, each supervised by a Senior Classification Advisor. Classification Advisors examine films, games and other publications which are submitted for classification.
Classification Advisors are also responsible for registering a new classification decision, updating our public database, and producing written decisions outlining why a publication has received a particular classification. Some of these documents are required by law and may be used as evidence in court cases.
The Countering Violent Extremism Team
Convened in response to the March 15 terror attacks, the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) team provides specialist content knowledge and experience to the Classification Office.
The team has a focus on outreach with domestic and international CVE stakeholders. It conducts research tracking dangerous disinformation and its link with violent extremism and conspiracy theories. The CVE subject matter expertise is then used to inform classification decisions and Classification Office communications.
The Information Unit
The Information Unit deals with inquiries and complaints from members of the public, and other stakeholders such as the film industry, retailers, libraries and schools.
The Communications Manager is responsible for the Information Unit, and is also the Complaints Officer and Privacy Officer.
The Corporate Services Unit
The Corporate Services Unit provides administrative support - including reception, IT and technical services.
The Corporate Services Manager is responsible for human resources and is the Chief Financial Officer.
When job vacancies arise, we advertise on www.jobs.govt.nz.
When hiring Classification or Information Unit Advisors, the Classification Office generally looks for people with work experience, good writing skills, and a university degree. The job does not require a particular qualification.
The Classification Office looks for the ability to analyse material, and form opinions and arguments based on the provisions of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. These skills are often gained through study and work experience.
The Classification Office does not offer internships for classification unit or information unit positions.