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What does R13 mean?

Posted on 03 March 2016 by Henry (updated post)

This page tells you about what the R13 label means, answering the following points and questions:

If you need more information please feel free to contact our Information Unit.

R13 classification label

When you see an R13 label on a film, DVD, game or book, it means there is a legal age restriction in place on that publication. It is an offence under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 to supply an R13 item to anyone under 13.

In cinemas this means entry must be refused to anyone under the age of 13. In DVD and game rental/retail stores and libraries, R13 items cannot be sold or lent to anyone under age 13. They also cannot be sold or lent to parents if the parent intends to supply the item to an under 13 year-old.

Many cinemas and retailers will require proof-of-age ID for R13 films, DVDs and games. A parent vouching for their child's age may not be considered enough proof-of-age by some places.

Example page of our Plain English Guide
Example page of our Plain English Guide to the Offence Provisions

Useful links

Can you give under-13s permission?

Can anyone give a person under 13 years old permission to watch or play something classified R13?

No. Parents, caregivers or teachers cannot give permission for under 13s to watch or play R13 films or games. If a teacher or community group wants to show an R13 film to people under 13, they will need to apply to the Chief Censor for an exemption from the R13 classification under section 44 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

Section 44 exemptions

Useful links

What makes something R13?

Films, TV shows, games or books classified R13 will contain one or more of the classification criteria (such as sex, horror, crime, cruelty, violence, offensive language or self-harm) in a way that is likely to be harmful to the public good if made available to people under 13. The descriptive note on the label (for example 'contains offensive language, drug use and adult themes') will give you an idea of potentially offensive or disturbing content in the film.

Are all R13s okay for all 13 year-olds?

The R13 classification is not a statement of age-suitability. Just as many films classified G, PG or M are not made for children or young teens, R13 films may be made for a range of different target audiences. It is important to look at the descriptive note on the film, and at reviews and websites like the Internet Movie Database to get an idea of content suitability.

What about RP13 films?

When you see an RP13 label, it means that people under the age of 13 can only watch the film or DVD with an adult. An RP13 classification means the Classification Office has determined that adult support will help an under-13 put material in the film (such as sex or violence) into context and mitigate the potential harm of the child seeing the film. RP13 labels are not as common as R13 labels.

Blog post: What does RP mean?

Useful links

Recent films and games classified R13

  • Ex Machina - R13: nudity, offensive language, sexual material and content that may disturb
  • Vacation - R13: sexual themes
  • Halo 5 Guardians - R13: violence
  • Dark Souls III - R13: Violence and horror scenes
  • Krampus - R13: violence, offensive language and content that may disturb

For more information about the classification system contact our Information Unit

Henry works in the Information Unit at the NZ Office of Film and Literature Classification. His views do not represent those of the Chief Censor or of the Classification Office. The Information Unit provides information to other staff, to the public, and to industry members - they are not involved in assigning classifications. Keep up with our blog posts by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Film poster advertising for the film Ex Machina
The film Ex Machina is classified R13 with the descriptive note "Nudity, offensive language, sexual material and content that may disturb"

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