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What does RP mean?

Posted on 20 July 2017 by Henry (updated post)

RP labels aren't used very often, so why do we use them and what do they mean?

You will sometimes see an RP13, RP16 or RP18 classification label on entertainment media like a movie or show (for example a series on Netflix or on DVD). An RP classification means that someone under the specified age must be supervised by a parent or guardian when viewing entertainment media. A guardian is considered to be a responsible adult (18 years and over), for example a family member or teacher who can provide guidance.

At a cinema, a person under the age specified in the classification label cannot go to a see a movie unless they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian. For example, a 10 year-old can only go to see an RP13 movie if a parent or guardian views the movie with them.

At a store, it’s illegal to hire or sell DVDs/Blu-rays to people under the age on the label unless they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Guidance for parents and guardians

Movies or shows with an RP label will contain storylines and subject matter that is targeted at a mature audience. When deciding whether a child or young person in your care should see a movie or series with an RP classification, take note of the age and the descriptive note/content warning on the label. Remember that an RP18 movie will have stronger content than an RP16, and an RP16 movie will have stronger content than an RP13.

If your child or teen is viewing an RP movie or series at home we recommend that you view the content alongside them. However in some cases this might not be possible, and older teens in particular may be uncomfortable viewing some types of content with you. If you can’t view something with them, it is ok to view it separately. What’s essential is that you are aware that your child or teen is watching the movie or show, and that you watch it at the same time (or ahead of) them. Most importantly, you need to talk through the issues covered in the movie or show.

If your students are viewing an RP movie or series as part of their studies we recommend that you view the content alongside them in class.

If a person under the age on the RP classification is viewing entertainment media, your role is to help them understand the context, themes and material presented - giving them an opportunity to think about and discuss any issues the movie or show has raised for them. Your guidance and support will mitigate the potential harm of the child or teen seeing the movie or show, which may contain challenging content.

As with all classification labels, it is a good idea to read the descriptive note/content warning that accompanies the classification. This will give you an idea of the content in a movie that might be challenging, disturbing or offensive. Content in an RP movie may include things like violence, sexual references, offensive language, drug use and suicide.

Written classification decisions on RP films are available upon request from the Classification Office. Please contact the Information Unit if you would like to obtain a copy of a classification decision.

Recent films and games classified RP13, RP16, or RP18

  • To The Bone - RP16: shows realistic, harmful behaviour with risk of imitation
  • 6 Days - RP13: violence and offensive language
  • 13 Reasons Why - RP18: series deals with suicide, bullying and depression. Episodes may contain violence, sexual material, drug use, and frequent offensive language. Some episodes contain graphic depictions of suicide and rape
  • Rangoon - RP13: violence, drug use and content that may disturb
  • The Front Line - RP16: violence and offensive language
  • Hero - RP13: violence
  • The Mermaid - RP13: violence, sexual references and content that may disturb
  • Son Of Saul - RP16: violence, cruelty and content may disturb
  • Orphans And Kingdoms - RP16: violence, offensive language, nudity, drug use and suicide

For more information about the classification system, contact our Information Unit.

Henry works at the NZ Office of Film and Literature Classification. His views do not necessarily represent those of the Chief Censor or of the Classification Office. Keep up with our blog posts by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Film poster advertising for the series 13 Reasons Why
The online series 13 Reasons Why has been issued the first ever RP18 classification


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