Classification labels

Age ratings and descriptive notes on classification labels provide people with information and warnings about films, shows and games. These help you make choices that are right for you and for your whānau.

How can labels help you?

Classification labels are issued by the Film and Video Labelling Body (FVLB) and are found on a range of materials. These labels help you decide what's right for you and your whānau to watch and play.

On the label is a classification symbol and usually a descriptive note indicating the type of content in a film or video game that may be of concern to the viewer - for example, whether the film contains violence or sex.

You will find the labels displayed in cinemas, on streaming platforms, on video and DVD cases, as part of film trailers and on advertising material such as posters and online listings, and in some cases, on magazines, books or music CDs.

You can also use our Find a Rating search to find a publication's classification details.


Unrestricted

Films with a G, PG or M rating can be sold, hired or shown to anyone. Most unrestricted films are not classified by the Classification Office before release, but if you disagree with a rating you should definitely let us know. For more information, see make a classification request.

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General audiences (G)

People of all ages can view these films and video games. There is no language, nudity, sex, violence or other matters that would upset tamariki.

M label.png

Parental guidance (PG)

Films and video games with a PG label can be sold, hired or shown to anyone. This means unaccompanied tamariki can watch but some scenes may be scary.

M label.png

Mature audiences (M)

Films and video games with an M label can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone but they are are more suitable for mature audiences. It’s a good idea to read the content warning.


Restricted

R means legally age-restricted. It is an offence to allow someone underage to watch or access restricted films and video games. RP means younger people can only watch with a parent or guardian.

Restrictions apply whether you are in a cinema or at home. Adults cannot give tamariki permission to watch restricted films or play restricted video games. Doing so can lead to a large fine – so if a cinema denies you access on account of age, they’re just doing their job.

If you disagree with any of our classification decisions, you can request a reconsideration.

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R13, R15, R16, and R18

It is illegal to sell, hire, show or give a film or video game with an age-restricted label to anyone under the age specified.

RP18 label.png

RP13, RP16, and RP18

A parent, shop or cinema is breaking the law if they allow children below these ages to access these films without adult supervision.

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Restricted (R)

R means that there is a special restriction. Refer to the words on the right of the label for the full conditions.


Streaming

Most streaming providers in the New Zealand market are legally required to display New Zealand ratings and classifications. These can be classifications as assessed by this office, ratings issued by the FVLB, or the provider’s own self-rating.

These labels look similar to the physical labels that audiences are already familiar with. This is to allow for flexibility with small screen formats and the many variations of provider platform displays, while balancing the need for labels to be immediately recognisable.

G label.png

General audiences (G)

People of all ages can view these films and video games. There is no language, nudity, sex, violence or other matters that would upset tamariki.

M - self rated

Mature audiences (M)

Content with an M rating is suitable for mature audiences. It’s also always a good idea to read the content warning.

16 - self rated

13, 16, and 18

The number on the label shows the lowest age the content is suitable for. It’s also always a good idea to read the content warning.


How do we classify content in New Zealand?

Age ratings and descriptive notes on classification labels provide people with information and warnings about films, shows and video games. These help you make choices that are right for you and for your kids.


Exemptions

Not all films need to be classified.

Exemptions cover any news and current affairs films, as well as documentaries. Films which are entirely of a religious, educational, scientific, political or historical nature, or that depict only travel, commercial advertisement, natural scenery or a recording of an event (e.g. a wedding) are also exempt. This list is not exhaustive and exemptions are not intended to be of a 'blanket' nature.

These exemptions don't apply to films that are likely to be age-restricted. Find out more about exemptions here.


What do age restrictions mean for me?

Download our brochure to find out more about what classification labels mean for you and your whānau.

Classification labels

(pdf, 747.7 KB)


People often ask

Are ‘M’ rated films age-restricted?

No. ‘M’ rated films indicate the content may be more suitable for older teens, but it is not a legal restriction.

What ID is accepted at cinemas and retailers?

Cinemas and retailers have their own policies around what forms of ID are acceptable when it comes to proving your age. School issued student IDs are usually sufficient, but it’s best to check with them beforehand.

What does the descriptive note on the label mean?

Descriptive notes are designed to help people when they are deciding whether to watch a film. The notes indicate whether there is content in a film such as offensive language, sex scenes, violence, cruelty or other potentially disturbing or offensive material. Please be aware that violence or offensive language, for example, will generally be stronger in a restricted film than an unrestricted film.

For more information about classification labels contact the Information Unit.

Can I take my baby to a restricted film?

No. It's illegal to take underage tamariki and babies to see age restricted films.

What are the rules for trailers played before films?

Cinemas should select age-appropriate trailers. Some trailers receive their own R-rating, making it against the law to show them before a film with a lower age restriction. Some trailers for R-rated films aren't legally age-restricted themselves, but we still recommend that these should not be shown before unrestricted movies.

Why are some films and games age-restricted?

Age restrictions protect rangatahi and tamariki from content that can be harmful or confusing for young minds.

Request or change a classification

Submit something to be classified, ask about getting a classification changed or request an exemption.