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Latest news

Check out the latest classification news, events and topics from the Classification Office

This section includes our media releases, news articles on various topics related to classification, information about our latest research, details of submissions we've made, resources and useful PDFs.

Closeup of newspaper headline reading 'Latest News'

News item: 13 Reasons Why Season 2 Episode Guide

18 May 2018

Young people know the issues in 13 Reasons Why are also issues in Aotearoa. They’re already talking with each other about many of the themes in 13 Reasons Why, including suicide, rape, drug use and bullying. It’s important for adults to join those conversations to provide guidance and support if our young people need it.

Although it can feel hard to kōrero about the tough stuff, it’s important that we can all have safe, open, honest and compassionate kōrero about these difficult issues so our rangatahi feel heard, supported and understood.

Let them know you are there to kōrero whenever they are ready. They might not be ready right now – that’s OK. Keep checking in, and make sure they know of a number of different people and places they can turn to.

News item: 13 Reasons Why Season 2 Episode Guide

Clay wears headphones and stands in front of Hannah's decorated locker

Media release: Chief Censor applies RP18 classification to 13 Reasons Why Season 2

16 May 2018

The Chief Censor David Shanks warns parents and caregivers of vulnerable children and teenagers to be prepared for the release of Netflix’s Season 2 release of 13 Reasons Why scheduled to screen this week on Friday, May 18, at 7pm.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification consulted with the Mental Health Foundation in classifying 13 Reasons Why: Season 2 as RP18 with a warning that it contains rape, suicide themes, drug use, and bullying.

“There is a strong focus on rape and suicide in Season 2, as there was in Season 1. We have told Netflix it is really important to warn NZ audiences about that,” says David.

“Rape is an ugly word for an ugly act. But young New Zealanders have told us that if a series contains rape – they want to know beforehand.”

Media release: Chief Censor applies RP18 classification to 13 Reasons Why Season 2

13 Reasons Why Season 2 poster

News item: Challenging media

09 April 2018

This guide is for parents with teenagers. It has practical advice to help you:

  1. Share and talk about entertainment media with your teen
  2. Encourage them to think critically about what they view
  3. Talk about sensitive or complex issues
  4. Support your teen if they’re distressed by something they’ve watched

You can’t control everything young people see, but you can build their confidence by giving them tools to help deal with challenging media.

News item: Challenging media

Two people sit on a park bench. They wear matching jeans and shoes. The young woman, on the left, is looking to her right. The young man, on the right, is looking at his phone.

Media release: It's not everyone's fiction

09 March 2018

‘It’s not everyone’s fiction. Be careful what you share.’

That’s the message two 15-year-old Wellington filmmakers, Finn Culver and Grace Medlicott, want everybody to take notice of in a new social media film they’ve created on behalf of the Classification Office.

The short film, which Grace produced and Finn directed, focuses on the ways that personal experiences shape individual responses to media – and what’s ok for one person might not automatically be ok for another. Grace describes it as “centering on the… idea that somebody wants their friend to watch something that they are not comfortable watching.”

The new film is part of our ‘Minds Over Media’ campaign encouraging young people to ‘Watch carefully – think critically’ when consuming entertainment media.

Media release: It's not everyone's fiction

Still from the short film

News item: Surviving and thriving in the digital age

07 December 2017

Our Briefing to the Incoming Minister, the Honourable Tracey Martin, presents the key classification and resilience challenges facing New Zealanders in this digital age, and our plans to address these through a radically revised approach.

We've summarised some of our thoughts from the Briefing in this post.

News item: Surviving and thriving in the digital age

Cover of our Briefing to the Incoming Minister, the Hon Tracey Martin

Media release: Parents 'need to know' about new Netflix release To The Bone

13 July 2017

New Zealand’s Chief Censor has just released an official classification and warning for the new Netflix movie, To The Bone, which launches here on Netflix today.

The film is about eating disorders and focuses on a 20-year-old woman played by Lily Collins as she struggles to overcome a long-term, near fatal case of anorexia. After consulting with frontline experts on eating disorders, the Classification Office has applied an RP16 classification, with an accompanying note “shows realistic, harmful behaviour with risk of imitation”.

Media release: Parents 'need to know' about new Netflix release To The Bone

To The Bone

Research: Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence - Stage 3

04 July 2017

This report is the third and final component of a wider Classification Office research project that seeks to fill the identified gap in current research by giving young New Zealanders, frontline agencies, and sexual violence experts a voice to describe the effects of depictions of sexual violence in mainstream entertainment media.

This phase of the research involved 24 paired interviews with 48 young people aged 13 to 18 from around New Zealand. 

Research: Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence - Stage 3

Cover of stage three of our research report, Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence

Blog post: What does 'RP' mean?

02 May 2017 (updated post)

The RP classification label is not used very often and many people are unfamiliar with its meaning. This page explains what the RP13 and RP16 classification labels mean.

Blog post: What does 'RP' mean?

RP13 classification label

Media release: Censor - guidance essential for teens watching 13 Reasons Why

27 April 2017

The Classification Office has created a new RP18 rating specifically for the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. The classification recognises that teens are watching and will continue to watch the series, while signalling the strong content and emphasising the essential role of parents and caregivers in discussing this material with young people in their care.

Media release: Censor - guidance essential for teens watching 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why poster

Research: Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence - Stage 2

12 April 2017

This report is the second component of our research and consultation project exploring the effects on young people of viewing sexual violence in mainstream commercial media such as movies, TV shows, and games. This phase of the research involved 46 participants from 20 different organisations including NGOs, government officials, academics and others.

Research: Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence - Stage 2

Cover of our research report - Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence Stage 2

Research: Children and teen exposure to media content

03 February 2017

The Classification Office commissioned UMR to survey New Zealanders about media content. Results indicate there is widespread public concern about content such as sex and violence in entertainment media, particularly amongst parents. The representative survey of 1000 adult New Zealanders also identified a number of specific harms relating to young people’s exposure to this content. The results support previous research showing the importance of classifications for making wise viewing choices.

Research: Children and teen exposure to media content

Cover of our research report - Children and teen exposure to media content

Media release: Chief Censor publishes research about sexual violence in media

30 November 2016

For the past few months, the Classification Office has been providing a service on our public website for people to check whether the free to air television shows that they wish to watch have previously been given an official rating or classification. In the process of compiling this information, the Classification Office became concerned about a couple of instances of potentially harmful, violent and/or sexual material displayed on free to air television at times and in ways that appeared to contravene broadcasting standards.

This page explains the concerns of the Classification Office and the outcome of the broadcasting complaints process.

Media release: Chief Censor publishes research about sexual violence in media

Cover of our research report - Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence

Research: Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence

30 November 2016

This report is the first component of our research and consultation project exploring the effects of viewing sexual violence in mainstream commercial media such as movies, TV shows and games. In early 2016 Colmar Brunton held a number of focus groups with teenagers and this is a full report of findings. The research is unique in that it addresses young people's own understandings of sexual violence in media entertainment.

Media release: Chief Censor publishes research about sexual violence in media

Research: Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence

Cover of our report on Young New Zealanders viewing sexual violence

Media release: R18 for Don't Breathe upheld on review

22 September 2016

The Film and Literature Board of Review has today upheld the Chief Censor's R18 classification of the film Don't Breathe, due to hit cinemas this week. The classification also carries the warning "Contains violence, sexual violence and offensive language".

Chief Censor Dr Andrew Jack welcomes the Board of Review decision, stating that it helps increase New Zealanders’ awareness of violent entertainment and supports their right to choose what they and their families are exposed to. Dr Jack says the Classification Office is viewing an increasing amount of horrific and gratuitous sexual violence in mainstream entertainment targeting young people.

Media release: R18 for Don't Breathe upheld on review

Don't Breathe film poster

News item: Recent complaints about violence and sexual material on free to air television

29 August 2016 (updated post)

For the past few months, the Classification Office has been providing a service on our public website for people to check whether the free to air television shows that they wish to watch have previously been given an official rating or classification. In the process of compiling this information, the Classification Office became concerned about a couple of instances of potentially harmful, violent and/or sexual material displayed on free to air television at times and in ways that appeared to contravene broadcasting standards.

This page explains the concerns of the Classification Office and the outcome of the broadcasting complaints process.

News item: Recent complaints about violence and sexual material on free to air television

Man holding a remote control watching television

Media release: Classification Office to consult with community about sexual violence in entertainment media

06 July 2016

This media release is about our upcoming research into young people's views about depictions of sexual violence in movies, shows and games.

The first part of the qualitative research involved focus groups with teenagers, conducted by Colmar Brunton. A report on the findings from this initial survey is expected to be released in the coming months.

Media release: Classification Office to consult with community about sexual violence in entertainment media

stylised image of people talking around a table

Media release: Chief Censor releases comprehensive survey of media use in New Zealand

01 July 2016

This media release accompanied the publication of our survey about media use and perceptions of the classification system. Research shows that the classifications currently used for films, videos, and other publications are trusted, reliable, and preferred by New Zealanders for a platform neutral classification system of the future.

Media release: Chief Censor releases comprehensive survey of media use in New Zealand

Cover of our research report - Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views

Research: Changing media use and public perceptions of the classification system

30 June 2016

We commissioned Colmar Brunton to carry out a survey of the public's views about, and understanding of, the classification system - and about New Zealanders' changing media use habits. This representative survey of 1,000 people found that New Zealanders continue to have a high level of trust in the classification system, despite a rapidly changing entertainment media environment. This research follows on from similar research conducted in 2006 and 2011.

Research: Changing media use and public perceptions of the classification system

Cover of our research report - Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views

Featured decision: The Office has classified a number of Wicked campervans

09 June 2016 (updated post)

The Classification Office has classified nine Wicked campervans so far. Five have been classified as Objectionable - this means it is illegal for anyone to supply, own, or possess the vans in New Zealand. Four have been classified as Unrestricted.

Featured decision: The Office has classified a number of Wicked campervans

Wicked Camper, showing artwork

Blog post: What does R13 mean?

03 March 2016 (updated post)

Recently there have been a few films and games released with R13 classifications. This page explains what the R13 classification means.

Blog post: What does R13 mean?

R13 classification label

Research: New Zealanders want one classification system for movies, TV shows and games

29 February 2016

The Government is currently undertaking a review of content classification in New Zealand, with one potential outcome being that all content could use the same set of content warnings or classifications in the future, regardless of format or medium. Results of recent research by UMR commissioned by the Classification Office indicate there is widespread public support for one classification system for all entertainment content.

Research: New Zealanders want one classification system for movies, TV shows and games

1950s family watching TV

Research: Attitudes towards classification labels - 2015

01 December 2015

It's important for the Classification Office to keep up to date with how New Zealanders think about and use the classification system. This is why we asked UMR Research to include some questions from us in their October 2015 Online Omnibus survey. A representative sample of 1000 New Zealanders 18 years of age and over participated in the survey.

We asked how people are guided by restricted classifications when making viewing choices. We also asked if people would like to see these classification labels on TV. There was wide support for this.

Research: Attitudes towards classification labels - 2015

Restricted classification labels on DVDs

News item: Submission on the Government discussion paper Content Regulation in a Converged World

16 October 2015

The Classification Office has made a submission in response to the Government's discussion document Content Regulation in a Converged World (published on 25 August, 2015).

The Classification Office submission - Balancing Freedom of Expression with Public Safety in a Digital Age - sets out the essential elements of a more modern regulatory regime for entertainment and information and suggests areas where changes to the current regulatory arrangements may be required in both the short and longer term.

News item: Submission on the Government discussion paper Content Regulation in a Converged World

Cover of OFLC submission on media convergence

Blog post: We've launched our new website for students

22 July 2015

Providing quality, relevant and updated content for students has long been a focus of ours. Students and young people generally are some of our most important stakeholders - they're big consumers of entertainment media and are directly affected by our classification decisions in a way that adults aren't. We try to do as much as we can to help young people understand the system, and also to encourage them to comply with classifications when choosing content for themselves and people younger than them.

Visit the website

Blog post: We've launched our new website for students

Students' website homepage

Blog post: What does 'M' mean?

20 May 2015 (updated post)

It's one of our most frequently-asked questions, so we've written a blog post that we update regularly. The M label on films and DVDs - explained.

A movie, TV series or a game with an M rating can be sold or supplied to anyone. It is an unrestricted classification. This page explains what the M rating means using M movies as an example. It is important to remember that M means the same thing whether it's on a cinema film, a DVD, an online movie, a game, or an online television episode. The M rating indicates that the movie is more suited to a mature audience.

Blog post: What does 'M' mean?

M label on DVD

Page: Plain English Guide to the Offence Provisions updated

14 May 2015

We have updated our Plain English Guide to the Offence Provisions to incorporate recent amendments to the Classification Act.

Page: Plain English Guide to the Offence Provisions updated

plain-english-guide-to-the-offence-provisions.pdf

News item: Our video Public Service Announcements

01 August 2014

A library of PSAs produced by the Classification Office on video.

Videos include:

  • Wise Choices for the school holidays
  • Wise Choices for that special someone
  • Wise Choices for your teenage gamers
  • Wise Choices for you and your bros
  • Wise Choices for the whole family
  • Red Means Restricted cinema ad

News item: Our video Public Service Announcements

Old-fashioned TV with 'PSA' on the screen

Media release: Young People's Perceptions research

04 November 2013

Chief Censor Andrew Jack spoke in support of research published by his office this week that found that many young New Zealanders are critical of the system of legal restrictions operating in this country for films and games.

The research was conducted with the assistance of Colmar Brunton Social Research Agency and is freely available on our research page.

Media release: Young People's Perceptions research

Cover of Survey of Young People's Perceptions of the Classification System

News item: Resources for retailers and cinema operators

01 November 2013

We have distributed 1,000 posters of the Red Means Restricted flyer for retailers and cinemas to display at the point-of-sale to assist customer understanding of legal restrictions on games and films.

News item: Resources for retailers and cinema operators

A cinema audience

News item: 2012 changes to the Classification Act

02 October 2012

From 1 October 2012 there are several changes to the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, and the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Regulations 1994. Read about them in this article.

News item: 2012 changes to the Classification Act

Cover of the Classification Act

Research: Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views

24 June 2011

In June 2006 the Classification Office published a new research report. Aspects of the research may be of particular interest to parents of children and young people, members of the entertainment industry, government departments and media students. This new research shows that the public remain supportive of the classification system, and value the services provided by the Classification Office.

Research: Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views

Cover image of the report 'Understanding the classification system: New Zealanders' views

News item: Historical Records Database project

20 December 2010

Classification decisions are legally binding unless superseded by a new decision from the Classification Office. They are also a matter of public record, and the Classification Office wants to make them publically accessible. In a project begun in September 2009 the Classification Office has been adding and updating records from the registers of the old Office of the Chief Censor of Films (CCF) in order to achieve this aim. When this work is completed, New Zealand will have a complete censorship database dating back to the 1920s.

News item: Historical Records Database project

Archive shelving