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Hutt Valley students become censors for a day

April 18, 2023

Media studies students from the Hutt Valley region recently came together to be censors for a day at a local cinema. It’s the first time Te Mana Whakaatu – Classification Office have been able to run the programme since 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re so excited to be able to once again offer students the opportunity to learn about and engage with the classification system in a meaningful and practical way,” Deputy Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson said.

Over 130 students attended the one-day event, held at The Hutt Pop-Up by Reading Cinemas in Lower Hutt. They learned about how classification decisions are made and then practically applied what they learned to a new release film. Hutt Valley students were shown Cocaine Bear, a new horror comedy by director Elizabeth Banks. Meaningful discussions and sharing helped the students reflect critically on the film, ultimately reaching a classification decision.

Pania Rolfe from Hutt Valley High School reflected on what she learned from the experience and how important classifications and content warnings are. “Acknowledge the ratings on movies and shows. They are there for a reason. People need to take that into consideration more.”

Rebecca McMillan Photography-20230321-Edward OSullivan

St Bernard's College student, Edward O'Sullivan | Photo credit: Rebecca McMillan

Edward O’Sullivan from St Bernard’s College said: “As a media student I’ve started watching stuff more critically. ... After this it’s going to interesting to watch different pieces of media and think about how swearing, blood, gore and other references might be censored in the future.”

Censor for a Day will also travel to the South Island during Term two. Up to six hundred students are expected to attend sessions in Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.

“We know from the feedback that this event is a valuable learning opportunity, giving students a unique insight into the world of film classification and teachers another way to kōrero about media literacy. The Office also benefits from having these conversations with young people about their views on censorship and how it affects them. We love that rangatahi are passionate about what they watch and create,” Mr Ablett-Hampson said.

Media contact: Maggie Tait, Communications Manager, 027 346 9570

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