How to manage your DVD collection

If your library stocks DVDs it is important you know the rules about supplying them.

Here are the basics: 

  • You need to have your DVDs labelled with the correct New Zealand classification label.
  • If you lend out DVDs you must display a label poster that explains the classification symbols.The Classification Office can send you the required poster to display (available in A3 and A2 size), free of charge. If you need a poster, please contact the Information Unit.
  • Unrestricted DVDs have green or yellow labels (anyone can see these DVDs). A red label on a DVD means there is a legal restriction on whom it can be supplied to.
  • It is illegal to supply a restricted DVD to anyone under the age on the label. It is also illegal to supply a restricted DVD to someone you believe will pass it on to someone underage.
  • If borrowers or staff have queries about who can see or borrow restricted material, please get them to contact our Information Unit.

Getting film labels

Labels can be obtained from The Film and Video Labelling Body.

Films, DVDs and (restricted) games must be labelled with New Zealand film labels before they can be supplied in New Zealand. There are a few exceptions to the labelling rule, for films such as unrestricted documentaries.

  • Labels need to be fixed to the front cover of the DVD case and should cover up any overseas labels.
  • When you buy a DVD from a New Zealand supplier, it should already be labelled with a New Zealand classification label.
  • If you purchase a DVD from overseas, you will need to get it labelled before you can lend it out.
  • If the label is attached to the plastic shrink wrap on a DVD, you will need to transfer the label to the cover of DVD itself before lending it.
  • Some box sets have a rating that applies to the set as a whole. However, in some box sets each disc has a different rating or classification. In these cases only the highest level label will be shown on the outside of the box. If you intend to loan box set discs individually, you will need to check with the Film and Video Labelling Body if the discs have been classified separately or as a set, and obtain the appropriate labels.
  • DVDs that accompany books also need to be labelled.
  • You can see what labels DVD titles will need to display by searching the Film and Video Labelling Body's website. If you can't find information on a title you are interested in, contact our Information Unit.

Types of films exempt from labelling requirements

Some types of films and games are exempted from labelling requirements. It is important to note that while some films may fall into one of the exempt categories (such as 'documentary') the exemption does not apply if the film contains material that is likely to be restricted.

The Classification Office and the Film and Video Labelling Body do not have power to grant an exemption from labelling. It is up to the person or organisation making the DVDs available to the public to determine whether they think the DVDs meet the exemption requirements under section 8 of the Classification Act. There's more info about exemptions in the Industry section.

For more information, contact our Information Unit.

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