New Zealand Movie Ratings
The Cinematograph-film Censor Act of 1916 was New Zealand's earliest attempt at classifying films for the general public. Those early attempts at censoring films concentrated heavily on wartime issues. With the passing of decades, film ratings in New Zealand became more focused on regulating sexually explicit videos and films.
In 1994, the New Zealand government combined the activities of print, film, and video classification and censorship into the Office of Film and Literature Classification. The movie ratings used in New Zealand are as follows:
|G||Suitable for General Audience.|
|PG||All ages admitted, Parental Guidance recommended. Possible descriptors: Violence; Coarse language; Sexual references; Offensive behaviour; Cruelty; Crime; Horror.|
|M||Suitable for Mature Audiences 16 and over (but still unrestricted). Possible descriptors: Anti-social behaviour; Horror scenes; Scenes of cruelty; Offensive language; Violence; Sex scenes; Violence and offensive language; Violence, offensive language and sex scenes.|
|R??||The OFLC can apply any age rating they deem suitable to their Restricted rating. For example, an R13 would be restricted to persons aged 13 and over. More examples...|
|R16||Restricted to 16 years of age and over. Possible descriptors: Offensive language; Violence; Sex scenes; Violence, offensive language and sex scenes.|
|R18||Restricted to 18 years of age and over. Possible descriptors: Graphic violence; Explicit sex scenes; Violence and sex scenes; Violence, offensive language and sex scenes.|
Note that the New Zealand classification office has the flexibility to designate any age they wish in their R rating. According to their information officer, Brenden Crocker, "R13" is becoming a more utilized restrictive rating.
As well, New Zealand ratings are color coded to give quick visual indication of the movie's suitabilty for children. Only the "G" rating receives a green sticker, while advisory ratings are printed on a yellow background and age restrictive ratings are red.
The process to determine New Zealand movie ratings begins at an organization called the Labeling Body. Here a three-step process is used to determine if a film falls into an unrestricted age category or a restricted one. First the body checks to see if a movie had a previous New Zealand rating prior to the creation of the Office of Film and Literature Classification. If it does, then the equivalent rating (using the newer classification system) is applied to the movie.
If the movie doesn't have a previous New Zealand rating, then the Labeling Body references the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification to see whether they have applied a rating to the title. If not, then the British Board of Film Classification is checked.
Assuming one of the two foreign boards have provided a rating, an age equivalent rating will be affixed to the film in New Zealand provided that the Australian or British board rated the movie in a non-restrictive category. If neither board has provided a rating, then the Labeling Body views the film.
If the Labeling Body determines the film falls into an unrestrictive level, they rate it accordingly. However, if one of the aforementioned foreign boards or the Labeling Body determines the film falls into an age restricted category, then the movie must be forwarded to the Classification Office.
At the Classification Office, publications (everything from film, video, and magazines, to t-shirts and playing cards) are submitted which likely contain sexual or violent content relating to crime, horror, or cruelty.
The Classification Office has 28 members, 5 of whom are part time.
The Classification Office
P.O. Box 1999
Wellington, New Zealand
20 Customhouse Quay
Wellington, New Zealand
Information extracted from New Zealand's OFLC website and interview with Information Officer Brenden Crocker.