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New Zealand's classification labels

Three images: boy in DVD store; person buying DVD; cinema audience

This page is about the New Zealand classification labels that must be displayed on films, DVDs and restricted-level games. It provides information about what the labels mean. For information about obtaining a classification label see How to submit films and games for classification.

What is a classification label?

Image of New Zealand G, PG and M labels
New Zealand Labels: G, PG and M

All labels have a classification symbol and usually a descriptive note indicating the type of content in a film or game that may be of concern to viewer – for example, whether the film contains violence or sex.

You will find the labels displayed:

Film labels are colour coded like a traffic light:

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What do the labels mean?

Unrestricted labels

Please note that most unrestricted films are not classified by the Classification Office before release, but if you disagree with a film’s G, PG or M rating you should definitely let us know. For more information, go to Inquiries and Complaints about classification .

New Zealand's unrestricted classification labels What the unrestricted labels mean
Image of G classification label

G -  Anyone can be shown or sold this. G films should have very low levels of things like frightening scenes. However, not all G level films are intended for family audiences and it is always a good idea to look at reviews and plot information before taking children to any film

Image of PG classification label

PG - Films and games with a PG label can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. The PG label means guidance from a parent or guardian is recommended for younger viewers. It is important to remember that PG films can be aimed at an adult audience and to be aware of the content of a film if you are taking children to it

Image of M classification label

M - Films and games with an M label can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. Films with an M label are more suitable for mature audiences. When considering whether to let a child see an M-rated film, it’s a good idea to find out what the film is about – and to always remember to check the descriptive note. Read an article on what the M labels means

Restricted labels

Red means restricted: it is illegal to sell, hire, show or give a restricted (red labelled) film or game to anyone under the age shown on the label (unless an exception is stated on the label).

Restrictions apply in cinemas, at home and at school. Adults cannot give children permission to watch restricted films, or play restricted games.

All films and games with red restricted labels have been classified by the Classification Office before release. If you disagree with a classification, please contact us and let us know. For more information, go to Inquiries and Complaints about classification .

New Zealand's restricted classification labels What the restricted label means
Image of R13 classification label
Image of R15 classification label
Image of R16 classification label
Image of R18 classification label
Red means restricted
R(age): It is illegal to sell, hire, show or give a film or game with an age restricted label to anyone under the age specified. If something has one of these labels it can only be supplied to people of and over the age shown on the label. A parent, shop or cinema is breaking the law if they supply an age-restricted item to someone who is not legally allowed to access it. You will see these labels on films, games, DVDs and a few music recordings, magazines and books.
Image of RP13 classification label
Image of RP16 classification label
RP(age): The RP label means that the film or DVD can only be watched by someone under the age on the label if they are with a parent or guardian (an adult over 18). You will see these labels on films and DVDs. A parent, shop or cinema is breaking the law if they allow unaccompanied children to access these films.
Image of R classification label R means that there is a special restriction. Refer to the words on the right of the label for the full conditions.

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Other publications

Sometimes publications other than films and games are submitted to the Classification Office for classification. These publications can be given labels and display restrictions just like a film or game. Red restricted labels have been available for restricted non-film publications such as magazines since 2005.

Distributors sometimes assign their own labels to these publications to warn consumers of content. These labels are not allowed to resemble official classification labels and do not mean that a publication has been classified.

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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.

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