History of book censorship
Printed material has been subject to censorship for decades in all parts of the world. New Zealand has its own history of book censorship – interestingly, some books which were banned in other countries were classified in New Zealand as unrestriced, meaning anyone could access them.
Here are a few key dates in New Zealand's history of book censorship:
- In 1858 the first laws controlling what publications could be brought into New Zealand were passed.
- The first censorship legislation was passed in 1892, followed by various censorship Acts.
- In 1963 the Indecent Publications Act was passed. This established the Indecent Publications Tribunal (IPT) to classify printed material and sound recordings. Distributors had to submit all restricted level magazines, books and sound recordings to the IPT before they could be marketed.
In 1994 the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 came into force. This repealed the Indecent Publications Act. The new Act established the Office of Film and Literature Classification to replace the Indecent Publications Tribunal and the system of requiring all books and magazines to be 'pre-censored' was dropped. Decisions of the IPT remain in force unless replaced by a later classification decision.
want to know more book censorship history?
In 2010 the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) held their centennial conference – one the of the themes of the conference was looking back over the past. The Classification Office presented a paper at this conference which gave an overview of how censorship has worked in relation to books over the past 100 years or so.
Read the paper on the history of book censorship that was given at the 2010 LIANZA conference (PDF, v9.0, 336KB)
Check out the history timeline quickfind