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Research

Research informs the classification process

It is important that the Classification Office is informed about any developments or changes in how people use and feel about entertainment media like films and games, so that the classification decisions we make match the context we're working in. Research is also a way for the Classification Office to get feedback on the classification system, and identify what New Zealanders think works and what could be improved.

Research by the Classification Office

Here is just some of the research the Classification Office has produced. Click on a research title to jump down to the summary:

You can find the full set of research reports dating back to 2001 on the Research page of the main website. 

Research summaries

cover of our research report, Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence

Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence (November 2016/April 2017/July 2017)

Our research and consultation project explores the effects of viewing sexual violence in mainstream commercial media such as movies, TV shows and games. Stage 1 of the research involved a number of focus groups with teenagers, and Stage 2 involved participants from 20 different organisations including NGOs, government officials, academics and others.

Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence - Stage 1, November 2016 (PDF, 970KB)

Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence - Stage 2, April 2017 (PDF, 969KB)

Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence - Stage 3, July 2017 (PDF, 1.01MB)

Cover of our report, Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views

Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' Views (June 2016)

We commissioned Colmar Brunton to carry out a survey of the public's views about, and understanding of, the classification system - and about New Zealanders' changing media use habits. This representative survey of 1,000 people found that New Zealanders continue to have a high level of trust in the classification system, despite a rapidly changing entertainment media environment. This research follows on from similar research conducted in 2006 and 2011.

Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders' views (2016) (PDF, 1.33MB)

Family Guy game

Comparing Classifications: feature films and video games 2012 & 2013 (October 2014)

This analysis compares the classifications assigned to films and games by different countries. Classifications around the world can be substantially variable as are the symbols, names and meanings used on classification labels. It is interesting to find out what is similar and what is different between New Zealand's classification system and those of other countries.

Comparing Classifications: feature films and video games 2012 & 2013 (PDF, 2.14MB)

Young people watching a movie

Survey of Young People's Perceptions of the Classification System (November 2013)

The survey presents the results of an online survey of 507 New Zealanders aged 16 to 18, in which respondents were asked about their perceptions and use of the classification system for films and games. The survey findings indicate that young New Zealanders are accepting of the idea of having restrictions on certain films and games, both for themselves and for those younger than them.

Young People's Perceptions of Media Content: A Literature Review (PDF, 1.1MB)

Survey of Young People's Perceptions of the Classification System (PDF, 1.43MB)

Young people watching a movie

Young People's Perceptions of the Classification System and Potential Harms from Media Content: Discussion Group Findings (November 2013)

In discussion groups, young people also told us that although they feel they are on the whole mature enough to handle most types of content, they want to be able to make informed choices about films and games in order to view or avoid certain content. Young people also mentioned being disturbed by content they had seen prior to being old enough to handle it and expressed a desire for some kind of warning about content in films both for themselves and for those younger than them.

Young People's Perceptions of the Classification System and Potential Harms from Media Content: Discussion Group Findings (PDF, 1.21MB)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film poster

Guidance and Protection: What New Zealanders want from the classification system for films and games (July 2011)

This qualitative study presents the views of 23 participants who told us their thoughts on the current classification system, how they use it in making decisions about films and games for themselves and young people, and what their ideal classification system would look like. The study expands qualitatively on the findings of a major survey: Understanding the Classification System - New Zealanders' Views, published in June 2011

Guidance and Protection: What New Zealanders want from the classification system for films and games (PDF, 660KB)

Wolverine artwork

Public Perceptions of a Violent Video Game X-Men Origins: Wolverine (August 2009)

The Classification Office commissioned market research company UMR to recruit 24 members of the public aged 18 and over to participate in two focus groups. These groups explored game-player and non-game-player levels of comfort with violence in games, and perceptions of the classification system in relation to games. The research probed participants' feelings about young people having access to violent games.

Evaluation of a Violent Video Game: Perception Analyser Research report (PDF, 3.11MB)

Public Perceptions of a Violent Video Game X-Men Origins: Wolverine focus group findings (PDF, 488KB)

Sin City film poster

Viewing Violence: Audience Perceptions of Violent Content in Audio-Visual Entertainment (November 2008)

This is a joint research project by the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Office of Film and Literature Classification. In this research, carried out by Colmar Brunton, focus groups, individual interviews and online bulletin boards were used with New Zealand adults and teenagers to explore their tolerance for and levels of comfort/discomfort with depictions of violence in audio-visual entertainment. Participants viewed short clips which depicted different types of violence in a variety of contexts.

Viewing Violence: Audience Perceptions of Violent Content in Audio-Visual Entertainment (PDF, 1.79MB)

Once Were Warriors film poster

Public Perceptions of Highly Offensive Language (November 2007)

In 2005 the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 was updated to empower the Office of Film and Literature Classification to restrict, but not ban, material containing 'highly offensive language'. Highly offensive language is defined in the Act as language that is 'highly offensive to the public in general'. The Office and UMR Research conducted this research to better understand public views of what constitutes highly offensive language, the factors that influence those views and the possible harm done by offensive language. Eight discussion groups were held in Auckland in April 2007, where participants were shown eight short film clips, selected by the Office, and asked for their views on the offensive language in each clip.

Public Perceptions of Highly Offensive Language (PDF, 3.37MB)

Charts and graphs