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What the classification symbols mean

Films supplied to the public in New Zealand must display NZ classification information.

Classification information is displayed in cinemas, on DVDs and Blu-rays, on film advertising material and trailers, and on services providing movies and TV shows for streaming or download. Physical things like DVDs have to have classification labels like the ones below displayed on their cases, but websites or apps sometimes display the classification symbol and descriptive note in different ways. A classification on a movie, TV series or game means the same thing wherever you see it.

Classification labels

Colour-coding

Classification symbols are colour coded like traffic lights.

GREEN
means that anyone can view. There shouldn't be any content which is inappropriate or likely to be upsetting, even for young children.
YELLOW
means that anyone can view, but there might be content like violence, offensive language or sexual material, which might upset some people, or be inappropriate or frightening for children.
RED
means restricted. Content like violence, offensive language, or sexual material may have a harmful impact on children and young people. It is illegal to give an underage person access to something with a restricted classification.

In addition to a classification symbol there is usually a descriptive note briefly explaining the nature of content that might concern viewers, for example, whether a movie, TV series or game contains violence or sex.

Green, yellow and red classification labels
Green, yellow and red classification labels

Do only films and games require labels?

Learn what kinds of publications we classify and which ones need to carry labels.

Unrestricted classifications

A movie, TV series or game with an unrestricted classification can be made available to anyone - and the different classification symbols give people an idea of the suitability of content for different age groups.

G classification label

G - suitable for general audiences

Anyone can be shown or sold this. Movies, TV shows and games classified G should have very low levels of things like frightening scenes. However, not all G titles are intended for family audiences so it is always a good idea to look at reviews and plot information.

PG classification label

PG - parental guidance recommended for younger viewers

Movies, TV shows and games with a PG classification can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. It's important to remember that PG titles can be aimed at an adult audience.

M classification label

M - suitable for mature audiences 16 years and over

Movies, TV shows and games with an M classification can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. When considering whether to let a child watch or play something classified M it's a good idea to find out what the title is about - and to always remember to check the descriptive note.

Restricted classifications

The Classification Office can classify according to age or purpose, or restrict a film or game's availability to a particular audience. The following classifications are common:

R13 classification label

R13 - restricted to people 13 years and over

It is illegal for anyone to show or sell this to someone under 13 years of age.

R15 classification label

R15 - restricted to people 15 years and over

It is illegal for anyone to show or sell this to someone under 15 years of age.

R16 classification label

R16 - restricted to people 16 years and over

It is illegal for anyone to show or sell this to someone under 16 years of age.

R18 classification label

R18 - restricted to people 18 years and over

It is illegal for anyone to show or sell this to someone under 18 years of age.

RP13 classification label

RP13 - restricted to people 13 years and over unless accompanied by a parent/guardian

It is illegal to show or sell this to someone under under 13 years of age unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

RP16 classification

RP16 - restricted to people 16 years and over unless accompanied by a parent/guardian

It is illegal to show or sell this to someone under under 16 years of age unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

RP18 label

RP18 restricted to people 18 years and over unless accompanied by a parent/guardian

It is illegal to show or sell this to someone under under 18 years of age unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Classification label posters

Classification poster showing the various labels - all the information on this poster can be found within the content on this page

Information explaining the meaning of classifications must be displayed in places where movies or games are supplied or exhibited to the public.

We provide posters with this information on request, and you can see them or something like them in stores and cinemas across New Zealand.

Glossary

Classification
A legal statement about who can have access to a publication. A classification can make a publication unrestricted (G, PG, M), restricted (RP or R), or objectionable (banned).
TV series
We classify content that is made available on DVD/Blu-ray video or online (but not broadcast television).