20 Apr 2017

Now the Chief Censor’s office has weighed in on 13 Reasons Why

12:29 pm on 20 April 2017

Expect a decision on how it’s classified next week.



Katherine Langford plays Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why.

Katherine Langford plays Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why. Photo: Netflix

After the controversy around the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, the Chief Censor’s office is now looking at the series and expects to have a decision on its classification next week.

Deputy Chief Censor Jared Mullen told RNZ that Netflix had stopped submitting material to the censor's office ahead of releasing it for New Zealand audiences in August - probably based on government advice.

Classification for 13 Reasons would come nearly a month after the series was released.

The series, based on a 2007 novel with the same name, follows a character called Hannah Baker who leaves behind 13 tapes, one for each of the people she says caused her to end her life.

The series shows two graphic and detailed rape scenes, as well as an unspeakably grim three-minute scene of Hannah's death.

Mullen said classification was not just about restricting what people can see.

"It's actually about - much more about - information that supports New Zealand parents but also New Zealand youngsters to make responsible choices about what to watch.

"Netflix has labelled this 'adult' and that's misleading because it's not an adult show... It's a show that speaks very powerfully to mid-teens and older teens so it's not actually intended to appeal to adults - it's intended to appeal to that audience."

This was also a case where the situation in New Zealand could be a little different to elsewhere.

"I think the problem in New Zealand of course is we know that we do have one of the highest suicide rates in the OECD, so this is probably a particular problem that Netflix isn't used to in the other areas where it broadcasts."


Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757

Samaritans: 0800 726 666

Youthline: 0800 376 633  or email talk@youthline.co.nz

Healthline: 0800 611 116


Rape Crisis national helpline: 0800 88 33 00

HELP Auckland: 09 623 1700

HELP Wellington: 04 801 6655

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.