Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa
Te Rau Herenga O Aotearoa

LIANZA's Response to Into the River Ban

The Board of Review has taken the extraordinary step of instating an interim restriction order for access to Into The River by Ted Dawe. An 'interim restriction order' has never been issued for a book before and seems disproportionate to the risk while the Board considers a rating review. The review is likely to happen in October.

For more background on Into the River's rating journey.  

There are two library relevant issues in this situation:

1. The interim restriction order which means that noone can borrow or lend it until the Board of Review meets to discuss it. Even purchasing the title from overseas is risky because the decision is still to be made. According to this post an individual may apply to the Board to have the interim restriction lifted  "if one is "a person ... detrimentally affected by the existence of the order". It also includes relevant information on why the interim ban was invoked.

2. The seeking to have the book rated again after the censor clearly stated the reasons that the R14 rating was lifted. This included the argument from Auckland Libraries "...difficult issues such as bullying and racism should be topics that young people can read about and discuss in safe settings such as schools to make sense of their experiences, and so they do not feel they are the only one. All citizens including young people should have access to information and literature which helps them understand the complex world they live in. Libraries, schools and caregivers can curate collections so that materials reach appropriate audiences, without cumbersome restrictions that effectively remove resources from everyone... Managing the restriction has impeded access to those over 14 years old and unfairly affected the exposure of a quality (award winning) novel written for an audience (young men) who need encouragement to read."

It's important to keep in mind that the Classification Office and the Board of Review are two separate bodies. From the OFLC website:

"The Film and Literature Board of Review is an appeals body that operates independently of the Classification Office. The Board of Review will be making its classification decision on the book in October. If you would like to make your opinion about Into the River known to the Board of Review, it is best to contact the Board of Review directly." That contact is

LIANZA reiterates its support for lifting the rating restriction on Into The River by Ted Dawe, as requested by Auckland Libraries. Libraries include information that represent the spectrum of points of view on a topic. The R14 rating (for bullying and racism) assigned by the Board of Review has restricted access for those over 14.

For SLANZA's comment on the situation


Kris Wehipeihana

LIANZA President


Share this on