New Zealand: Teenage novel banned after outcry from religious group

17 September 2015

An award-winning young adult novel has become the first book in more than 20 years to be banned in New Zealand after an outcry from a Christian group.


‘Into the River’ can now be bought, borrowed and displayed in New Zealand after a decision by the Film and Literature Board to classify it as unrestricted.

The young adult book by Ted Dawe was given an interim ban after the Christian lobby group Family First complained about its content, which includes sex scenes, drug use and swearing. In its decision, the board said although the book described a number of unacceptable, offensive and objectionable behaviours, it did not in any way promote them. It said on the contrary, the book clearly set out to discourage and discredit such behaviours.

Ted Dawe’s ‘Into the River’ has been banned from sale or supply by the Film and Literature Board of Review (FLBR) after a complaint from conservative lobby group Family First.

It is currently being pulled from libraries, schools and bookshops around the country.

Family First objected to sexually explicit content, drug use and the use of a slang term for female genitalia.

The interim restriction took effect on 3 September 2015 and will be reviewed to decide on a permanent classification within the next month.

According to the FLBR website, the interim restriction means no one can “distribute or exhibit” the book and if the order is breached individuals face a fine of NZ$3,000 (£1,230) and companies of NZ$10,000.

‘Into the River’ won the New Zealand Post Children’s Book award in 2013 and is aimed at a teenage, largely male audience.

As news of its banning in New Zealand has sparked worldwide debate, ‘Into The River’ may become a Hollywood movie, reported NZ Herald.


Read more:

» The Observer – 21 September 2015
EXCLUSIVE: Author of New Zealand’s First Banned Book in 22 Years Speaks Out
By Ryan Holiday

» The Dominion Post – 17 September 2015:
Banning books like Into the River makes them more alluring

» NZ Herald – 16 September 2015:
Banned book may become Hollywood movie

» NZ Herald – 16 September 2015:
Jay Kuten: Book-ban man needs to resign

» NZ Herald – 14 September 2015:
Little interest shown before book banned

» The Guardian – 10 September 2015:
Censorship is alive in New Zealand. I should know: my book was banned – Ted Dawe

» The Guardian – 10 September 2015:
New Zealand protests planned in solidarity with banned book

» Sourced through on 7 September 2015 from:

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