NZ Herald 19 August 2015
A sexually explicit book that has been restricted to people aged 14 and over for two years has been cleared for unrestricted release after an unusual appeal by librarians.
Deputy chief censor Nic McCully ruled the R14 restriction on Into The River, by Aucklander Ted Dawe, was an arbitrary and unfair breach of the right to freedom of expression.
But Family First director Bob McCoskrie, who originally complained about the book to the Film and Literature Board of Review, has appealed to the board again, saying it is “laced with detailed descriptions of sex acts, coarse language and scenes of drug-taking”.
Review board president Dr Don Mathieson wrote a dissenting opinion in 2013, arguing the book should be given an R18 restriction because it “normalised” sex and drug-taking by a boy aged 13 and 14 as the book unfolds.
The 208-page novel, which won the top NZ children’s book award in 2013, tells the story of Devon, a Maori boy who wins a scholarship to a boys’ boarding school where he is bullied and experiences sex and drugs.