Jane Wrightson

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Jane Wrightson was born in Hastings, New Zealand in 1958. She became New Zealand’s eighth Chief Censor, and first woman Chief Censor, in 1991, a position she held until the Films, Videos, and Publications Act was passed in 1993. Before her appointment as Chief Censor, Wrightson obtained a BA in English at Victoria University of Wellington, a Diploma in Business Administration at Massey University, and a Master of Business Administration with Distinction (Massey). She worked for a decade prior for TVNZ including in the programming department and as head of commissioned programmes for Television New Zealand.

Wrightson wrote in 1992 that her “strong will has been a blessing and a curse to me. The strength is needed as a film censor – there are so many individuals and groups pulling in so many different directions that after absorbing all the approaches one simply has to go with instincts, consultation and a healthy dollop of common sense.”[1]

In 1992, Wrightson banned Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, calling it a “stalk and slash” movie too violent for New Zealand screens. This was the first mainstream film to be banned from exhibition at the Wellington Film Festival, whose director called her too conservative.[2] The film was later passed, with cuts, on video by the Video Recordings Authority. Earlier that year, she passed, as R18, the Australian tantric sex film Sacred Sex which was appealed unsuccessfully to the Film and Video Board of Review by the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards who viewed her classification as too liberal.

Having unsuccessfully applied to continue as Chief Censor after Parliament passed the Films, Videos, and Publications Act 1993, Wrightson became television programme manager, and soon Deputy Chief Executive, of New Zealand On Air in 1994. She then became Chief Executive of the Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) in 1999, Chief Executive of the Broadcasting Standards Authority in 2003, and is currently Chief Executive of funding body New Zealand On Air since 2007.[3] She is also a chartered member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, retired from the Board of Netball New Zealand in 2007 after an 8-year stint, and served on the Swimming NZ Board for five years until 2012. She is a trustee of the Digital Media Trust that set up NZ screen history and culture site NZ On Screen.


  1. ^ Guest editorial, “Home and Country”, Jan/Feb 1992, on file at the Office of Film and Literature Classification.
  2. ^ Alastair Morrison, “Portrait of censorship”, The Dominion, 7 July 1992, p7, on file at the Office of Film and Literature Classification.
  3. ^ Tom Hunt, "Simply Outrageous Successes" The Dominion Post, 5 July 2014 http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/10233302/Simply-outrageous-successes