David Shanks is New Zealand’s Chief Censor. He was appointed to the role in May 2017 and leads the Office of Film and Literature Classification, which is an Independent Crown Entity.
He’s responsible for protecting New Zealanders from harm, especially harm to children and young people that can come from sex, crime, cruelty, horror and violence in media. This balances with upholding New Zealander's right to freedom of expression and recognising the diverse views of all Kiwis.
David’s career has spanned senior leadership and legal positions in both the public and private sectors; he is a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
From a start in private practice litigation in Palmerston North, and following a stint of commercial legal work in London, David’s career progressed on to varied legal and public service management career. He has run some of the largest public legal teams in the country, and conducted national inquiries as Chief Legal Advisor for the State Services Commission. He then progressed on to general management positions, including carrying out Deputy Chief Executive Responsibilities at the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development and then to Director - Health and Safety and Security at the New Zealand Ministry of Education.
He sees his current role as the perfect opportunity to bring together his interests in regulation, public policy and technology.
As a parent, David has a passion for the job and a determination to modernise the approach to the changing world of media content.