The book Bloody Mama by Robert Thom was banned in New Zealand in 1971 on grounds of supposed indecency. Apparently it contains references to rape, incest, prostitution, cruelty and violence.
A second-hand copy of the book Bloody Mama at Wellington second-hand booksellers Book Haven, was anonymously snitched up to the Department of Internal Affairs in November.
The book, which canvasses the true life story of 1930s gang leader Kate Ma Barker and her sons, had been for sale for about a year, despite being banned by the now defunct Indecent Publications Tribunal.
This week the modern day book censors at the Office of Film and Literature Classification have reclassified the book as ‘Unrestricted’. The censor commented that the adult content was restricted to one or two pages and readers would be mature enough to handle it.
Book Haven owner Don Hollander said the ruling was marvellous. The book would be returned next week and he would frame it to hang in the shop as a talking piece, he told NZ Newswire.
The book was made into a low-budget film starring Robert de Niro, that was also ludicrously banned in 1971. However, it was later reclassified R16 in 1981.