Wellington (AFP) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has joined an online campaign launched by Kiwis tired of finding their remote South Pacific homeland missing from global maps.
In a video launched by Tourism New Zealand, comedian Rhys Darby highlights New Zealand’s absence from maps at Ikea, Starbucks and New York’s Central Park Zoo, and tells Ardern it is part of a vast plot to undermine New Zealand’s popularity.
“Australia want our tourists, England want to get rid of the All Blacks and the wine industry, they can’t beat our pinot (noir) or sav (sauvignon blanc),” he says.
“Sacre bleu, sneaky Frenchies!” he explains when he comes across a world wine map with no reference to New Zealand.
Alerted to the conspiracy theory, Ardern responds: “You might be onto something.”
The government’s official website is on board too, with its 404 error page saying “we’re sorry, something’s missing…” alongside a New Zealand-free map.
A worldmapswithoutnz website and a hashtag #getNZonthemap have added further momentum to the campaign and prompted endless discussion online.
The website lists several other maps which do not include New Zealand, including a submission from Pyongyang International Airport, which shows a large yellow clock displaying the time in Sydney where New Zealand should be.
A caption below reads: “Hopefully they use the same map in the rocket launch command centre.”
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall said the campaign was a light-hearted way to get the message across and promote the country as a holiday destination.
“It’s unfathomable that New Zealand is left off world maps,” he said.
“New Zealand is bigger than the United Kingdom. We’re over two-thirds the size of Japan and Germany. We have a lake (than) the size of Singapore, a mountain range larger than the European Alps, and more coastline than California.”