Lonely Planet Writer

New Zealanders are campaigning to get the country back on world maps

No doubt you’ve seen the new Tourism New Zealand viral video with influential Kiwi figures, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and comedian Rhys Darby campaigning for New Zealand to be included in all world maps.

Man reading map in campervan, North Island, New Zealand. Image by ©Justin Foulkes/Lonely Planet

The light-hearted video clocked up over one million organic views in the first 24 hours and landed in major media outlets all over the world. In the video Darby, of Flight of the Conchords fame, investigates potential global conspiracies to keep New Zealand off world maps. Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall says having the support of the Prime Minister is a huge boost to the campaign work. “As a world-class destination, it’s unfathomable that New Zealand is left off world maps. New Zealand is bigger than the United Kingdom. We’re over two-thirds the size of Japan and Germany. We have a lake the size of Singapore, a mountain range larger than the European Alps, and more coastline than California.”

“The campaign is a light-hearted way to raise awareness of New Zealand as a destination off the back of international media about the country missing from maps.” The campaign was born after Stephen England-Hall noticed NZ missing from a map Starbucks when on a recent US trip. From maps in online photo libraries, to coffee shops, famous attractions and board games, New Zealand is often nowhere to be seen.

Surfer at Fox River Cave walk, Paparoa National Park, South Island. Image by ©Ellen Ryan/Lonely Planet

International media outlets including BBC, the Telegraph and Conde Nast Traveler got wind of the situation, and a Reddit ‘Maps Without NZ’ discussion board has a following of more than 40,000. Tourism New Zealand enlisted the support of PM Jacinda Ardern and LA-based comedian Rhys Darby and then worked alongside creative agency, Augusto to create the story with comedic input from Darby. According to in the know sources, Jacinda happily agreed, and got the whole shot done in less than an hour like a true professional. Tourism New Zealand is calling on New Zealanders to share the video and #getNZonthemap but it appears the campaign has already gone global.

If you want to know more you can always head to NZ and find out why it wants to not just be the best country in the world, but the best country for the world.