There's a conspiracy going on in the Southern Hemisphere. It all has to do with New Zealand, the country known for the famed All-Blacks rugby team, the filming location of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the national birthplace of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first human to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
The problem is, you can't find New Zealand anywhere on a slew of world maps. It's like Atlantis, although there's plenty of evidence to suggest the kiwi country exists. It's missing on Reddit's world map splash page, an Internet page showing Donald Trump's global empire, A Forbes map showing international craft beer destinations, a Mashable map of global wi-fi locations... the list is endless. Ditto for institutions that should know better, namely the BBC, Smithsonian, and even the United Nations.
Which is why New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embarked on a humorous campaign with Flight of the Concordes star Rhys Darby to uncover the apparent conspiracy. A video of her conversing with Darby leads to a shocking discovery that it's a ploy by neighboring Australia to steal all the tourists heading to New Zealand.
Once the video was posted May 2, as part of a campaign launched by Tourism New Zealand, complete with a social media component (#getNZonthemap), it received roughly half a million views within a day.
"Admit it," wrote Ardern in a caption for the video she put on Facebook. "You've noticed the absence of New Zealand on world maps before too. Some call it a conspiracy some call it negligent ... either way it's time for a wee campaign."
It's a situation that smacks of neglect, given that New Zealand is larger than its C0mmonwealth partner the U.K., which ruled the country during the days of the British Empire. It's also larger than Greece, North Korea, Cuba and Syria, which is getting lots of attention these days, but for the wrong reasons.
On the other hand, newzealand.com has turned the absence on the grids into an advantage, by stating that there's no reason why the country couldn't be on tourists' mental maps. The site cites several reasons to visit the nation, namely its unique culture, adventurous terrain, the picturesque presence of fjords and glaciers, not to mention its fine wines and coffee. Ever so diligently, the accompanying Instagram account has posted more than 800,000 images highlighting everything about the country that a simple map is unable to do.