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New Zealand Has Gone Missing! – 2/10/119

About 900 miles east of Australia lies the sovereign country of New Zealand. It is comprised of two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui), and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and around 600 smaller islands. It may not be the largest country on Earth but either island is larger than Cuba and both islands together are larger than Great Britain. So why is it that New Zealand is so often left off world maps…including the Björksta framed poster sold at IKEA (which even sells in Australia)! Atlas Obscura suggests that because of the common Mercator projection of many world maps, New Zealand’s spot in the hinterlands of the Pacific makes it easy to misplace with a thoughtless crop.

New Zealanders aren’t buying it (literally), but they aren’t taking it all that seriously either. Check out the Facebook page, called World Maps Without New Zealand, which is dedicated to this comical conundrum. They have 30,000 followers who post all the places they’ve noticed their country missing on a map. New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern launched a #getnzonthemap campaign as part of a drive to encourage more visitors to the country, and comedian Rhys Darby created a 2.5 minute spoof video which aims to put New Zealand back on the map. Rys has investigated the conspiracy, finding New Zealand is missing from maps in Getty’s stock photo library, Starbucks cafes, Ikea, in-flight magazines and even at New York’s Central Park Zoo! [Source: Independent.co.uk]

So next time you come across a map of the world, please be kind and look for New Zealand. If it’s not there, post it online and complain to management!

UPDATE 2/11/19: Via NBC.com, IKEA just issued this public statement: “Ikea is responsible for securing correct and compliant motifs on all our products. We can see that the process has failed regarding the product Björksta world map — we regret this mistake and apologize. We will take the necessary actions and the product is now being phased out from our stores.” The map was still available on their website at the time this statement was issued.