As It Happens

Comedian Rhys Darby cries global conspiracy as New Zealand gets left off yet another map

Ikea has apologized for selling a world map without New Zealand on it — but comedian Rhys Darby says this story is a lot bigger than the Swedish furniture chain.

Ikea apologizes for map without New Zealand — just as it prepares to open its first store in the country

New Zealand comedian Rhys Darby is crying foul after Ikea left his country off a map, pictured on the right, sold in its stores. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Image, Jibbles666/Reddit )


Ikea has apologized for selling a world map without New Zealand on it — but comedian Rhys Darby says this story is a lot bigger than the Swedish furniture chain. 

In fact, New Zealand gets left off maps all the time — so frequently there's a bustling Reddit page dedicated to exposing the phenomenon.

The country is missing from a map at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, the board game Risk, a Pew report on climate change, a novelty mug, and even a globe at Keefer Place in Vancouver to name a few.

In a series of comedy videos filmed with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Darby vows to get to the bottom of what he jokingly calls a worldwide conspiracy to erase his beloved home country.

Here is part of his conversation with As It Happens host Carol Off — who offers up a theory of her own.

Rhys, you present a number of conspiracy theories as to why New Zealand may have been left off so many maps — but what have you finally concluded?

I think at this stage, the closest edge I have is that basically — this is going to blow you away — but I think we are the new Atlantis, and we're trying to be sunk by the powers that be that don't want us to be revealed.

Uh huh. And who are the powers that be?

What I'll do is reveal the powers that aren't: Australia, anyone affiliated with Australia, the French ... and this is the latest, the Swedish. 

Now the reason why you mentioned Sweden is because the most recent map to have completely eliminated New Zealand is, of course, Ikea.

That's right. Ikea, one of the top four furniture making kit-set companies in the world. I've been to Ikea more than once, and you know, the place itself is a conspiracy because you get in there and you can't get out. It's a labyrinth of lies.

And yet they are about to open a big store in New Zealand, right?

I know. The irony. But I believe they've apologized.

In your video, one of the countries who has produced a map without New Zealand on it happens to be Canada [in] Vancouver. Are we part of the conspiracy to have you wiped off the map?

That one was difficult for me because I see you guys as our brothers and I can only think that maybe there's someone in the upper echelon, who isn't Canadian but is, of course, controlling Canada.

I'm not saying, obviously, the proper leadership. I'm talking about someone in the lower rankings that works in the Vancouver area. Maybe in the Starbucks.

OK, here's my theory on it ... British Columbia is a wine-producing province. And guess what your country produces. And guess what we compete with from New Zealand.

I've brought this up before about the wine and I think you're correct there. I mean, wine is — well, it's pretty much the No. 1 thing people are into. My wife is nodding. She agrees with me.

Another thing is that when we did an interview with the people of Shetland Islands and they said that their problem is that they get put into a box, and they don't want to be in a box anymore. So would you be happy to be in a box?

If we were in a box and then just sort of, what? Sort of just floating off to the side?

The New Zealand government's 404 page includes a joke about the country's tendency to be left off maps. (

Well, just moved closer to where you want to be, which is the centre of the universe.

[Laughs] A hovering box over over the sort of Mediterranean area? Um, OK. Well, it's a possibility.

Or the other thing I would say is, if you got to miss us off the maps because you haven't got room or whatever, or you can't be bothered, that's fine. But just put a big note next to Australia saying, "For greater countries, see overleaf."

And then people will flip it over, and there we are —along with the Shetland Islands and a little bit of Tasmania that I like.

So now that Ikea's about to colonize your country as it's colonized the rest of the world, how are people responding your successful campaign to recognize you as a country and put you on the map?

I think once the big, huge conglomerate opens up, the first thing we're going to do before we go in the doors, before the prime minister gets announced to come through, she'll say: "Right, show us the map."

There will be a big curtain. It will be revealed. It'll be bigger than normal, but we'll be on there, slightly oversized.

I think that'll happen. If not, no one's going in there.

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Richard Raycraft. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.


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