Where’s New Zealand Gone?
Fallen off the bottom of the world, apparently.
Imagine if an atlas or world map, globe or mapping software was designed and published without, say, Australia on it. Or France. Or the United States of America. First there’d be uproar; then, second, the maps would be withdrawn and destroyed; thirdly, people in government in the missing places would tell everyone their countries are too important and powerful to be ignored, and demand new – and correct – maps be published. Immediately!
A world map without Australia, France, the USA, Russia, China, Brazil… is unthinkable! All that blue sea where those large countries were, missing towns and cities and population. People would be insulted, upset and offended.
If we’re missing, it doesn’t matter. No one will miss us. Actually, most people it seems don’t actually know where we are – and won’t be too bothered we get forgotten time and time and time again.
Unfortunately, this happens too often. Maps are made, software is produced, globes and sculptures are designed all without New Zealand! The website worldmapswithout.nz has been created to show just how forgetful the rest of the world is.
It’s okay, though. We’re just a small country swimming somewhere in the Pacific. A small collection of islands pebbled somewhere between The Important Countries of Australia and those on the American continent.
We don’t play much of a role on the world stage: we don’t get involved in many wars, we don’t contribute much money to the world economy, the rest of the world might’ve heard of the All Blacks and Lorde, but that’s about it.
Maybe it’s a good thing no one knows where we are, and we get erased from the map. That way, no one will bother us. So keep us off the map!
Article written by Ben Egerton
Critical Thinking Challenges:
1) Imagine that the rest of the world really has forgotten New Zealand exists, what are the pros and cons of being in the world but not part of it?
2) Why would, for example, India or China be upset if a map was made without their country on it, but map-makers are happy to forget New Zealand?
3) Use a computer or by freehand, draw your own map of the world and remove a country without telling anyone. What does the map look like? Is it odd or is the missing country unnoticeable? Show it to classmates, can they recognise which country is missing?
4) Research into how maps have changed and evolved over time. Look at all the changes and how map-makers have shown the world in different ways. What kinds of things do you notice? Can you spot the same countries and cities in maps from different times and places?
This website might be a good starting point oldmapsonline.org
5) Visit worldmapswithout.nz and look at all the maps that people have made with An Important Missing Ingredient…