Kiwi detained in Kazakhstan because authorities didn't believe New Zealand was a country.

Given Australia’s penchant for claiming credit for New Zealand’s finest achievements, it’s not all that surprising the rest of world also struggles to tell us apart.

From pavlova to Crowded House, Australians love to pretend our nearest neighbours are actually just a quirky Hobbit-rich offshoot of ourselves.

So we are almost definitely to blame for the recent ordeal of a young Kiwi journalist.

Chloe Phillips-Harris, New Zealander. Image via Facebook

Chloe Phillips-Harris, 28, found herself in a bit of a pickle in May when she tried to enter Kazakhstan, only to be told her country of origin simply didn't exist.

To be fair, New Zealand is not entirely unlike Australia; we're both fairly isolated from the rest of the world over here, our flags are confusingly similar and, like I said, the pavlova thing.

Anyway, on arriving in Kazakhstan Phillips-Harris, who was there to do some farm work and explore the rugged terrain, was told she'd need to supply her Aussie passport, which of course did and does not exist.

"They said New Zealand's clearly a part of Australia," she told the New Zealand Herald.


The immigration authorities then decried it would be best if she hopped on a flight to China.

"They chucked me on a plane but luckily I knew someone who could help, in those countries it's all about who you know, and so I got off the plane but by that stage I'd raised lots of alarm bells and way too many people got involved," she said.

Phillips-Harris was taken to an interrogation room where she was relieved to find a map of the world on the wall, but um... unfortunately it didn't have New Zealand on it.

"They wanted to know why I was there, they wanted to know why I had taken a direct flight from New Zealand, what I was doing in Kazakshtan," she said.

Unable to answer, or provide a bribe, Phillips-Harris was taken to a guard room where she stayed for a day and half.

"It was an empty room with a bed basically. I didn't get any food or water but in the middle of the night they guards clearly felt sorry for me so once immigration police and everyone had gone, the guards would sneak me a drink," she said.

"They had a half-drunk bottle of 7 Up. They did this thing of pouring it into two glasses and one of them drank one glass to show it was safe to drink.


"The guards were really nice and let me wander around the immigration room as long as they were no flights coming in, and if there was a flight they would just shoo me back into the room."

With the help of some people she knew in the country, Phillips-Harris managed to get a new visa, hand over some cash and walk out the door.

She wound up staying for six months and is keen to head back.

In the meantime, Kazakhstan, we'd like to clear up a few thing about our friend New Zealand.

For starters, it's about 1500 kilometres from here.

Maybe time to update your map? Image via iStock

It's got two islands, some killer ski slopes and, as of today, no Prime Minister.

There are adorable flightless birds and currently a nationwide Secret Santa gift exchange happening, because with or without Lord The Rings it's a wonderful magical place.

Whether we like to admit it or not, it's also the home of meat pies, Russell Crowe, Keith Urban and Phar Lap, as well as an intrepid young woman named Chloe Phillips-Harris.

Just so you know.

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