Fake New Zealand In China?

Will the real New Zealand please stand up?


China is notorious for fakes.  There’s the counterfeit handbags and watches everywhere, bogus Subway restaurants and fake Apple stores that even fooled the staff working there.


New Zealand has had it’s share of products ripped off as well: fake NZ milk powder (because Chinese are worried they’ll be poisoned by the local stuff), pirated Separation City DVDs and fake NZ kiwi fruit – though we kinda stole it from them in the first place.


However, the latest theft has taken ripping off God’s Zone to a whole new level – they’re faking NZ!


China Stealing New Zealand

An the email from a Chinese airline, offering discounted flights down to Kunming, Dali and Lijiang, but with a snap of New Zealand’s iconic Mitre Peak in Milford Sound

China Stealing New Zealand

The translated closeup of China’s stealing NZ


When I opened a promotional email from a Chinese airline today, I was lured by a picture of New Zealand’s Milford Sound, thinking I could get to NZ for 990RMB (about NZ$200).  Disappointingly, it turned out the flights were to Southern China.  Last time I looked, Kunming, Dali and Lijiang are quite a hike from Mitre Peak, New Zealand.


No doubt the recent wedding of Chinese megastar Yao Chen in Queenstown, made NZ more popular than ever for Chinese consumers, but has stealing little New Zealand’s icons and claiming them as their own gone too far?  Are the Chinese the new Australians?


I believe there are 3 possible reasons for this theft: (1) Stealing NZ’s beauty to woo a few gullible consumers with false hope and promise of going to possibly the most beautiful, pure place on earth; (2) They’ve actually relocated a few villages and reconstructed NZ landscapes as they have with the faux Thames Town, Little Sweden and even a fake Rotorua (of all the places to copy?) (3) a genuine mistake by an employee earning $2 an hour (peanuts and monkeys).  I hope it’s the third, and I dearly hope they don’t try and reconstruct a fake Beehive in Shanghai and steal all of our thunder.


A message to the Chinese: If you’re wanting to rip off some beautiful, surreal land and claim it as your own, raise a decent movie director and build yourselves a fancy digital studio, just don’t go pinching our landmarks.  Xiexie.


The Real Milford Sound

The Real Milford Sound. Image from ecotoursmilford.co.nz


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My wife Ellen and I are currently living in China, bumbling our way around this fascinating and fast-changing country. We kicked off our stay with a semester of Intensive Mandarin studies at Beijing Language and Culture University and are now living in Shanghai. These posts cover some of my experiences, views and curious facts in and around the Middle Kingdom. Please let me know what you think!

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