A Kiwi traveller was allegedly detained in Kazakhstan because officials refused to believe that New Zealand was a country and not just a state of Australia. Ouch.
After arriving at Kazakhstan's Almaty Airport, officials told Chloe Phillips-Harris that she couldn't enter the country without an Aussie passport, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Not an amateur traveller, Phillips-Harris said that she even consulted the New Zealand embassy prior to her trip, who assured her she could get into the country on a Kiwi passport.
"I landed in Kazakhstan on the last flight of the night, and I got to an immigration booth and they asked me for an Australian passport, and told me I couldn't come in without an Australian passport," she told the Herald.
"They said New Zealand's clearly a part of Australia."
NZ woman detained by Kazakhstan immigration because they thought NZ was a state of Australia 👏 https://t.co/alafEiPpoT— David Donaldson (@davidadonaldson) December 4, 2016
She was allegedly taken to an interrogation room which had a giant world map in it. Unfortunately the map didn't include New Zealand so Phillips-Harris couldn't even try to point out where she was from.
"Plain-clothes policemen got involved, immigration police got involved, airport officials got involved ... and at that stage it was a bit late to bribe my way out, which apparently is what I was supposed to do from the beginning, but being a New Zealander we're not familiar with that," she told the NZ Herald.
The Kiwi traveller was reportedly detained for a day and half before things finally started to get sorted, after this she ended up staying in Kazakhstan for six months.
"The people I knew in Kazakhstan got me a new type of visa and paid the right people and got me out, that's probably the easiest explanation," she said to the paper.
"It is corrupt and there are problems there but there are a lot of good people there too, it's just a beautiful country to be in. It's just really unfortunate there was a world map that didn't have New Zealand on it," she said about the country.
A spokesman for New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the Herald they were aware of the case and it had been resolved.