Chelsea Clinton leaves NBC news job

Chelsea Clinton is out as a special correspondent for NBC News.

The expectant mother, who began her journalism career with the network in November 2011, announced the news in a Facebook post on Friday.

“To continue focusing on my work at the Clinton Foundation and as Marc and I look forward to welcoming our first child, I have decided to leave my position as a NBC Special Correspondent,” Clinton wrote in a statement that was first reported by People.

When she joined the network, executives there said she was brought on to help air “good news” stories as part of NBC’s Making a Difference segments.

Clinton described her work as helping to call attention to stories “about remarkable people and organisations making a profound difference in our country and our world”.

Those included Carlos “Coach Khali” Sweeney, who runs Downtown Youth Boxing Gym, which Clinton said “offers kids on the east side of Detroit a lifeline through academic tutoring and boxing instruction”, and Peggy Candelaria, a principal in Albuquerque, New Mexico, whose organisation, Homework Diner, offers homework help and food for children and families in need.

After Politico reported this summer that Clinton was paid a US$600,000 annual salary for relatively few stories, social media commentators went wild – assessing her work as not worthy of such a large salary. (NBC never confirmed the price tag on Clinton’s contract.)

Journalism as a career has drawn relatives of other famous politicians. Former President George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager has been under contract with NBC since 2009 to produce segments for NBC’s Today show. Those have included features with her father and former first lady Laura Bush, her mother.

Meghan McCain, a daughter of Senator John McCain, had a brief contract with MSNBC; she also is a co-host of the late-night talk show TakePart Live and previously hosted a show called Raising McCain, both on Pivot, a small cable network.

So what’s next for Chelsea Clinton – aside from motherhood and her work with her family’s foundation

She recently said she is tired of being asked when she’ll run for elective office.

“Very few days go by when people don’t ask me that question,” she said during an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this year. But she didn’t actually answer the question.

– The Washington Post

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NFL key to Brangelina’s secret wedding

Now that we know that Hollywood’s favorite couple has officially tied the knot, let’s talk about why Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt could not have found a more perfect weekend to get married.

Jolie is known for her savvy when it comes to the media and narrative-crafting. In fact, she’s the best in her business at it, and the fact that she does it without the help of a publicist just adds to her mystique.

Jolie’s been known to cut deals with paparazzi to keep them from continually swarming her family. She harnessed her power as a newsstand draw by auctioning off the first picture of her newborns to the celebrity weeklies – then donated the proceeds to charities that fight AIDS in Africa.

She even went to Namibia to give birth and avoid the press – the Namibian government was perfectly happy to deny visas to photographers and journalists hoping to lurk and get a coveted photograph of the Hollywood mama.

With that in mind, we’d like to posit the great timing of her wedding to Pitt last weekend was no happy accident, but rather her best chance to say “I do” completely under the radar. And who does she have to thank for that opportunity

Why, the NFL.


First off, the Hollywood press was fully occupied by the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday and the Emmys on Monday, two glitzy, star-studded events where the couple wouldn’t be missed.

Pitt and Jolie are Academy Awards People. You can barely count on them to make an appearance at the Golden Globes without a nomination.

Remember the time the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated Jolie for a Golden Globe for The Tourist, almost universally regarded as a terrible movie that Rolling Stone called a “suckfest” It was clearly a naked ploy to get Jolie – and her costar, Johnny Depp – to show up.

But back to the VMAs and the Emmys: Media-wise, pop-culture watchers were in the throes of prepping for back-to-back award shows. No one was really paying attention to the Jolie-Pitts holing themselves up at Chateau Miraval, their majestic estate in the French countryside, because it’s a summer tradition for them.

Without so much as a tip that something was going to go down, no business-minded paparazzo would bother heading to France on his own dime for a virtually impossible shot of the Jolie-Pitts – certainly not if he had a much better chance of photographing celebrities behaving badly after award show after-parties.

Also worth noting: Ever since Jolie and Pitt first leased Chateau Miraval in 2008 and then bought it in 2011, there has been rampant speculation they chose it because they could hold a wedding there in relative privacy. It does have its own chapel. But for six long years, the only union to come out of that place was between the grapes and bottles used for the family’s C


Listen: To Robert Plant’s whole new album

Be the first to listen to Robert Plant’s new album, Lullaby And…The Ceaseless Roar before it will be released next Friday

The album features 11 new recordings, nine of which are original songs written by Plant with his band, The Sensational Space Shifters.


Doctor Who returns with Scottish accent

Doctor Who returns to Prime on Sunday with the surprisingly funny Peter Capaldi making his appearance as the 12th Time Lord. TV Guide editor Julie Eley caught up with the show’s stars during the Sydney leg of the BBC’s Doctor Who World Tour.


Vintage reads: The Name of the Rose


In 1327 the English friar William of Baskerville, along with his young companion Adso of Melk, is travelling through Italy on a mission for the emperor. But his travels are interrupted at an isolated monastery where a monk has mysteriously died.

William is charged with discovering the reason why.

But not everyone wants this mystery solved, and over the next few days more monks die. There is also another mystery William wants to get to the bottom of – a mysterious library built into a labyrinth. Why is there so much secrecy surrounding it

The Name of the Rose is a novel rich in detail of the period in which it is set, with a lyrical, atmospheric feel. The reader can almost see the monastery grow around them as William and Adso creep through its corridors.

But this is more than a historical mystery.

Between investigating the deaths and trying to break into the library, William engages in complex discussions of the religious controversies, philosophy, politics and prejudices of the time, making this novel not a light read, but a deeply thought-provoking one.

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– Waikato Times


Mouse that roared: TV fans go online

Remotes are being replaced by the mouse as Kiwis increasingly take control of their televisions.

More people are turning to on-demand television as they increasingly want to decide when and where they watch their favourite shows.

Figures made public by TVNZ yesterday show the state-owned broadcaster recorded a 78 per cent surge in OnDemand views in the past financial year, with 4.5 million average monthly views. That’s up from just 2.5m in 2012-13, and 1.4m in 2010-11.

The most popular online show was local drama Shortland Street, followed by Australian soap Home and Away, while talent show New Zealand’s Got Talent and One News were the most-viewed among people sticking to traditional television screenings.

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick said the figures reflected a changing environment where people were watching shows across a variety of screen types.

“People are watching a hell of a lot more TV shows, they’re just not so concerned about TV as a box.”

That was exemplified during the America’s Cup, when on race days the first race would mainly be watched on television sets, but then the second and third races saw more people watching on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones as people headed into work.

People wanted the ability to choose when they watched favourite shows, he said. The challenge now was to make sure people could watch on demand content on their larger screens.

“People tend to want to watch things on the biggest screen that’s available.”

There was also a need to respond to demand for content to avoid people pirating, which meant more and more shows would be put directly online and screened later on television to give people a choice of when they watched it.

That also meant TVNZ was buying more shows with both on air and online screening rights, he said. “Ultimately it’s all about choice . . . The future for our business is all about being first and fast with the new content.”

Mediaworks spokeswoman Rachel Lorimer said its TV3 and Four networks had also seen “excellent growth” with their on demand service, with 300,000 downloads of their 3NOW App in the past six months.

Wellington web developer Raquel Moss watches television only on demand.

The 23-year-old said the digital switch-over last year was a driving factor, because she did not want to pay for a dish for the digital system in a rental property. She mainly streamed current affairs programmes, and particularly enjoyed being able to live stream and participate in events such as Thursday’s election leaders’ debate despite not having a television.

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The freedom of on demand was another bonus, she said.

“It’s great being able to catch up later . . . I can just watch it whenever, I don’t have to be sitting down.”

The only downside was it took up a lot of bandwidth, she said.

Kenrick said it was increasingly common for homes – particularly flats – to not have televisions, and people to watch shows on laptops or tablets.

There would be a shift towards more one-on-one advertising, with registrations for online content likely later this year, allowing advertising to be personalised to people’s tastes and profiles.

– The Dominion Post


Postman Pat meets Van Gogh

A van Gogh-inspired Postman Pat painting bagged the winning prize at the IHC art awards in Wellington.

Phillip Sisam, of Clive in Hawke’s Bay, painted Postman Pat after Van Gogh in just a couple of days at an art class he attends almost daily.

His watercolour pastel work was chosen from more than 600 entries by New Zealand artists aged 13 years and over with an intellectual disability.

Sisam, 34, said he was an avid fan of Postman Pat growing up and religiously watched it with his brother Michael.

His repertoire also involved flowers, snow on mountains and animals but he had chosen Pat after studying Van Gogh in class, and coming across the post-Impressionist painter’s portraits of his close friend, French postman Joseph Roulin.

Sisam put his own spin on the series of paintings and was presented with a prize of $5000 at a ceremony at the Michael Fowler Centre on Thursday night.

Art has been a big part of Sisam’s life since he moved to Hohepa School when he was eight.

He has subsequently moved into the residential community where he works and spends his spare time painting.

His mother, Carol Carr, who lives in Wellington and was at the awards with her son, said she was incredibly proud of his efforts.

Judge Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, co-head of WORLD fashion, said: “This art piece is sheer genius in having the children’s character Postman Pat sitting in a pose reminiscent of Van Gogh.

“The humour and intelligence of the whole idea shows us just how talented these artists are – standout, completely standout.”

Second place and $2000 went to Andrew Martin, of Rangiora, for his pastel drawing of Sasha, a dog swimming at Sumner Beach, Christchurch.

In third place and picking up $1000 for her efforts was Amanda Brennan, of Auckland, for her Hospital Ship entry, which was a mixture of watercolours and cotton thread depicting a hospital ship from World War I.

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– The Dominion Post


Man in the frame

When Dave Gibson started out, films were things you shot movies on, not something you watched. Nikki Macdonald talks to the new Film Commission boss about how far the movie business has come, and where it’s going.

Dave Gibson must be a master of knowing nothing.

For more than three decades, the film-maker steered his production company through booms and busts, via winners and duds. In an industry so unpredictable that screenwriter William Goldman famously claimed, “Nobody knows anything”, The Gibson Group survived when all the other little soldiers were knocked down dead.

By last year the 61-year-old’s succession planning was so far advanced he was starting to drift in mid-morning. Terrified of letting his career dribble to a close, he figured he’d round out his vast suite of television credits with a couple of movies, then get out.

But then the job came up – boss of the country’s biggest film funder and the film industry’s chief whipping boy. Who could resist

Eight months into the role, Gibson already looks at home in the Film Commission’s harbour-view Wellington office. Bruno Lawrence squats in one corner – the puppet, that is, from Gibson’s political satire Public Eye. There are no suits and ties or bureaucratese in this government-owned company. Gibson is relaxed in dark jeans and sneakers; the candour cultivated by 37 years as your own boss has yet to be ground out. When he realises he has been too upfront, he periodically apologises: “I’m not very good at this, am I”

But it’s precisely that straight-talking pragmatism that has got him this far, and that has the film industry celebrating his five-year appointment. That’s the same film industry that, in a 2010 review led by Sir Peter Jackson, called the Film Commission contemptuous, micro-managing and a social welfare department creating a climate of dependency.

But then, Gibson can afford to be relaxed, at least for now. New Zealand film-making is in a golden period. Taika Waititi’s vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows has taken $2.5 million at the box office; gritty chess drama The Dark Horse has charmed critics; and next month Toa Fraser’s Maori language action epic The Dead Lands will be launched.

They also happen to be the three New Zealand films playing at Toronto Film Festival, where Gibson will spend much of next month promoting Kiwi cinema.

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Add to that the April extension of incentives for both international and New Zealand screen projects and Gibson is feeling more optimistic than he ever imagined possible since taking the job at a time when film crews were being axed and producers were glumly waiting by the phone.

“I’m going to be able to go away at Christmas and have a couple of beers and feel damn good about life,” Gibson jokes.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether this film bubble is tough enough to ride out ballooning budgets and the rising tide of digital piracy, internet streaming services and media fragmentation.

The Film Commission didn’t even exist when Gibson made his first commercial film – a $1000 promo for the Transcendental Meditation Society.

A farm boy from Pahiatua, he was supposed to become a teacher, like his mother Christabel. Against her advice, he celebrated his release from boys’ boarding school by enrolling at teachers’ college. Despite scoring a few dates with the endless supply of girls, it only took six weeks to work out it was “boring as hell”.

He moved to Victoria University to study education and English, but quickly got waylaid by movie-making. He bought a Super 8 and shot his mates at Leon Russell’s concert at Auckland’s Western Springs. Then he graduated to a 16-millimetre wind-up Bolex camera, which he used to shoot films for the university’s drama society, which at the time featured luminaries such as Paul Holmes.

He can’t quite pinpoint what it was about film that seduced him. Yes, he has childhood movie memories – the Saturday serials that accompanied feature films were often more compelling than the feature, but 1953 drama The Cruel Sea stands out.

“I think I just liked playing with it. It was something that seemed intriguing and interesting. I liked the look and the feel of it. When I look back now I think it’s probably a story-telling thing.”

At the time, Wellington’s screen industry was concentrated in the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation. NZBC’s vast Avalon complex, about 20 minutes’ drive north of Wellington, was built while Gibson was at university. For a time, the studios remained in town, so Gibson made some of his early film contacts working part-time ferrying sets from Avalon to town and lumping them up to the 7th floor. On New Zealand’s first sitcom Buck House, Gibson met comic genius John Clarke, who voiced one of Gibson’s first films. “That was lost under someone’s bed somewhere in a flat”.

The education degree never quite got finished. Before long, Gibson worked out people would actually pay him to make movies. Television was a closed shop but, if you made something educational, you could sell it to schools. In 1977, he rented an office on Courtenay Place and started Gibson Films. That’s films as in what you shoot on, not as in feature movies.

There was no answerphone so he would leave the phone off the hook when leaving the building, so important people thought he was on another call. The industry was so much in its infancy no-one seemed to care.

“We made a film about two kids on a high-country sheep station. We sold it to Encyclopaedia Britannica. They made something like 2000 16mm copies for schools, and every time they made a copy they paid us $100 or something. It was quite a lucrative business.”

It wasn’t just the office that was makeshift. Gibson’s first feature film The Silent One – which remains one of his proudest projects – was written by screen veteran Ian Mune. Mune remembers an “alarmingly confident” young man. “To a degree, he was making it up as he went along”.

The film was shot on tiny, ill-equipped Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands. They lacked a wind machine powerful enough to summon an epic storm, so they improvised.

“We bought an old DC3 plane, chopped the wings off it and then used the propellers as a wind machine.”

The feature was one of a lifetime of collaborations with wife Yvonne Mackay. The pair, who have now split, have two sons – comic-book artist Tim and Jamie, a teacher.

From the beginning, Gibson has treated film-making as a business and that won’t change now he’s spending the government’s money rather than his own. That approach risks rankling with the nation’s film-makers, but he’s unapologetic. Creativity and business, he says, are not unhappy bedfellows.

“If you write a poem with a piece of paper and a pen and ultimately you can’t sell it to anybody and nobody reads it, that’s OK because you haven’t used a whole lot of government money or borrowed money from people to do it. But, if you take significant amounts of taxpayer money, which most film production involves, the taxpayer has a reasonable expectation that they will get to see it, that they’re not just funding something for your own amusement. I don’t think that’s difficult or complicated.”

Which doesn’t mean that every film has to be a surefire blockbuster. Gibson’s vision of a successful film industry lines up five planets, shining equally brightly – career pathways, more eyeballs, culturally significant films, economic activity and amazing, original, satisfying films. Put another way, Gibson wants to go to a party in five years’ time and have a bunch of people from different ages, genders and ethnicities tell him they all loved a New Zealand film in the past 12 months, for different reasons.

The trick, of course, is picking those winners. Gibson wouldn’t have survived this long and bagged a swag of awards if he didn’t have an instinct for what works. But Goldman was right to an extent – everyone who has worked in film or TV has produced a dud. Sometimes critics hate it (2007 backpacker sitcom Welcome to Paradise). Sometimes critics love it but audiences don’t (1994 television drama Cover Story).

A clue to Gibson’s vetting process comes from a story Mune tells about Gibson stopping him mid-sentence during a dinner catchup.

“He said, ‘Listen, when people are trying to pitch something to me, I listen very carefully to everything they say. As soon as they use the word ‘But’, I ignore everything that preceded it.’ I thought that’s good thinking. You know what you are going to get next is their problem, and that’s where you start listening.”

Mune describes Gibson as “very hands-on”. A control freak, then He hesitates and laughs. “I didn’t say that.”

When it comes to movies, Gibson has diverse taste. His top Kiwi movie is Geoff Murphy’s Maori western Utu but he’s equally likely to be spotted at a blockbuster on Courtenay Place as at an arthouse movie. That’s if he’s not reading crime fiction, playing indoor netball or sailing his 100-year-old former fishing trawler Myrtle.

With some caveats, Gibson is optimistic about the future of the 90- to

120-minute feature film. He even thinks New Zealand movies could double their share of the box office from the present 2.5 per cent to 5 per cent. He wants to see more acting stars, more Taika Waititis working internationally, better support for up-and-coming talent, and a more flexible approach to funding.

Having come from an era of self-taught talent that spawned greats such as Roger Donaldson, Sir Peter Jackson and Geoff Murphy, Gibson is critical of the endless stream of entry-level graduates churned out annually by film schools. Some of those government subsidies would be better invested in mid-career film-makers instead.

He’s also anxious to solve the two most common international criticisms of New Zealand movies. One is that they’re just not sharp enough. In the case of The Dark Horse, the Film Commission topped up the final edit, to get that extra edge.

“Sometimes, if you spend $10 on a film, to spend another 10c is a damn smart thing to do.”

The second criticism is that Kiwi films are sometimes undercooked. A good example is Hip Hop-eration – a feel-good doco about Waiheke’s geriatric hip-hop troupe.

With more money and “more showbiz” it could have gone global.

While Gibson insists he can’t remember what criticisms he contributed to the scathing 2010 Film Commission review, he is candid about the organisation’s shortcomings.

Funders have become so obsessed by “the craft of script” – whether or not there is the right turning point in act two – “that sometimes they forget to sit down and go ‘Does it make me go: Oh my god, I would so go and see that film’.”

And too many mediocre projects have been funded just because the people pitching them showed promise.

“It doesn’t matter how fabulous you are if it’s not a great idea,” Gibson told film-makers earlier this year. “Positive decisions will seldom be made any more on the basis of giving people a go. Those days have gone. This is not the kindergarten Santa pick.”

It’s that tough talk that makes industry veteran John Barnett, of South Pacific Pictures, confident the commission will no longer be a social welfare department. If you’re a writer no-one reads or a musician no-one listens to, “there’s a point at which you go and get a job in a shoe store”, Barnett reasons.

“For a few years some people have felt that they are entitled to get money to make a film that nobody is going to watch. That was indulged, to a degree.”

While there has been mostly positive reaction to Gibson’s appointment, criticisms remain.

Earlier this year Waititi told Your Weekend that the script funding process created a mentality that you needed a grant before you could write another draft.

“The commission has many projects that have been in development for between five and 10 years that still haven’t been made. It’s just not working, and it’s not their fault,” Waititi says. “The problem is people go in with half an idea, but they don’t really know what they’re trying to make.”

Some projects, such as The Last Saint (see below) are supported but then marooned, wasting that initial investment. From the 51 projects awarded a collective $892,000 at the same time as The Last Saint, Your Weekend could find only eight finished films.

As The Last Saint has shown, it’s now possible to shoot a film without Film Commission investment. That’s good for film diversity, but it also presents a problem, Gibson explains.

“I read stories about films I’ve never heard of opening as if they were major New Zealand films and they’re actually being shot for no money in some small town somewhere. Some of them are truly utterly dreadful and that’s going to make it harder to have a brand for New Zealand films.”

So what of the threat to cinema from video-on-demand and subscription movie screening services such as Netflix, rumoured to arrive here next year Gibson laughs at the mass panic about change. The arrival of VHS wiped out his school movie market overnight, so he adapted and branched out, including into interactive museum installations.

“Change is a constant,” he says.

And where’s there’s risk there’s also opportunity. His 2012 movie Fresh Meat made good money on United States video-on-demand sites.

The Film Commission has set up its own modest VOD site and is fishing around in vaults in Eastern Europe looking for master copies of old New Zealand movies so they can digitise the 100-or-so titles yet to be scanned.

They used the VOD site to livestream Kiwi movie Everything We Loved last month , on the same night it premiered at the film festival.

That demand almost crashed the site, so it will need a big upgrade before it can achieve the dream of offering a full back catalogue of Kiwi movies for about $5 per view.

However, Mune argues the “famously malfunctioning” commission will never be fixed without more money and the removal of ultimate decision-making power from a board of accountants, bankers and lawyers to actual film-makers.

“When he got the job I said ‘Congratulations, Dave. As we know, people from the independent industry go in with a lot of determination to stop the bullshit. Most of them last a week, the really tough ones do a fortnight, before they are the same as everyone else. So, we are going to be watching you, Dave.’ ”


Finding a lost continent

New science shows New Zealand is part of a continent that’s 94 per cent underwater. Will Harvie explains.

To most people, New Zealand comprises two large islands and a scattering of small and tiny ones. Its western edge is Fiordland, its southern edge Stewart Island. Its easternmost point is the Coromandel and its northernmost edge is at North Cape. It’s about 269,000 square kilometres.

To increasing numbers of geologists, however, New Zealand is actually part of a continent, a surprisingly ungainly one, but still a proper continent. To the north and west, this continent includes New Caledonia and almost kisses Queensland. To the south, it stretches well past the Auckland and Campbell islands.

To the east, it easily envelopes the Chathams and carries well out into the Pacific. It might include – scientists aren’t sure yet – two long, thin parallel antenna that would collect Fiji and Tonga. It could be 4.9 million square kilometres.

They call it Zealandia.

It happens to be 94 per cent underwater, but that doesn’t matter to geologists or palaeontologists. They aren’t swayed by current coastlines. Their timescales don’t start 20,000 years ago, the last Ice Age. They go back 150 million years, to the time of the supercontinent Gondwana.

Viewed from that perspective and relying on the most current science available, there are now seven continents: Eurasia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Antarctica and – yes! – Zealandia.

We’ve made the Continental Club. (Debate if you like whether the Americas can be split in two and the true number of continents. For this article, Your Weekend accepts the count of authors Mortimer and Campbell.)

“It’s an idea whose time has come,” says Nick Mortimer, co-author of a new 274-page book called Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed, published yesterday.

“We’ve been writing scientific papers about Zealandia for a few years now and . . . it was time to consolidate things and put out an authoritative statement,” the GNS geologist based in Dunedin says.

Peer-reviewed academic papers discussing – indeed, proving – Zealandia is a continent have been broadly accepted by the kinds of geologists interested in continents. (See page 14). Other geologists are perhaps unaware. “A lot of overseas geologists think their geology stops at the high tide mark,” Mortimer says.

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“It comes down to branding,” he says. He means educating geologists and the public that Zealandia exists, and that it matters. “Identifying a continent is quite a big deal. It’s one of the fundamental divisions of planet Earth.”

And why does it matter

“Zealandia is of continental proportions and hence its potential energy and mineral resources are of continental proportions,” Mortimer and co-author Hamish Campbell write. “To date, New Zealand and New Caledonia have barely started exploring beyond their immediate shores.”

The authors are confident the geography and geology of Zealandia will lead to “sustainable living standards and cultural and environmental security well into the future”.

Zealandia the continent also says something about biodiversity. “Life, death, evolution, extinction and change are what happens on planet Earth. In our Zealandian melting pot, as species become extinct so new hybrids and species will evolve. Nature is no conservationist,” they write. The long, geological view is “rarely raised in discussions of modern biodiversity”.

There’s also a chance for new

understandings. For example, some peoples of the South Pacific now have more in common than our recent human past. We should also clamour for smaller things: Climbers wanting to stand atop the highest point on every continent now have an additional destination and old successes are now incomplete.

There is no eighth continent emerging from the scientific literature. In the late 1970s, scientists proposed a continent called Pacifica that supposedly peeled off Gondwana and still lurked beneath the Pacific Ocean. Later data showed the idea was incorrect. Captain Cook never discovered Terra Australis.

The next largest feature that might be considered continental is the Ontong Java Plateau, which lies mostly submerged north of the Solomons. It is less than half the size of Zealandia.

Our continent is by far the smallest on Earth, about one-third the size of Australia. But Zealandia is more than twice the size of Greenland, the world’s largest island (the South Island is 12th largest).

What sets Zealandia apart is the area above seawater: just 6 per cent. Africa is 85 per cent above water, Eurasia 75 per cent and Australia 64 per cent. Antarctica is 47 per cent above water, largely because the mass of the ice pushes the continent down.

Oceania and Australasia are political and cultural terms. Zealandia is authored by science, a “classic case of piecing together scraps of scientific information and being able to recognise the big picture”, the authors write.

The term Zealandia was first applied to the underwater continent by an American geoscientist, Bruce Luyendyk, in a 1995 paper. It caught on.

“It’s a quite a useful name,” Mortimer says. If people can locate New Zealand, they can start locating Zealandia.

“Our newfound continental Zealandian heritage is literally a big deal and it should be talked about, discussed, entertained and celebrated,” the authors write.

Like, for example, this useful result: New Caledonia is the real North Island, and the land mass containing Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland is really the Middle Island.

– Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed by Hamish Campbell and Nick Mortimer. Penguin and GNS Science, 274 pages, $55.

– Your Weekend


Album stream: Robert Plant’s Lullaby And…The Ceaseless Roar.

Be the first to listen to Robert Plant’s new album, Lullaby And…The Ceaseless Roar before it will be released next Friday

The album features 11 new recordings, nine of which are original songs written by Plant with his band, The Sensational Space Shifters.