The top 20 most watched videos on in 2012 show animals, the Rena debacle and freakish weather were favourites among Kiwis this year.

A video featuring playful dolphins swimming with beachgoers on the North Shore was the number one most watched video this year, with almost four times the amount of views than the next contender.

A dog's hair-raising encounter with a killer whale last month was also hugely popular at number 12 on the list and a clip featuring driving dogs sparked attention both locally and around the globe.

When colleagues of three New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan in August performed a haka as a tribute, thousands of Kiwis were watching, making the footage the second most watched video on the site this year.


The stricken cargo ship Rena's spectacular split on the Astrolabe Reef was another point of interest, with two clips in the top 20.

Sport reserved its spot as a Kiwi favourite with videos on a terrible soccer penalty kick and Sonny Bill Williams' bid for the boxing heavyweight title making the cut.

Dubbed the fastest player in world rugby, Carlin Isles also came in at number 15 with this clip of him terrorising the sevens circuit. Now a sevens player for the United Sates National Team, Isles once ranked in the top 40 fastest sprinters in the United States.

It would be surprising not to see at least something Hobbit-related on the list, so naturally a timelapse video of the construction of Wellington Airport's terrifying "Gollum" sculpture was a popular watch.

New Zealanders' enduring fixation with the weather shone through too with three of the top 20 videos looking at weather "bombs" and tornado damage.

Viewers were similarly enthralled with a clip of a train ploughing through snow in the Arthur's Pass - also a YouTube hit.

But we weren't just driven by entertainment this year. A video with practical information about the give way rule changes made the top 20 as road users feared chaos leading up to March 25.

And finally, there's nothing like a couple of freak automobile incidents to get some hits. A video showing a Kiwi driver continuing to drive after rolling his ute, and a crash involving a Lamborghini worth quarter of a million dollars both made it into the top 10.

Top 20 watched clips on

1. Dolphins play at Takapuna.

2. Moving haka tribute to fallen soldiers goes viral

3. Miss Malawi shoves Miss New Zealand at pageant

4. Floating islands of pumice off New Zealand coast

5. Kiwi driver rolls ute and keeps on driving

6. Raw: Damage after tornadoes hit Auckland

7. Teaching dogs to drive

8. Raw video: Rena breaks up on Astrolabe Reef

9. Raw footage: Rena broken in two

10. US $225,000 Lamborghini Gallardo crashes

11. Hobbit timelapse: "Gollum" built at Wellington airport

12. Raw video: Dog encounters orca

13. NZ YouTube hit: Train ploughing through deep snow

14. Sonny Bill and Tillman trade blows

15. Play of the day: World's fastest rugby player

16. Inside the Sonny Bill Williams camp after the fight

17. Soccer: Is this the worst penalty ever taken?

18. Raw: Storm, tornadoes, heavy rain hits Auckland

19. Two of the give way rules are changing

20. Weather Watch: "Weather bomb" headed our way