Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire: It's January, and we're already saying goodbye to 2017

Year since Richie wed Gemma and Serena discovered wind has been filled with surprises.
President-elect Donald Trump made his mark all over 2017. Photo / AP
President-elect Donald Trump made his mark all over 2017. Photo / AP

So farewell then, 2017. It's been a blast, a bewilderment, a blur.

In many ways it seems like just yesterday that we were greeting the new year, as if it were mere days since the news was full of breezy speculation about Richie and Gemma's wedding, investigations revealing that John Key had put some petrol in his car, and the sight of Serena Williams encountering for the first time a form of weather called wind.

Since then, of course, so much has happened. Truly it has been a momentous year, more so even, some say, than the tumultuous 2016. Unlike that accursed year, however, we can at least thank Medecins Sans Frontieres for taking measures to ensure that in 2017 no beloved celebrities died.

Back in January, attentions were focused on Washington DC, and the inauguration of Donald J Trump.

Having fended away unverified allegations that he had been compromised by the Kremlin after indulging in vengeful urine-based sex games in the Moscow Ritz Carlton and verified allegations that he had boasted of sexual conquests in which he would "grab them by the pussy", Trump became the 45th president of the USA at a ceremony most notable for the performance by the organisers' No 1 celebrity choice, the 2011 breakout star Rebecca Black, performing her viral hit "Friday".

Upon entering the White House, President Trump immediately issued an executive order renaming all the days in January Friday.

Back in New Zealand, the new PM Bill English weighed things up and decided against attending official Waitangi Day celebrations, saying the protests made New Zealanders cringe. Steven Joyce decided against attending, saying the protests made him flinch.

Later in February a byelection happened in Mt Albert but nobody noticed, with Bill English having weighed things up and decided against standing a candidate. Kim Dotcom announced that he knew of devastating materials which when made public would bring down the National government.

Facing growing pressure to resign over a bribery scandal, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to deflect attention by pledging to make good on his reported assertion it was a "declaration of war" for New Zealand to support a UN resolution condemning Hamas's illegal violence and Israel's illegal settlements. Bloggers claimed that this had been the real reason behind John Key's shock resignation.

In Washington, Donald Trump appointed his son, Barron, to the Supreme Court as an early 11th birthday present.

As summer melted into Autumn, catastrophic weather struck the breadth and length of the nation, which Rev Brian Tamaki was quick to blame on annoying road works near his house.

There was speculation about Richie and Gemma's wedding and Lorde became embroiled in controversy following claims that lyrics from her long-awaited sophomore album had been plagiarised from Gareth Morgan's policy announcements.

Bloggers claimed that this had been the real reason behind John Key's shock resignation. Winston Peters announced that he knew of devastating materials which when made public would bring down the National government.


Julian Assange escaped from the Ecuadorean embassy in London after knitting his beard into a Rapunzel-style rope ladder.

New Zealand successfully deterred the might of the Israeli military through the use of Psy-Op strategies including YouTube clips of the Air Force 757 occupying Townsville and looped footage of Peter Leitch saying "You just can't beat the Mad Butcher's meat". Bill English weighed things up and decided against continuing to take part in Parliamentary Question Time, saying it made New Zealanders cringe.

In glittering back-to-back summits in Moscow and DC, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin rebuilt bilateral relations over blinis and Coke, signifying a new dawn immediately dubbed "the gold war".

The US president fended away torrents of further ineffably stomach-churning allegations to form a committee in which a range of subversive elements were confronted with the now famous interrogation, "Are you now or have you ever been a fake news?"

Before long it became accepted that Trump's success could be wholly attributed to those who criticised the ways he is appalling, because that just made people like him more, and so it was agreed that no one should point out the ways he is appalling any more.

In winter, the Lions tour to New Zealand was quickly engulfed in scandal after Brian O'Driscoll charged on to Eden Park to pay tribute to unverified allegations relating to Donald Trump all over the haka.

Steve Hansen expressed his disappointment in a series of lengthy and unintelligible noises. John Key was announced as Dom Dom and Jay Jay's new breakfast radio co-host. Bill English weighed things up and decided against appearing as a guest on the show, saying it made New Zealanders cringe.

There were elections in a range of countries including France, Germany and South Korea, but not China. Trump appointed his horse to the role of secretary of state, a delicious sponge cake as National Security Adviser, and defeated Isis by deploying his top secret 11 herbs and spices across the Middle East.

Speculation that Bill English had weighed things up and decided against entering National in the general election proved unfounded, and he led a successful campaign under the banner "Team Key".

Labour was widely regarded as having blown their chances when Andrew Little told media he planned to solve the housing crisis by building several thousand homes "out of the screeds of f------ 'Little must do f------ this' that you f------ write every day".

Kim Dotcom announced that he knew of devastating materials which when made public would bring down the National government - next year.

National, of course, needed New Zealand First's support to govern, and Winston Peters reluctantly accepted the new role of First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral Archbishop and Grand Poobah.

And that brings us just about to the present day. Needless to say events of the last month or so have been explosive, and remain so fresh in minds that they hardly need revisiting.

Suffice it to say, however, that few expected that Trump's demise would centre on video footage which destroyed his reputation by showing him being generous to an immigrant and helping a homeless person cross the street.

There is a weighty irony, meanwhile, in how little time passed before people became nostalgic for the departed Donald, faced as they are with President Pence. It is hard to avoid concluding that John Key saw all of this coming, and that was the real reason behind his shock resignation. Next week, predictions for 2018. Happy Christmas!
ENDS

- NZ Herald

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Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire is a Wellington bred, Auckland based journalist. He writes a weekly column for the NZ Herald, the NZ Listener's Internaut column, blogs for listener.co.nz, and contributes to the Guardian. From 2000 to 2010 he worked at the Guardian in London, and edited the 2012 book The Arab Spring: Rebellion, Revolution and a New World Order.

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