He was UK-born but Hawke's Bay claims him as one of its own, with deep affection.

On May 2, at Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas, William Trubridge broke the World free immersion dive record of 124 metres - 2m further than the record he'd set two days earlier.

But there was more to come on June 16, when he sank to even lower depths by increasing the record to 132m, while in July he would also set a new constant weight without fins record of 102m, feats which would later in the year earn a nomination in the Halberg Sports Awards.

Back home, Hawke's Bay weather had been going just swimmingly, even if the temperatures themselves took a bit of a dive on December 5, when there was some flooding in Dannevirke.


On June 14, wind greeted runners for the first Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay Marathon, which ended in tragedy with adventuresome Samuel Gibson critically injured when his specially-adapted wheelchair crashed. He did not survive and a few days later about 700 were at the funeral of the man who despite a lifetime of disability caused by a genetic brittle bone condition had become a sought-after motivational speaker, generally around the premise that anybody can do anything.

The last week of May was Budget Week, but the further raising of the price of cigarettes, designed to curb the smoking habit throughout the country, introduced another society problem with an increase in dairy and service station robberies as tobacco products became the new currency of the black market.

From the last week of May to the end of August there were almost 20 such robberies in Hawke's Bay. The first, a few hours before future Prime Minister Bill English's Budget 2016 announcement, involved a brother and sister taking an opportunist approach to the lone attendant at a Havelock North service station and was an aberration in the overall context, but it was a sign of things to come, and the stupidity of the crime of aggravated robbery, for which offenders can be sentenced to up to 14 years' jail.

A warning shot, as it happens, was the sentencing of a 17-year-old youth to two years' jail for aggravated robbery in the planned attack by four young Hastings people on a Napier pizza delivery man in January.

This was part of a more general picture profiling crime, which tends to escalate towards the winter months. This year it was with us right from the start of May, when a man was stabbed with a screwdriver and hit with a table after discovering an intruder in his home just south of Hastings, at 7.50 on a Sunday morning (May 1).

Sadly, it wasn't the only such incident in the area. On May 11, two people were injured in another home invasion, in which a vehicle was stolen, later to be crashed on the Napier-Taupo road, while about 12.30 on the Saturday morning of June 25 two young woman burst into a house in Hastings, attacked the 77-year-old male occupant and took his car.

Just as sadly, the extremes of crime tend to mask some of the overall realities, but there was one statistic which may have given a heads-up, a revelation mid-May that there had been 130 reports of assaults in central Hastings in 2015, making it the most prone zone for that sort of thing in Hawke's Bay.

Among those who have spent a lot of time searching for answers is Hastings paediatrician Russell Wills, who at the end of May ended a five-year appointment as national Commissioner for Children.


In February he had ticked off the Government for not committing itself to a programme to reduce child poverty, and he exited with his final State of Care report which called for the Government to ensure steps were in place to make sure performance doesn't "dip" as the Child, Youth and Family service is transformed into an entity of its own as the Ministry for Vulnerable Children.

His successor, Youth Court chief judge Andrew Becroft, had often advocated that a child in sport is a child out of court, which was somewhere in the thinking of Sir Graeme Avery on June 11 when he unleashed a concept for the AUT Millennium Hawke's Bay, essentially a sports development project proposed to be based at the Regional Sports Park in Hastings but with tentacles out across the region to make sure the best of sports opportunities are available to everyone in the region.

Of course, Hawke's Bay's not a bad sort of place for such a project, given the climate of the region which is good most of the time, but was even better in May and June, and it was official. On June 23, by which time Napier, as one example, had had just 1mm of rain for the month, MetService revealed that the five months or so since January 1 had been the second-driest January-June on record.

It had to change sometime, heavy rain finally coming on June 29-30, but just enough, as it turned out, to keep the farmers happy.

There were some big winners in May and June, notably with the next steps in settlements of Treaty claims compensating for land confiscations and other misdeeds of the Crown following its purchases of land from Maori dating back to the 1850s.

Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa representatives and Minister of Treaty Negotiations Chris Finlayson signed-off one of the biggest at Parliament on May 25, a deal which was consummated in Wairoa in November. Redress includes a $100m cash and commercial package seen by all as a major fillip for the Wairoa area and its people.

Another winner was kayaker Aimee Fisher who won the supreme honour at the Hawke's Bay Sports Wards on May 21. She wasn't able to be there on the night, but did get in a trip home soon afterwards, before heading off to represent New Zealand at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.