What a difference a year can make.
Looking back to the beginning of 2021, most of us were glad to see off 2020. We had high hopes the new year would be brighter and better.
And it was, to start with. Covid was a background (mostly offshore) hum with the prospect of vaccines on the horizon. Best of all, we were living freely.
But then, around the middle of the year, a new buzz: Delta.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins warned lockdowns would be likely were the new variant to arrive here. Then, one day in August, it arrived here.
A single case of Covid was detected in Auckland. The world mocked us as the Government immediately placed us into a level 4 lockdown.
In the end, our Auckland neighbours spent more than 100 days in various levels of lockdown.
Mask wearing became the norm, and the push to get everyone vaccinated was on.
Everybody has a story to tell about someone they know who won't get the jab. They are either fearful of the vaccine, or don't like being told what to do.
There were protests and we here at the Advocate had a number of incidents, most recently last week, when a placard-toting group arrived at our offices, demanding we "tell the truth".
A couple refused to leave until someone agreed to speak with them
Now, the Advocate is a firm believer in the right to protest. The right to free speech is absolute, but this unruly gathering achieved nothing.
They accused us of lying. The wider media has copped a lot of flak in the past couple of years for apparently failing to be truthful with the public, or, worse, "keeping silent", apparently in service of a corrupt government.
Frankly, none of it makes sense. If hundreds of people were dying from the vaccine we would certainly be reporting it and in my 30-odd years in journalism, I have never seriously been told what to report on by the Government.
Nor have any of my colleagues around this country. The Government would get short shrift if it tried.
From the discussion I have had with the anti-vaxxers – all of them uniformly appalled by the government's response to the pandemic - it is obvious emotions are running high.
I've never seen the media under sustained attack for simply doing its job.
No matter what side you stand on the very fabric of our society increasingly feels torn.
So as 2021 draws to a close, it's hard to see what 2022 will look like. I'm hopeful it will be positive and we can start to heal, move past Covid and mend the divisions. Who knows, we may even get to travel again.
In the meantime, thank you for your letters, comments and for sticking with us through the year.
Let me wish you and your family a happy and peaceful Christmas.