We lived in a vastly different place in 2004 when the Herald on Sunday launched. To mark our 10th birthday milestone, we thought we’d take a look back at the way we were — and how the last decade has shaped our everyday lives

Key Points:


We were less narcissistic. Facebook had just launched in February 2004 and there were barely a million users worldwide. We had no outlet to constantly update our status or bombard our friends with photos of our kids, our pets, or that fancy meal we just ate. There was no such thing as Instagram or Twitter. We managed to make it through most events without taking a selfie.

In Cruise control

We still loved Tom Cruise. Before any couch-jumping or Scientology rants, he was the Hollywood mega-star who stopped to help a family in a car broken down on the side of the road in Taranaki. Kim Kardashian was only known as Paris Hilton's best friend and Lorde was still in primary school.

Food for thought

Most of us had never heard of kale or quinoa or tried coconut water. Cronuts hadn't been invented and gluten was not the evil entity is has become. Cadbury still made Snifters.

Being civil

Same-sex couples were not legally recognised. The Civil Union act was passed in December that year and became legal in April 2005. Same-sex marriage became legal eight years later.

iPhone? What iPhone?

We could switch off more. The first iPhone wasn't released until 2007. Our work emails stayed on our desktop computer and didn't encroach on our weekends. Angry birds were the nesting magpies you disturbed at the beach.

Odd jobs

Social Media Editors, Professional Bloggers, App developers, YouTube stars, those people whose job it is to point you to the next available self-checkout at the supermarket - all jobs which didn't exist a decade ago.

On song

We still bought our music on CD. Apple launched iTunes in April 2003 but the online store only became available here in December 2006. Last year, digital sales overtook CD sales for the first time and Marbecks record store, an Auckland institution for almost 80 years, closed its doors (the store has since re-opened in its original location).

Fair's fair

Fair Trade had nothing to do with coffee or bananas. While the movement was slow to take off in New Zealand, four years after its launch in 2004 we boasted the fastest growing fair trade market in the world.

Hear them roar

Women ran the world - or at least the country. Our top three positions of power were held by Helen Clark as Prime Minister, Dame Silvia Cartwright as Governor-General and Dame Sian Elias as Chief Justice. Fast forward to 2014 and the balance of power has shifted back in favour of the men. Dame Sian is the only woman to still hold her position.

Hip to be square

The term "hipster" referred to a style of jeans, not a subculture of cool young urbanites. Beards were for old men or the uncool. We'd never heard of uber-hipsters Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, who were fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and still three years away from taking the US by storm.

Nine becomes eight

There were nine planets in the solar system, a belief we had held for three-quarters of a century. But that theory was shattered in January 2005 with the discovery of Eris, a rocky mass larger than Pluto. This prompted the International Astronomical Union to redefine what it meant to be a planet and Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet.


Kim Dotcom was an unknown German called Kim Schmitz and most of us didn't know what the GCSB was. George W. Bush was Time magazine's Person of the Year.

Secrets no more

The SAS was a mysterious organisation. We didn't know much about who they were or what they were up to. But all of that changed when a bearded, gun-toting Willie Apiata was photographed leaving a firefight in Kabul in January 2010. Controversy over the SAS involvement in the incident prompted Prime Minister John Key to lift the veil on secrecy surrounding their deployments.

Kitchen confidential

We weren't obsessed with cooking shows. The first season of MasterChef Australia aired in 2009 and the New Zealand series debuted the following year. Few of us had ever heard of a croquembouche. Suddenly, there was a proliferation of celebrity chefs, including Josh Emett (photo) and we all turned into amateur food critics.

Living is easy

The average price of a house in Auckland was $337,000 - and we thought that was steep. Now it has more than doubled to $711,768.

Small-screen stars

We weren't able to while the hours away watching videos of dancing cats, 80s power ballads with alternate lyrics or skateboarding tricks gone wrong. But 2005 heralded the age of YouTube. It brought the world to our fingertips and became the go-to place to find everything from online tutorials on how to make a pinata to raw and uncensored footage straight out of war zones. It is now the third most visited website in the world behind Google and Facebook and has launched the career of many a star, from Dynamo the Magician to Justin Bieber.

Out of the shades

Romance novels tended to be found only by your grandmother's bedside. Mills & Boon had that market cornered. But the genre received an overhaul and "erotic fiction" exploded into the mainstream in 2011 with the release of Fifty Shades of Grey. Women pored over its risque subject matter and it became the fastest-selling paperback of all time. The Tauranga City library hit the headlines when it had to replace its copy after it was returned with bite marks on the cover.

On the box

Gone are the days when we had to spend a fortune on DVD box sets or cram an entire TV series viewing into a weekly video rental period. Nor do we have to wait a week for the next screening after that last cliffhanger episode. Now we can "binge watch" to our hearts' content thanks to internet streaming and on-demand services. It's all about choice - and we are no longer beholden to the TV networks.

Heroes, but for how long?

We still held Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Lou Vincent and Chris Cairns (photo) in high esteem - before cheating, doping and match-fixing allegations engulfed them. John Mitchell was still the most vilified man in New Zealand sport following the All Blacks' 2003 World Cup semifinal defeat and Oscar Pistorius was a rising young star on the Paralympic scene.

People power

Consumers had less of a voice. It was hard to get noticed. But the advent of social media has given rise to people power. When Cadbury revealed in 2009 it was using palm oil, an online backlash forced it to go back to using cocoa butter. The rate word can spread through social media has shifted power towards the consumer. Want your faulty phone replaced? Just tweet the phone company about it. Fancy bringing back your favourite childhood chocolate biscuit? Start a Facebook page to lobby the makers, as Upper-Hutt mum Amber Johnson did to successfully campaign for the return of Choco-ade in 2012.