The Herald asked people who made the news this year to tell us what they've learnt in their own words.

You will remember Jake Bailey as the Christchurch Boys' High School head boy who gave that heart-wrenching speech in 2015.

Since then, the cancer survivor has gone on to become a public speaker, author, charity ambassador and columnist for the NZ Herald.

What have you learnt this year?

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My biggest lesson I've learnt this year is the importance of not being too hard on yourself. There's rarely a need to be critical of yourself for the mistakes you've made, as long as you made the best decision, and did the best that you could have at the time. Don't dwell on it.

Would you change anything?
Never. I wouldn't ever wish to change the past, because the person you are today is the sum of all of your experiences to date. I've definitely learnt a few tough lessons this year, but I wouldn't change that either.

Would you do it all over again?
It's been the best year of my life so far, and I've been incredibly lucky in a lot of different ways. I'm pretty grateful for every year I get, but this one has been exceptional.