Her Majesty The Queen once coined the term annus horribilis, meaning her most horrible year.
And that holds true for many individuals when it comes to 2019.
Homelessness, sickness, road carnage, the passing of loved-ones – our story archives are scattered with tales of woe and hardship.
But for others it's been a year of prosperity. Home owners for example have witnessed substantial capital gains on their investments with the latest QV valuations showing big gains across the city.
Whanganui's economic development agency chief executive Mark Ward is upbeat about the year ahead and says despite the rising house prices, Whanganui retains some of the most affordable housing in the country.
He acknowledges the ups and downs of the last decade but holds a much more positive outlook for the year, and the decade, ahead.
He points to various indicators. One is population growth – up 9.2 per cent to a record high of 47,300. People want to live and do business here in what is currently New Zealand's most beautiful city.
Yes traffic congestion has become an issue, but the city is alive with art studios, walkers, events, people earning good livings and raising families. There is a vibe about Whanganui that simply did not exist several years ago.
Yet we still have our challenges.
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People are retraining, upskilling and meeting the needs of modern business like never before. Knowledge intensive industries now account for 28.7 per cent of our total fulltime jobs.
Crime remains an issue. Last year was scattered with a higher than usual number of homicides. And like elsewhere in New Zealand illicit drugs, burglaries and domestic violence all remain problems to be tackled.
Poverty too remains all too visible. The existence of the Koha Shed and similar agencies is testimony to people struggling. High rents and lack of affordable accommodation need to be addressed.
So as we leave 2019 behind, no doubt with a verse or two of Auld Lang Syne, we now look ahead, hopefully, with more optimism than before.
We have a new waste water treatment plant, we will have a refurbished Sarjeant Gallery, we may have some meaningful development at the port and remedial work on the north and south moles.
So if 2019 was your annus horribilis here's wishing that 2020 will prove the opposite.
Happy new year.