As we wave goodbye to the 2010s, we take a look at some of the biggest stories of the decade. An eruption, oily shipwreck, floods, new housing debacle, bacterial disease and a potentially lethal virus are some of the stories that saw - and continue to gather - multiple headlines around the Western Bay.
Psa Outbreak- 2010
A bacteria that can kill kiwifruit vines swept the Western Bay in 2010. Psa-V ravaged Bay of Plenty orchards, all but wiping out the higher-value Hort16A gold variety. Many people feared the industry may not recover and return to profitability.
At the height of the outbreak, growers cut entire gold crops and orchard prices plummeted to bare land value. Then-Zespri chief executive Lain Jager said within weeks, a massive, co-ordinated response was under way involving a response plan.
"We made a request to Government for $25 million in funding to be matched dollar for dollar by the industry."
Pāpāmoa kiwifruit grower Rob Thode told the Bay of Plenty Times earlier this year he lost half his income in 2010 due to Psa.
''It was terrible, seeing the vines bleed red which was what they did, it was totally devastating. It's your land; it's your heart and what you pour everything into.''
Thode said some of his friends ''lost everything'' and he recalls one piece of advice from a ministry official "to just walk off your land".
Within a year of the Psa discovery, growers had started to graft on the new Gold3 variety, which has proven to be tolerant to Psa and 30 per cent more productive than the Hort16 variety. Industry returns rose 47 per cent from 2014 to 2017, largely driven by the success of the SunGold variety.
Orchard values started climbing again, and continue to rise.
Meanwhile, kiwifruit growers hope the Ministry for Primary Industries will finally be held to account over Psa.
MPI was found to be negligent in allowing the disease into the country, but the department is appealing the High Court ruling.
In July 2018 the Government almost doubled its compensation estimate to $800 million and has not provided an updated prediction since.
Wreck of the Rena - October 5, 2011
Container ship Rena grounded on the Bay's Astrolabe Reef while approaching Tauranga Harbour October 5, 2011.
The Liberian-flagged, Mediterranean Shipping Company chartered vessel spilt 350 tonnes of oil into the ocean and killed thousands of seabirds in days, causing Environment Minister Nick Smith to describe the stranding as New Zealand's "worst maritime environmental disaster".
Nine hundred and 50 tonnes of oily waste was subsequently collected from Bay beaches. Eighty-seven containers were washed overboard, birdlife suffered, and more damage was done when the Rena broke in half in January 2012.
A salvage operation which cost $700 million ended in April 2016 after sea conditions had frequently hindered work. It was the second most expensive wreck removal in the world, after the Costa Concordia in Italy.
Owners and insurers received resource consent to leave a portion of the Rena on the reef 'in an environmentally benign state'. The ruling was appealed by Mōtītī iwi Te Patuwai (known as Ngāi Te Hapū) and others who wanted everything removed.
The Rena is the largest ship ever lost in New Zealand waters.
Its captain and navigating officer were sentenced to seven months in jail for causing the disaster.
The Rena has become a diving destination. A local scientist told the Bay of Plenty Times earlier this year people were still affected by the Rena spill, and Tauranga residents occasionally contacted the Coastal Marine Field Station with ongoing concerns.
Katikati Drug Raid Fire - 9 December, 2012
An industrial building burst into flames after armed police conducted a drug raid on a suspected P lab in Katikati.
About two dozen officers, including the Armed Offenders Squad, stormed into Katikati shortly before a series of loud explosions were heard coming from a residential housing block on Park Rd in December 2012. Neighbours were told to keep indoors while police swarmed around the former KingKat factory. Residents said a group of young people had been living in the building.
Shortly after police arrived, the shed caught fire and loud explosions echoed across town. Bright orange flames leapt from the shed and thick, black smoke billowed from the roof. A neighbour said a member of the AOS team warned her to stay indoors as the shed contained volatile chemicals. Police brought three people from the house before it exploded. Some neighbours were evacuated after being informed there were toxic fumes in the smoke.
A jury in the High Court at Rotorua in 2014 found four of the six Bay people accused of being involved in a drug ring which ended in fire at a Katikati building guilty of a raft of P-related offences. Two others were acquitted.
Karl Rodney Goldsbury, 39, of Maketu was found guilty of one count each of supplying the precursor hypophosphorous acid, possession of iodine, supplying P, conspiracy to manufacture P, and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
In sentencing him to 10½ years in prison, Justice Patrick Keane ruled Karl must serve a minimum of five years before being eligible for parole.
The Parole Board earlier this year decided to grant Goldsbury an early release from prison.
Goldsbury credits the influence of Te Ao Marama - the Māori focus unit at Waikeria Prison - as a turning point in his life.
He will be Rangatahi Kaitiaki (youth guardian) - part of a programme running in a new Youth Justice Remand home in Tauranga's Pillans Point, supporting young offenders aged 14 to 18.
Since being granted early release in May at age 44, Goldsbury has been living at his parents' house in Maketu.
"I am in bed by eight. I don't socialise ... the most exciting thing I do in the evening is sit and chat with the old man. I go to the gym in the morning and afternoon, and am just getting used to being reacquainted with my family. "
Swept to Sea - Two boys, two years apart - 2014 and 2016
The death of 17-year-old Hamish Rieger on January 23, 2016 left veteran Mount Maunganui surf lifeguard Kent Jarman reeling.
A rogue wave snatched the teenager at the end of Moturiki (Leisure) Island and swept him out to sea.
The next day, Jarman helped recover the body of a teenager he had watched grow from a young nipper to a lifeguard.
"At least with Hamish, we found him quite quickly, it is so important for the family in terms of getting some closure."
Two years earlier, Jarman spent 10 days searching for 5-year-old Jack Dixon who was swept away by a rogue wave at Mount Maunganui on October 1, 2014.
A lingering sense of frustration remains that they were never able to find him.
"Jack touched the community. It certainly touched all of us here at the club.
"They are the sort of things you never forget. Two different circumstances, both very tragic."
Tauranga Moana Iwi Settlement - 2014/2015
The Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective and the Crown signed a Deed of Settlement January 21, 2015. A Deed to Amend was signed on November 1, 2015.
Members of the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective are Ngati Pukenga, Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Ranginui.
The settlement says members of the collective, "... suffered significantly from Crown breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. The iwi suffered loss of life, loss of land and loss of connection with culturally significant areas and resources. Their claims have been inquired into and reported on by the Waitangi Tribunal in two reports (2004 report on the Tauranga confiscation claims and 2010 report on Tauranga Moana claims 1886-2006) which provide comprehensive descriptions of the grievances and Treaty breaches."
In 2010 Treaty settlement negotiations between Te Au Maaro o Ngāti Pūkenga ("Te Au Maaro") and the Crown began in earnest. Due to the geographical spread of Ngāti Pūkenga, negotiations were split between two Crown negotiation regions (Tauranga and Hauraki) and between individual and Collective negotiations.
Following a Crown determination process that finished in June 2014, sale and leaseback sites and the majority of right of first refusal properties were reallocated to the individual iwi within the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective.
In September 2014, the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective and the Crown reached final agreements on collective redress.
As part of the settlement, trustees of the Mauao Trust and the Tauranga City Council agreed to a new joint approach to the administration of the Mauao Historic Reserve, in which control and management of the reserve will be transferred from Tauranga City Council to a new joint administering body. The Mauao Historic Reserve will be managed and administered by a joint management body.
Other provisions of the settlement specified land in the Bay of Plenty to be returned to iwi, plus payouts of millions of dollars to Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui.
Tauranga Eastern Link (TEL) Opening - July 30, 2015
One of New Zealand's fastest legal stretches of open road opened in July 2015. The Tauranga Eastern Link is four lanes wide and stretches from Te Maunga junction in Tauranga to Paengaroa.
It replaced a section of State Highway 2, improving access to Tauranga from the east (Te Puke, Whakatane, Opotiki, Gisborne) and south (Rotorua and Taupo).
It became the main route for trucks heading to the Port of Tauranga from Rotorua and the eastern Bay of Plenty, and connected the Central Plateau forestry industry with the port to facilitate lumber export.
Construction of the Tauranga Eastern Link officially started in November 2010 and was due for completion in 2016. But roadworks ran six months ahead of schedule and the project was officially opened in late July 2015.
Cost to build the road was $455 million. The speed limit for the eastern end of the TEL - Domain Rd to Paengaroa - increased to 110km/h in 2017.
The 15km section of State Highway 2 is also one of the country's three tolled highways, carrying trip fees of $2 to $5.
Packhouse Worker Deaths - August 2, 2016 - and Highway 2 Road Toll
Five Tongan coolstore workers killed in a horror crash between a car and truck near Katikati were remembered as "fine young men".
Halani Fine, Koli Vaipulu, Sitiveni Vaipulu, Sione Teulaka, and Samuela Taukatelata died when their car collided with a truck on State Highway 2 on August 2, 2016.
The crash also took a toll on two families with the accident claiming the lives of father and son Koli Vaipulu and Sitiveni Vaipulu, and brothers-in-law Samuela Taukatelata and Sione Teulaka.
The victims, including a father and son, were all workers at Aongatete Coolstores and had just finished their shift when the car they were in pulled out of a side road. They were hit by a southbound logging truck.
The truck driver was shaken but uninjured.
Tongan staff earlier this year getting ready for packing season frequently visited the memorial at the packhouse for the five workers who lost their lives.
The death and injury toll on the infamous stretch of State Highway 2 between Tauranga and Katikati has the NZ Transport Agency proposing to lower the speed limit in an effort to save lives and prevent serious injuries from crashes along the high-risk road, according to a written statement from NZTA.
Acting director of regional relationships Ross I'Anson said in 10 years from 2009 to 2018, 27 people lost their lives and 77 were seriously injured in crashes on this section of SH2.
I'Anson said there were more vehicles, including heavy vehicles, using this section of SH2 than ever before and crashes on the route could cause extensive delays and long detours.
"We're currently making SH2 between Waihi and Omokoroa safer by improving intersections and installing roadside safety barriers, widening the road shoulder and putting in a wide centreline. These safety improvements are already well under way and, together with the right speed limit, will make SH2 safer for everyone," l'Anson said.
Local residents have been asking successive central governments for decades to improve SH2 by creating a four-lane highway between Tauranga and Katikati.
Early this year, the NZ Transport Agency confirmed a four-lane highway "is not considered an investment priority for the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme and construction".
Edgecumbe Floods - April 6, 2017
Children at Edgecumbe Primary School are still affected by the flood that hit their town two years ago.
"We still have the post-trauma," principal Kahu Walker says.
"We'll get times where children dive under a table if it's going to rain really hard. There is the occasional time when a student might come to me and say 'Are we okay today'?"
After days of relentless heavy rain, Walker decided to close the school before the flood hit on April 6, 2017, about 8.30am.
The Rangitāiki River – the Bay of Plenty's largest – burst through a stopbank and flooded the township.
Flood waters were 6.19 metres high before the breach.
Edgecumbe's only supermarket, SuperValue, reopened in October.
The Whakatāne District Council says 98 per cent of flood-damaged homes have been repaired and reoccupied.
The repairs carried out in the College Rd area had a budget of $5 million, which included purchasing and removing buildings from the 12 properties opposite the breach site.
The cost of the stopbank construction, which included installation of services and road reconstruction, came in under its $3.3m budget.
Mount Base Track Closure - April, 2017
A 14m wide slip buried a section of the Mount base track on the southern point after ex-Cyclone Debbie hit in April 2017.
By July of that year Tauranga City Council had opened a temporary path with boxed steps going over the slipped section.
It made the full loop accessible to walkers but not to people using wheelchairs or prams. Box steps were built up and around the slip site. They are designed to be removable.
An initial cost to rebuild the base track came in at $2.2 million but looked likely to climb further.
After the election of a new council in October 2019, a decision was made to repair the track as soon as possible.
The new plan involves minor excavations, clearing away the slip, re-aligning the track along the slope, installing a hand-rail and improving drainage.
This faster repair option is expected to cost much less than the original $2.2 million approved by council and was set for completion by Friday (December 20).
America's Cup in Tauranga - August 27, 2017
The Auld Mug toured Tauranga in August 2017 following the New Zealand win of the America's Cup. A group of sailors, including Tauranga native Peter Burling carried the enormous trophy as crowds cheered.
Burling's old school welcomed him with a haka and he was quick to thank the local community for their support.
"The world champs is a big event for us ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ... so it's a pretty exciting time for us."
Tuke and Burling became the first sailors to win four consecutive 49er World Championships - 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The men have set up Live Ocean, a registered New Zealand charity with a focus on ocean conservation.
Bella Vista Homes - March 2018
Twenty-one homes built by Bella Vista Homes in Tauranga's Lakes subdivision were suddenly evacuated by Tauranga City Council in March 2018.
Progress on the development stopped in November 2017, leaving behind unfinished houses and millions of dollars in outstanding debts. Bella Vista Homes went into voluntary liquidation November 30, 2018.
The company left behind 30 unfinished houses and millions of dollars in outstanding debts to creditors.
By mid-March this year, liquidators had received total claims of $3.7 million.
Following liquidation, Tauranga City Council started to assess all the homes, including inspections by building and engineering specialists, to find out what the homes needed to be compliant with the Building Code.
Then early on March 9, the council was told by a geotechnical specialist 21 properties needed to be vacated.
Thirteen families were affected.
Findings of a long-awaited internal investigation into the role of Tauranga City Council staff in the failure of Bella Vista Homes were released in September – but only partly.
One major finding is that the Bella Vista subdivision "threw up a particularly egregious conflict of interest that was identified late, treated too lightly (if not ignored) and was poorly managed if managed at all".
The report concluded there were two major areas of deficiency that led to the Bella Vista subdivision's failure: ground stability and retention; and building construction. Retired judge Graeme Colgan wrote there was "substandard construction of dwellings" and "substandard inspection and approval of those substandard dwellings".
He says council staff - employees and contractors - had roles in each of those broad deficiencies.
All 16 Lakes Boulevard homes are earmarked for removal, with the remaining five homes on Aneta Way proposed to be repaired and sold on their existing sections.
Tauranga City Council bought all 21 properties from affected homeowners after the Bella Vista development failed and problems were found with the houses and sections.
Former mayor Greg Brownless said insurance paid out $10.55 million for the homes and land, which will offset much of the $14m cost of buying the homes.
Measles Outbreak - 2019
The number of confirmed cases of measles across the Bay of Plenty region has seen a significant drop in recent weeks.
Only one confirmed case of measles had been identified in the region this month. Toi Te Ora medical officer of health Dr Neil de Wet said the last confirmed case was in the Eastern Bay of Plenty on December 5.
Figures to date show there were 41 confirmed cases of measles in the Western Bay, three in the Eastern Bay, 19 in Rotorua and 11 in Taupō.
De Wet said an apparent decrease in cases was likely to do with an increased uptake of vaccinations due to public awareness.
In 2019, there was a 70 per cent increase in people getting their measles vaccine compared to last year. September saw the highest number of people getting their vaccinations, he said.
However, de Wet said there were still a number of cases across the country and in the Pacific Islands.
Samoa has suffered a measles outbreak and Kiribati reported its first case of measles earlier this week. Samoa's government says 76 people have died as a result of measles since the outbreak began. There are 126 people with measles in hospital, including 17 children in intensive care.
US health officials confirmed three children recently hospitalised with measles in Colorado travelled from New Zealand to Los Angeles International Airport before arriving in Denver. Officials said the children had not been vaccinated, officials said.
Bellevue Shooting - November 24, 2019
A man who held three children hostage inside a property in Tauranga in November was shot dead by police.
Two young children were carried to safety in the arms of armed police moments after the man was killed.
The children, aged 4 and 6, were taken out the front door and rushed to an ambulance following a 15-hour ordeal which began in the early hours of Sunday morning when the man threatened his partner with a knife.
Police were called to Oriana Cres house in Bellevue at about 12.30am.
A woman escaped and went to a nearby home for help.
Police rescued the eldest child, an 11-year-old from the two-storey home. There were concerns for the other children's health due to lack of food and potential for dehydration due to high temperatures in the home.
At 3pm, after negotiators and psychologists made the decision they "were not going to get any further with the offender", police stormed the house.
AOS members climbed a ladder at the side of the house and smashed a window into the top floor at the same time a series of loud bangs sounded.
Police said the AOS team entered the house to find the man holding a knife to one of the children's chest.
He was shot by police and pronounced dead at the scene.
The children were expected to receive continuing support and counselling.
Whakaari/White Island - December 9, 2019
At 2.11pm December 9, 2019 Whakaari/White Island erupted, firing a plume of ash 3.6km above its vent. Forty-seven people were on or around the island off the shore of the Bay of Plenty.
As of December 20, 16 people have died as a result of the eruption and two bodies are still missing, thought to be washed to sea.
A volcanologist has described the quick-fire type of eruption at White Island today as "basically instantaneous".
Ahead of the eruption, authorities raised its Volcanic Alert Level to Level 2, as scientists observed increasing amounts of sulphur dioxide gas - a key indicator of rising magma deep in its bowels.
Many of those on the island during the eruption were from the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship Ovation of the Seas.
Fourteen people are being treated at hospitals in New Zealand and 13 others have been repatriated to Australia. Many have life-threatening burns and internal chemical burns from breathing toxic gases
First responders, including helicopter pilots, medics and tourists described victims with "horrific burns".
More than 1.2 million square centimetres of donor skin was being sent from the US to treat patients because there were not enough skin donors in Australasia to cover the crisis.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stopped short of committing to a Government probe into the Whakaari / White Island eruption and says no decision will be made before next year.
There are currently two probes already running into the eruption: one by workplace watchdog WorkSafe, and a second by the coroner with the assistance of police.
Specialist teams, plus navy and police divers have searched surrounding waters for the missing bodies.