It has been one crazy year, full of challenges, hope and the community rallying around each other. Rotorua Weekender editor Shauni James takes a look at some of the highlights from the newspaper's coverage over 2020.
- Sustainable Backyards shared information on what environmental events they would have coming up.
- Caught up with Rotorua's Kymbali Dender this week all about her trip to South Africa to help marine birds.
- A new Rotary club for Rotorua - Rotary Club of Rotorua Passport - celebrated being chartered and was gearing up to make a difference in the community.
- The community was encouraged to don helmets and get pedalling for Sport Bay of Plenty Bike Month, which ran concurrently with the Aotearoa Bike Challenge.
- Sunset Primary School celebrated its new biking and playground facilities at an official opening with the community.
- The annual free Lakeside concert gears up for its 2020 show, and announces that donations raised will go towards KidsCan.
- There was plenty of action in the city as Crankworx Rotorua took place.
- The Rotorua Night Market celebrated its 10th birthday.
- The annual Children's Weekend brought many families together for fun, learning and discovery.
- Due to the impact of Covid-19, the difficult decision to pause the publication of the Rotorua Weekender was made.
- The Rotorua Weekender returned and the NZME Go Local campaign was launched, encouraging the community to support local businesses.
- The Rotorua Weekender talks to Portico Gallery and a couple of local bookshops for some insight to what sorts of things local places were doing for their business during alert level 3 and how much they were looking forward to the move to alert level 2.
- Local clubs shared how they had kept in touch during lockdown and in what creative ways they had kept their clubs running.
- We had an update with Rotorua's Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre about getting back into the swing of things after the lockdown period, and all the support they had been receiving.
- Three Rotorua youths - Flynn Finlayson, Joshua Rowe and Adam Wong-Toi - talk about their goal to tackle the Mount Everest Challenge between the three of them in 24 hours to support the Hillary Outdoor Education Centre Charitable Trust.
- The community was encouraged to celebrate its "unsung heroes" during National Volunteer Week.
- Family Focus Rotorua, Age Concern Rotorua and Grey Power Rotorua discussed Elder Abuse Awareness Week.
- Rotorua family-owned and operated business Wood Masters Limited celebrated 50 years of satisfying, diverse and interesting work.
- Rotorua Primary School had the official opening of its Bike Track and Trail. Pupils got to put their biking skills to the test on the new track and trail.
- After 66 years in the same building, Central Kids Helen Downer Kindergarten prepared for a temporary move while a new building is constructed.
- The Miss Rotorua 2020 contestants were revealed.
- The Rotorua Library shared what it would have going on throughout August for Family History Month.
- Western Heights High School student Zach Jans, 17, was the senior composition winner in the 2020 NZCT Chamber Music Contest. His piece Virtues of a Teenager was being performed by professional musicians at the contest's national finals at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington.
- The refurbishment of the Rotorua Museum uncovered a handful of historical pieces, including an early 18-century newspaper and an old diary and inkwell.
- The Rotorua Weekender talked with Kath Tappin, who started creating crochet daffodil pins in 2013 to help raise money for the Cancer Society.
- Rotorua's Thomas Tuki was named a finalist for the Attitude Community Champion Award, as part of the Attitude Awards 2020. The Attitude Awards are a national event celebrating the achievements and successes of New Zealanders living with disabilities.
- The Rotorua Cook Islands Society was looking for help and funds to carry out vital upgrades to its facilities.
- Pupils and staff at Lynmore Primary School organised a surprise citizen awards
ceremony for their principal, after discovering Lorraine Taylor had received her citizen's
certificate in the mail due to Covid-19.
- John Paul College student Ishan Nath represented New Zealand in the 2020
International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). It was his third year competing in
the event and after claiming consecutive bronze medals in 2018 and 2019, he made the breakthrough to win the New Zealand team's only gold with a score of 35 out of 42.
- Cian Elyse White, alongside producer Tweedie Waititi, won the Department of Post Best NZ Film Award at the Show Me Shorts Film Festival awards 2020, for te reo short film Daddy's Girl (Ko¯tiro). Director of photography Fred Renata also won the Best Cinematographer award for the film.
- The Rotorua Blues Festival geared up for a weekend of performances and sharing music with the community.
- Schools, businesses and community members came together with Kai Rotorua for its annual kūmara planting day at Te Puea Orchard.
- Couple Dave and Lesley Hubbard share their highlights and experiences of being involved in the local musical theatre world since 1976. They are moving to Matamata, but may still be involved in musical theatre there.
- Zonta Club of Rotorua launched its Help Sign project, which aimed to place signs giving help phone numbers for victims of family violence/harm on the insides of toilet doors in public parks and reserves, and in some public and private buildings.
- A commemoration service was held at the Government Gardens to commemorate Armistice Day.
- The Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal for the Salvation Army Foodbank was launched.
- The Rotorua Museum shared some of the community's contributions so far to its collection which will tell the personal story of the region and how it coped during the Covid-19 pandemic to future generations.
- Lynmore Primary School was celebrated as a finalist at the New Zealand Biosecurity Awards 2020 in the Kura (School) Award section.
- Pupils at Kaharoa School shared what they would miss about principal Warwick Moyle, who announced he would be retiring after 19 years at the school.
- This year's The Hits Fill the Bus, in support of the Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal for the Salvation Army Foodbank, was a huge success. A record number of 9376 items were donated, which totals to a value of $18,752.
- Carols by Candlelight brought the community together for a night of festivity.
- A festive weekend was ready for all with the Christmas Festival and Rotorua Christmas Parade.