The Rotorua Daily Post is looking back at the stories of 2020. Here's what made headlines in August.
There were tears in the eyes of some Rotorua tourism staff as news broke they would get a slice of millions handed out to key players in the sector to ensure their survival.
The Government announced $311 million of funding as part of its tourism recovery package and some of the 126 tourism businesses that applied for the funding were named as recipients.
The eight Rotorua businesses to get a mix of grants of up to $500,000 and low-interest loans were Mitai Māori Village, Polynesian Spa, Lakeland Queen, National Kiwi Hatchery at Rainbow Springs, Velocity Valley, Volcanic Air, Whakarewarewa - The Living Māori Village and the Buried Village of Te Wairoa.
Rotorua teacher Val Cooney, who taught thousands of children over nearly 60 years was censured by the Teaching Council's Disciplinary Tribunal for slapping a student and pushing another.
She spoke about her remorse and why she planned to continue to teach, despite being 79.
Rotorua residents flocked to a Covid-19 testing centre after it was revealed two positive Covid-19 cases travelled to the tourist town on the weekend.
More than 100 people were at the Vaughan Rd testing station by midday, with testing available via drive-through and walk-ins.
Most people were wearing masks and social-distancing and there was a mix of adults and children.
Marshals were directing traffic and people. Some cars were deferred when the line was too full.
She was a Rotorua police detective with national sporting prowess, he was an Olympic boxing hopeful and good friend.
But together Detective Constable Melissa-Mae Ruru, 35, and Tyson Sykes, 32, cheated the justice system by submitting false community work records which gave Sykes an "easy ride" when it came to completing a court-ordered sentence.
A Rotorua District Court jury found Ruru and Sykes guilty of one of two counts each of attempting to defeat the course of justice in 2017.
Ruru was found guilty of two separate forgery charges after she signed Sykes' signature on community work forms and an Olympic form.
The jury returned not-guilty verdicts for a joint charge the pair faced of defeating the course of justice in 2016, also relating to submitting false community work records.
Higgins was fined $270,000 and ordered to pay more than $494,000 in reparations to the whānau of three Bay of Plenty road workers killed on the job.
The company's safety failings were described as a "significant departure from industry standards" by Judge David Cameron in the Whakatāne District Court.
Rotorua men Haki Hiha, David Eparaima and Dudley Soul Raroa were killed on February 26, 2019 when a truck veered off State Highway 2 at Matatā.
Higgins pleaded guilty to not ensuring the health and safety of their staff and was convicted and sentenced.
One of New Zealand's most experienced criminal lawyers called for a public inquiry into the Whakaari/White Island eruption.
Nigel Hampton QC, who was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to law in 2018, said it was in the public interest to have an inquiry launched "immediately".
He said the longer New Zealand waited for officials to decide whether to launch one, "the less the inclination and impetus".