The Rotorua Daily Post is looking back at the stories of 2020. Here's what made headlines in November.
He used to clean the windscreens of people's cars at traffic lights to make a few bucks, now the former Rotorua homeless man is cleaning windows for a real job.
Brian "Bam Bam" Mollgaard was a familiar sight either sitting on footpaths with an upturned cap politely begging for money or cleaning windscreens of cars stopped at traffic lights for coins.
But thanks to a Rotorua window cleaning business owner, Bam Bam now has a job and a fresh outlook on life.
He spoke to Kelly Makiha about life as a commercial cleaner.
Eastside residents described the traffic congestion as "crawling" and "bloody disgusting", with one commuter saying it was the worst she has seen in her 15 years of living in the area.
The culprit was a change to traffic flow at the Sala St intersection, which saw the free left-hand slip lane from Te Ngae Rd on to Sala St closed. Light traffic was still allowed to turn left, but had to do so at the lights.
That created a backlog that saw traffic banked up east on Te Ngae Rd to at times, at least past the Rotorua Airport from early morning until after 10am.
It caused gridlocked traffic, frustrated drivers, delayed buses, people late for work and students late for school.
Demand for Salvation Army food parcels this year has more than doubled that of 2019 with almost two months left in the year.
And the organisation believes the need in the community is higher than its statistics suggest.
In 2019, the Rotorua Salvation Army Foodbank gave out 446 food parcels to people in need.
The number distributed so far this year is already more than double that at 1062.
Of those, 684 families or clients received food for the first time. In comparison, in 2019, there were 267 first-timers.
Demand is greater than ever as the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns are having and will have long-lasting effects.
The figures were released as the Rotorua Daily Post, with support from the Rotorua Weekender and The Hits Rotorua 97.5FM, launched its annual Christmas appeal to raise food and money for the foodbank.
Random desecration, vandalism and disrespect at Kauae Cemetery prompted a Rotorua man to take action to get security cameras.
Tony Moore launched an online petition which he intended to take to the Rotorua Lakes Council with the hope of getting the public cemetery added to the CCTV network monitored by the council.
Moore said he was prompted to start the petition after recent publicity about more acts of vandalism at Kauae Cemetery, the latest a week before when the family of murdered man Diego Hulton learned his headstone had been ripped from its foundations and the photos attached to it smashed.
For 93 years the names of four explorers have proudly rung out through the halls of Rotorua Boys' High School.
But the pride in those names was questioned. The school took a bold step and scrapped them.
Principal Chris Grinter said they did some research into the actions of Sir Walter Raleigh/Ralegh, Admiral Horatio Nelson, Sir Martin Frobisher and Sir Francis Drake - and found they had been involved and implicated in slavery.
Grinter told the Rotorua Daily Post those actions did not fit with the school.
In consultation with Ngāti Whakaue, the new house names have come from the school's pepeha (places and people you are connected to) and were revealed to the school this week at the senior prizegiving.
The new houses are Ngongotahā (red), which was formerly Drake, Utuhina (green) which was formerly Raleigh, Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe (blue) which was formerly Nelson and Te Akitu a Raukura (yellow) which was formerly Frobisher.
The head of a Rotorua security firm said out-of-town homeless in motels were destroying the city's image and the Ministry of Social Development needed to fix the problem.
But the ministry - which is responsible for putting people in emergency housing - denied there were large numbers of people from outside the area living in emergency housing motels, saying they account for less than 7 per cent.
Watchdog Security chief executive Brett Wilson said his staff dealt with emergency housing clients regularly and knew who was from out of town.
"They are from Auckland, Palmerston North ... We have effectively become a dumping ground because we look after them too well."
Wilson said they were dealing with more incidents linked to the motels.
Ministry regional commissioner Mike Bryant said in response to Wilson's criticisms the "overwhelming majority of people in emergency housing in Rotorua are local".
A mural created in Rotorua and kept in the town for decades sold at auction for more than $330,000 - a price that puts it in the company of works by some of New Zealand's greatest artists.
The nearly 5m-wide untitled mural by artist Theo Schoon was sold by Auckland auction house Art + Object.
The price before commission and GST was $280,000, exceeding its pre-auction estimate of between $160,000 and $250,000. The total price paid by the buyer was $336,335.
A local woman - who spoke on the condition she was not named, for privacy reasons - said she put the artwork up for auction.
She said she had owned it since it was gifted to her by the postmaster, along with other desks and gear, when she opened a post office downstairs at the marae.
She said she decided to sell the mural because she did not have room for it in her home, and worried if it ended up in a museum, she would forget about it or it would just sit in storage.
Transport Minister Michael Wood committed to having bilingual traffic signs throughout New Zealand by the end of this Government's term after Te Tatau o Te Arawa representative Rawiri Waru called for a review of the rules earlier this month.
"We've got rules that probably do need to change and evolve to recognise our aspirations to be a country that puts te reo at the heart of what we do.
"There's commitment from Government and commitment from our agencies, absolutely commitment from local government to be doing that."
He said Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency had a "process under way" and was reviewing the current settings so the Government could get advice on what it needed to do to meet the "aspiration".