Spy Editor Ricardo Simich reveals his celebrities of the year since the beginning.
2004 Escape to the Island
Nicky Watson, Aja Rock and the late Charlotte Dawson.
The photogenic three were cast on Celebrity Treasure Island among a mix that set the gossip pages alight. Watson was dating Matthew Ridge , who was also on the island, although they would break up later that year and she would go on to date Blindspot drummer Shelton Woolright . Fast forward a decade and she would marry Aussie MKR host Pete Evans .
Rock was new to our shores from the US, arriving in town with William Murdoch , father of her son, Brooklyn . Their split made headlines before she married property developer David Southcombe in 2009.
Dawson was at the peak of her TV career enjoying a dream job with Prime's Getaway and giving much-needed media advice to the newbie celebrities.
The following year, the three blondes were joined by Eva the Bulgarian (Evguenieva) from Sports Café fame, posing in feathered bras and yellow bikinis in a billboard campaign that stopped traffic and raises awareness for SAFE as Chicks Against Chick Cruelty.
2005 Just Outrageous
Cheryl West and her disfunctional gang made a splash when Outrageous Fortune debuted.
The Wests would grace the screens for 107 episodes over five series until 2010 — becoming the longest-running drama series made in NZ and one of the most decorated.
Robyn Malcolm was the star, giving Cheryl her spunk in leathers and leopard print. Her children, Van and Jethro, Pascalle and Loretta would launch the careers of Antony Starr , Siobhan Marshall and Antonia Prebble, respectively.
Malcolm famously described West as "braver than I am".
"She smokes. She drinks. She's really sexually active. She drives her car really fast and doesn't apologise for what she thinks."
In this year's Queen's Birthday Honours, Malcolm was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to television and theatre.
2006 Ridge over troubled waters
Already dating for three years, Adam Parore and Sally Ridge , who was pregnant with the couple's second child, won a landmark victory allowing them to demolish their 100-year-old house in the inner-city heritage suburb of Freemans Bay.
The case was a blow for Mayor Dick Hubbard and pro-heritage councillors. The couple went on to rebuild their multimillion-dollar heritage villa home with a modern twist.
Courtrooms would become familiar for the couple after their relationship finished in 2010 when they broke off their engagement.
Ridge would go on to date Warren Fenning and Parore would marry Miller Rose . Neither relationship worked out. Ridge is now dating Rich Lister Glenn Cotterill and Parore has become a man of mystery, who likes to keep fit climbing mountains.
2007 NZ in Fashion
New Zealand Fashion Week was at its pinnacle as the place for celebrities to mark their territory alongside the designer collections and parties.
And it was the atmosphere of such, that would have people talking about an altercation during the last show of the week.
The Huffer show would provide the gossip headline of the year. Aja Rock threw a glass of wine at Bridget Saunders , then gossip columnist for the Sunday Star-Times, causing a mighty uproar in the front row. The incident prompted a long-running case of "she said/she said" and led to legal proceedings.
Rock made her Huffer comeback in 2011 by jumping out of a cake in a Stars and Stripes bikini, at the end of their show.
2008 Volcanic blunder
had enjoyed more than a decade of being the country's most loveable larrikin — but he pushed the boat out a little too far with a publicity stunt.
Launching his entertainment website Mintshot, the man who brought us Charlie's Orange Juice sent plumes of smoke from the summit of Rangitoto.
Terrified Aucklanders inundated emergency services with calls and Ellis was forced into an apology to the Department of Conservation and to the public. He paid $2000 to fix damage to the island and donated $10,000 to the Motutapu Restoration Trust.
The wild man about town was tamed a year earlier, when he married Agustina Mon . They had two children before splitting in 2016. He is now happily ensconced in a relationship with Linda Codegoni , they have a child, and recently opened beauty spa Look Lab in Westmere.
2009 Model behaviour
New Zealand's Next Top Model premiered in New Zealand introducing model agency owner Sara Tetro , model Colin Mathura-Jeffree and photographer and former model Chris Sisarich to mainstream NZ.
The trio would span three seasons and dozens of would-be models with Danielle Hayes , who won in 2010, the winner-of-note who made a splash in the industry.
Mathura-Jeffree would go on to work in TV, hosting New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker and appearing in Dancing with the Stars, influencing for brands before "influencing" became fashionable on Instagram, and attending more events than any celebrity Spy can name about town.
Tetro stepped away from the limelight and last year married second husband, former Air NZ CEO Rob Fyfe , in Los Angeles. Sisarich is still an in-demand photographer and is currently discovering his roots in Croatia.
2010 SBW rising
Sonny Bill Williams made his debut for the All Blacks at Twickenham against England after years of code-swapping and a meteoric rise to fame on both sides of the Tasman.
That same month in his second game for New Zealand against Scotland, SBW was named man of the match.
A year earlier, he had made his debut as a professional boxer on the undercard of close friend Anthony Mundine , defeating Gary Gurr with a technical knockout in the second round in Brisbane. That was also the year he converted his faith to Islam. His legend would continue throughout the next decade at numerous clubs and boxing rings, becoming one of New Zealand's finest athletes and being named the country's "sexiest man" numerous times before marrying wife Alana in 2014.
SBW is currently chasing his third Rugby World Cup glory and last week announced Alana and he are expecting their fourth child.
2011 Wedding(s) of the year
The year climaxed in not one, but two All Black weddings — best mates at the time Dan Carter and Ali William s both tied the knot, with their third musketeer Richie McCaw as top-billed guest at both ceremonies.
Competing for "wedding of the year", Carter married Honor Dillon at the exclusive Lake Timara Lodge, Blenheim. A few weeks later, Williams married Casey Green at the luxury Stoneridge Estate, set on the banks of Lake Hayes in Queenstown.
Both couples would go with their young families to Paris, where the boys played for Racing 92.
At the beginning of this year, Spy announced that Williams and Green, who have two daughters, had called time on their marriage. That same month, the Carters welcomed their third boy, whom they named Rocco.
2012 Dotcom bubble bursts
Jolly, larger-than-life Kim Dotcom was propelled into the public eye when his Coatesville mansion was raided by dozens of police in January.
Dotcom and wife Mona were known about town for their parties at the mansion — but everyone's eyes were opened after learning the raid was part of a worldwide FBI operation to take down Dotcom's Megaupload file-sharing website, which was allegedly at the centre of a massive criminal copyright operation.
Dotcom has not stayed out of headlines since then as he fights to clear his name in the courts. The Internet Party would be founded two years later to no electoral success but Dotcom would take shots at then-Prime Minister John Key on Twitter for years to come.
Kim and Mona split up in 2014. Kim married student Elizabeth Donnelly early last year and she became Liz Dotcom. Mona found love with Luke Wainui , a life insurance adviser and part-time model in 2017. The pair had their first baby in July this year.
Dotcom moved to Queenstown but has recently been back to Auckland. Meanwhile, the Dotcom mansion has been lovingly brought back to life by the billionaire ZURU Toys' family.
2013 Year of our Lorde
Early in the year of our Lorde , Spy followed a 16-year-old Takapuna Grammar student Ella Yelich-O'Connor , who in March that year had buzz swirling around her stage name Lorde and her unofficial first single Royals, which was enjoying high rotation on ZM and the Edge, as well as being furiously blogged about by hipster music blogs the world over.
That September, Lorde's debut album Pure Heroine arrived and became one of 2014's best-selling albums. It was certified platinum in the UK, double platinum in Canada and triple platinum in Australia and the US, selling more than 3 million copies worldwide.
Royals received Grammy Awards in January 2014 for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year. Lorde made Time Magazine's most influential teenagers in the world in 2013 and 2014. The rest, as they say, is history — although there's no doubt lots more to come from one of our finest exports. She has an estimated net worth of $12m — and she's not yet 23.
2014 From Ferndale to Riverdale
Two months after Spy did his first interview, KJ Apa had become a household name as Kane Jenkins after only a few weeks on Shortland Street.
At the time, the 16-year-old's best friend Boston Ridge (Insta-model and Sally Ridge's son) was more famous.
Apa would spend two years on the soap, where the music-lover filmed a guitar-playing scene with Ed Sheeran . But he raised eyebrows by quitting his successful role in mid-2015 to try his luck in the US.
In 2016, Apa beat a huge field and was cast as Archie Andrews in drama series Riverdale. Its fourth season is about to screen on Netflix and Apa has become a global star.
By way of comparison, Lorde has 6.3 million Instagram followers, Apa has 16.1 million, the most of any New Zealander.
2015 Reality sweethearts
The age of the social-media influencer was emerging the year New Zealand welcomed its first season of The Bachelor. We met him in the form of model Art Green .
The headlines went to self-described "Bitchelorette" Chrystal Chenery , but it was the girl with the Colgate girl-next-door smile, Matilda Rice , we hoped he would end up choosing. Rice got the final rose, the happy couple walked down the aisle married and last month they became mum and dad to son Milo .
Together the couple have built 265,000 followers on Instagram, while their cats Brian and Christine have nearly 10,000. The couple launched a healthy food service business called Plate Up last year and to get on the property ladder the pair moved to Warkworth in December.
From reality TV to actual reality, this is the fairytale everyone wanted.
2016 Wedding of the decade
How does the Spy year start with a frenzy? The wedding of the decade is announced by Richie McCaw and Gemma Flynn — and the female population goes into mourning over the loss of NZ's most eligible bachelor.
"Happy New Year to everyone. I've had a fantastic start to 2016 and feel very lucky. Gemma said 'yes'! It's been great celebrating our engagement with friends and family in sunny Central Otago. Here's to a great year ahead," the recently-retired double Rugby World Cup-winning All Black posted on Facebook.
McCaw had been dating Black Stick Flynn for more than three years and they became NZ's premium It couple — in love and deeply supportive of each other's sporting careers.
The countdown to the wedding was a year, Flynn took part in Aussie Reality Wedding show Say Yes to the Dress and by the time they exchanged their vows at The Olive Grove in Wanaka, the entire media was in a frenzy.
Marathon running, a return to hockey, a helicopter-flying career, a wellness lifestyle and the arrival of daughter Charlotte last December have all followed.
A curious fever gripped New Zealand when Jacinda Ardern became leader of the Labour Party on August 1.
Politicians had made occasional forays on to the social scene — but Ardern broke the mould.
Spy saw the fascination grow at Fashion Week's opening in 2017. She was young, female and popular, and everything Ardern touched turned to gold. The stardust extended to those around her — "hipster" bodyguard Iain McKay became instantly famous for shadowing the Labour leader and went on to marry TV political reporter Jessica Mutch . The couple are expecting a baby any day.
But it was at the New Zealand Music Awards — a month after Ardern became Prime Minister — that her star power really began to shine. Dressed in a floor-length gown by Juliette Hogan — Kiwi designers have been flocking to dress her — Ardern hit the red carpet like a pro. Her admission that her jacket was from charity store Save Mart brought her back down to earth.
She later presented Lorde with the People's Choice Award when they met for the first time. Their friendship blossomed and the two were spotted dining at Britomart in June this year.
Ardern's pregnancy announcement in January 2018 set the world into another frenzy, and the birth of daughter Neve made her just the second world leader to have a child in office.
Who can forget images from Buckingham Palace of the PM's bump in her ginger-coloured Juliette Hogan gown — designed especially for her — and the korowai draped over her shoulders as she met the Queen with tuxedo-clad partner Clarke Gayford .
She has gone on to feature on the cover of many international publications, and had spreads in Vogue twice — including in the recent Meghan Markle-curated British Vogue.
Ardern is struggling to balance a stellar international reputation with troubling domestic issues. Regardless, she is a leader the likes of who NZ has not seen before.
And with a wedding on the way, the fascination won't die any time soon.
2018 The first couple of rugby
At a champagne party just after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Beauden Barrett and his accountant girlfriend Hannah Laity came on to Spy's radar.
From there, the couple were arm in arm at many A-list events and Laity's power as a social-media influencer began to flourish.
Barrett proposed marriage in Fiji in January 2018 and Laity shared with followers their ritzy engagement party and two hen's parties.
The Herald on Sunday was there in January this year when the couple married on Rakino Island in a star-studded ceremony that included All Blacks Israel Dagg , Aaron Smith , Dane Coles , Brodie Retallick , Damian McKenzie , Luke Romano and Anton Lienert-Brown , as well as Barrett's brothers Scott and Jordie .
The couple scored a glossy women's magazine deal as had many All Black couples before them.
Barrett made history in Japan on Wednesday night by running out on to the field with brothers Jordie and Scott - the first time three brothers have started for the All Blacks in a World Cup game.
His wife is due in the country to watch her husband hopefully retain the cup.