A year ago today, we were waking up to our first day in Covid-19 alert level 2 after 50 days in lockdown.
How have we emerged and what's changed forever? Mike Tweed finds out.
The past year has been a chance to "question old paradigms" and build back as a more family-centric, connected, and kinder society, Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall says.
"I'm all for that," he said.
A lot of economic activity had bounced back, but people were still feeling the after-effects of Covid-19, McDouall said.
"There are businesses struggling and there are still people feeling vulnerable, especially our older people who felt the stress of loneliness more than anyone," he said.
"The community as a whole, from the top to the bottom, have done extraordinarily well over the past year, but we have to keep our discipline up."
Whanganui Girls College assistant principal Craig Ritani said school life had "pretty much" returned to normal since last May, but the global pandemic had highlighted the importance of catering to students individually.
"We did IEPs [Individual Education Plans] for all of our senior students because of Covid-19, and we're doing that again this year because we found it beneficial," he said.
Certain students had done more work at home than at school, Ritani said.
"Some students thrived in an environment where they were more self-directed, and others who thought they didn't need teachers realised that they needed that feedback and they needed to be in the classroom."
Realising that not all students had access to technology was another outcome from lockdown, Ritani said.
"We were learning remotely, but unless you had solid Wi-Fi and a device to learn on, you'd be on the back foot.
Ngāti Rangi operations manager Elijah Pue said Covid-19 proved that "the answers were within", in terms of achieving goals as an iwi.
"The community rallied together at a time when our people were most vulnerable," Pue said.
"The outpouring of support was overwhelming, and it reinforced the fact that we're all in this together, and we can get it done if we put aside our differences and focus on what brings us together.
"We can do it ourselves. We don't need the support or intervention of the state to allow us to get on with what we need to do."
Twelve months on, that togetherness was "stronger than ever", Pue said.
"Let's all be in the same waka for the betterment of our community."
Paras Rawat, the manager at Tasty Indian Restaurant on Victoria Ave, said they had taken on extra staff after moving to alert level 2.
"Business has gone up since we reopened, and we're still busy," Rawat said.
"It feels like normal again here in New Zealand, and I tell my parents and family back in India how we're operating and they're pretty much shocked."
Whanganui Regional Health Network chief executive Judith MacDonald said stronger relationships had been formed as a result of Covid-19 alert levels.
"We raised the bar in regards to leaning in and listening to our communities, to iwi and to the voices telling us what they needed," MacDonald said.
"When those confines are removed and things get really busy, we can take shortcuts and perhaps we don't lean in like we did and we don't work collectively with one shared purpose.
"The challenge for us going forward, especially with these new health reforms, is to make sure that that's exactly how we behave."
MacDonald said the relationships that were "built up together" had been sustained, and remained in place.
"I've certainly been working with a lot of our iwi partners and Māori health providers, the district health board, and the community, and i think we've done some good things this year.
"Something like the Covid-19 vaccination rollout takes a collective effort, and the DHB has invited those same partners around the table."