The ones that got away: 10 great 2020 stories that deserved a wider audience

It may surprise you to learn that not every article we publish is read by hundreds of thousands of discerning punters. Here are 10 reads from this year that we think warranted more click-love.

Tomorrow we publish the top 10 most-read posts of 2020. Today, as a curtain-raiser, we turn our attention to the stories that – through no fault of their own – slipped through the cracks of the internet, and which we think deserved to be read by more people.

In no particular order …

In the absence of noise, I hear things

During the first lockdown, Scotty Stevenson wrote this lovely short reflection on the things he was hearing in the silence.

Making up is hard to do

Another great read stemming from the lockdown, which prompted Karyn Henger to reach out to fix a treasured friendship that had been badly broken.

The case for a conscious post-Covid coupling of New Zealand and Tasmania

We have both been mocked hard by mainland Australians, wrote a New Zealander-turned-Tasmanian: “You as sheep lovers, us as ex-convict genetically deformed cousin-humpers. Why not join forces against our common enemy?”

The different types of cricket match, ranked

Spoiler: it’s definitely not three-team cricket, the ultra-confusing version of the game that Cricket South Africa tried to foist on us in June.

Ch-ch-change range: Finding the best bang for your buck in New Zealand

A lesser-read chapter in Mad Chapman’s food ranking canon: all the fast food restaurants’ ‘change ranges’, rated by value for money.

Remembering 0800 SMOKEY, the campaign which turned Auckland into the City of Narcs

The goal: to get cleaner-burning fuel into Auckland cars. The method: turning citizens against each other in a whistle-blowing free-for-all. Here, Josie Adams looks back at a very weird Auckland Regional Council advertising campaign.

Inside the doomed campaigns of Gareth Morgan, Colin Craig and Mike Lee

“‘Mike… fuck,’ says Jeremy Greenbrook-Held, drawing out the ‘fuck’ like someone with a story to tell.” So begins Stewart Sowman-Lund’s inside story of three of New Zealand’s most chaotic political campaigns.

The Side Eye: The tunnel, the lights

Early in the pandemic, Toby Morris travelled to Waitomo to discover how the loss of international visitors was affecting the tourism industry, zeroing in on the Stubbs family, who run rafting tours. Read to the end for some unexpectedly moving illustrations of the glow worm caves.

Little things lost

Just a really great essay by Linda Burgess about marriage and the things we love.

Remembering and forgetting

Sarah Catherall’s mother has suffered from Alzheimer’s for 14 years; it’s been four years since she last recognised her family. In this beautiful essay, Catherall writes about the long goodbye and the question she can’t stop asking herself: would Mum want to keep living this way?




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