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The best and worst of 2017

Spoiler alert - the White House features heavily in this list!

For some, 2017 was a year to remember. For others it was very much a year to forget.

From the Oscar’s mix-up, to Beyonce breaking the internet, to Bill English’s much maligned pineapple and tinned spaghetti pizza, we round out the best and worst moments of 2017.

It’s worth noting that when compiling a list like this, it’s impossible to ignore the influence the White House has had on the preceding 12 months. So here it is. We begin with the one and only Donald J. Trump.


Donald Trump’s inauguration

When The Simpson’s dreamt up an episode 17 years ago in which Donald Trump was president, it was meant to be about as far fetched as you can get. Fast forward to 2017 and the unthinkable has happened.

For many, the Don’s inauguration as President of the United States beggars belief. But perhaps the most surprising thing is that despite a controversy filled first 12 months, he’s still in office.

Trump has been baiting North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un all year long and come November, their state-run media had finally had enough, taking the rather curious tack of sentencing him to death. Not for crimes against hair and fake tan, but for calling their country a “cruel dictatorship” and their leader “short and fat”.

They fired insults back in his direction, calling him an “old lunatic” and a “mean trickster and human reject”.


It’s safe to say Don won’t be heading to North Korea any time soon.


Moonlight or La La land? The infamous Oscar’s mix-up

Has there ever been a more scandalous moment in Academy Awards history? A few, perhaps. Marlon Brando rejecting his Oscar and sending an American Indian activist on stage to protest the treatment of Native Americans in the film industry caused quite the stir.

Oh, and let’s not forget that time there was a streaker on stage.

But this year’s controversy was right up there. When Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty wrongly announced La La Land instead of Moonlight as the winner of Best Picture, it sparked chaos and confusion. The moment was pored over and picked apart for days and weeks to come. An investigation was launched. Apologies were issued. And countless memes were born.

Beyonce breaks the internet

Beyonce’s post announcing she was pregnant with twins sent fans into a frenzy. It generated 8 million likes in 24 hours and rounded out the year with over 11 million, becoming the most liked post on Instagram ever.

Bey can lay claim to two of the most liked Instagram photos of 2017. Her post debuting her new twins Rumi and Sir came in at number four with a not too shabby 10 million likes.


BBC interview interrupted by wayward kids goes viral

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It was supposed to be a serious interview. Professor Robert Kelly was part way through a live cross with the BBC at his home via Skype, discussing the rising tensions in North Korea. But he made a fatal error in not locking the door. His children burst in, chaos ensued and social media went nuts.


Sean Spicer’s Hitler gaffe

There have been many gaffes by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, so much so that his press briefings became appointment viewing.

They ranged from the just plain wrong; claiming that, despite overwhelming photographic evidence to the contrary, Donald Trump’s inauguration was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!”

To the absolutely absurd; trying to discredit a New York Times article which said Donald Trump watches “television in his bathrobe” by hitting back with, “I don’t think the president owns a bathrobe. He definitely doesn’t wear one”.

The internet begged to differ.


But that time he clean forgot about the Holocaust and claimed that Adolf Hitler “never stooped” to using chemical weapons on “his own people” took the cake.

He only lasted another three months in the job before stepping down.

Pepsi pull controversial ad featuring Kendall Jenner

Pepsi seriously misjudged this one when they dreamt up a commercial featuring Kendall Jenner leaving a modelling shoot to participate in a protest march. The crescendo of the ad sees her handing out a can of Pepsi to a police officer and diffusing a highly charged situation to rapturous applause.

Place that fictional ad within the real life context of the Black Lives Matter movement and all of a sudden there was a problem that Pepsi didn’t forsee. Thanks to a massive public backlash they pulled the ad within 24 hours.

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the company said in a statement. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologise”.

Bill English’s crimes against pizza

He was trying so hard to seem relatable. It wasn’t an easy task, taking over from a Prime Minister as popular as John Key. And Bill English tried his best. Really, he did. But when he took to Facebook to show off the pineapple and tinned spaghetti pizza that he’d made for dinner he was mercilessly ridiculed.

The post went global. Comedian John Oliver savaged him and the Guardian in the UK ran with the headline ‘Tinned spaghetti pizza: New Zealand’s prime minister shocks with ‘monstrous’ recipe.’

It was a simple enough question. “Cooked dinner for the family last night – like if you agree with tinned spaghetti on pizza!”

No Bill, we very much dislike.


Bombing at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

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The bombing at Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert in which 22 people were killed was the worst attack on British soil since the June 2005 London tube bombings.

Grande was understandably deeply affected, Tweeting in the hours following the attack “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words”.

The One Love Manchester benefit concert that she headlined two weeks later, however, was a defiant and symbolic stand against terror and those who brought it. Not least because it was held less than 24 hours after another terror attack in London in which seven people were killed.

The concert raised over £2 million for the victims. In October Grande opened up about the incident.

“Calling it (the tour) off and going home was not an option. The message of the show was too important”.


Katy Perry ranks her exes in bed

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It’s fair to say Katy Perry will think twice before appearing in a live cross with James Cordon again.

It’s one of those things that has disaster written all over it. You’re livestreaming an event to promote your new album. It’s 72 hours long, you’re tired. And you’re playing truth or dare with a cheeky comedian. What could possibly go wrong!

When Cordon asked her to rank her ex-boyfriends Orlando Bloom, John Mayer and DJ Diplo in bed, Perry could hardly refuse. She tried her best to avoid it but given a sniff of a scandal he persisted.

For the record, John Mayer was the winner. Bloom was second. And Diplo, who took the third spot, said “I don’t even remember having sex”.


Reuben Read steals his dad’s thunder

It was bit of an anti-climax when the All Blacks and Lions series ended in a draw, we’re not going to lie. But little Reuben Reid stole the show at the after-match formalities.

When his dad, captain Kieran Read went on stage to collect his 100th test cap, Reuben, dressed up in a bear suit, packed an almighty sad – much to the delight of waiting photographers and cameramen.

Instagram ‘bad-gran’ releases a book

If you’re not already familiar with Baddie Winkle, you need to get on board.

89 year-old Kentucky great-grandmother Helen Ruth Elam Van Winkle is the woman behind the persona, whose irresistible tagline, is “stealing your man since 1928”.

Winkle has become an internet sensation since setting up her Instagram account in 2014 and now boasts over 3 million followers. Her fans can’t get enough of her age-inappropriate posts.

In July she launched her first book – Baddiewinkle’s Guide to Life. Described by the publisher as ‘an inspiring handbook for living life adventurously’, it promised to ‘delight and inspire fans of all ages.’

When promoting the book she was asked what style means to her. “If you’ve got it, flaunt it,” she responded.



Aaron Smith sexting scandal

Poor Aaron Smith probably thought the scandal over his 2016 toilet tryst had been put to rest. But in August, salacious text messages between he and the ‘other woman’ were released. And they didn’t paint him in the best light.

Reports that he tried to cover the scandal up, lied to his bosses and attempted to get her to sign a false affidavit landed him in hot water with the Rugby Union. They launched an independent investigation into the matter and he was rather lucky to walk away with only a formal warning.

Donald Trump thinking he’s impervious to the power of the sun

Eclipse fever swept the States in August. Millions of people gathered to view the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the country in over a century.

But when Donald Trump stood on the balcony of the White House and stared directly at the sun he was resoundingly ridiculed. Cue New York Daily News’ brilliant front page above.


Nicole Kidman’s awkward Emmy’s kiss

When Nicole Kidman kissed her on-screen husband Alexander Skarsgård on the lips when he went up to receive his Best Supporting Actor award for Big Little Lies, she had a lot of explaining to do. Not least because it was in full view of her real-life husband Keith Urban.

The internet went into overdrive, focusing on poor Keith awkwardly looking on and clapping. But what else is a poor country singer to do when your wife brazenly kisses another man on worldwide television in front of you?

Nicole only made it worse when, in an attempt to diffuse the situation, she described her husband as a mannequin.

Family of ducks get police escort in Whakatane

It’s not something you see every day; a police officer stopping to escort a family of ducks safely across the road. The heartwarming moment happened in Whakatane and was captured by Marylou Bruys of Marylou’s Driving School.

“This is so cute,” she said “I have never seen this in all my years as a driving instructor. Just now at the strand in town a Mother duck and her ducklings helped crossing the road (at a crossing no less) by a member of the public and a police man. Pure gold”.



The Harvey Weinstein scandal

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Perhaps one of the biggest stories of 2017, the allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein have had far-reaching ramifications. All of a sudden sexual harassment is no longer being tolerated. Plenty of high-profile men have been outed. And the accusations keep coming. Hollywood will never be the same again.

The age of Taika

Cometh the hour cometh the man.

2017 will be remembered as the year that Taika Waititi cracked Hollywood.

Crowned New Zealander of the Year in February, his star has skyrocketed this year with the success of Thor. Not since Peter Jackson and Lord of the Rings has someone done more for our reputation in Hollywood. We’re picking a knighthood will soon be on the cards.

Arise, Sir Taika.


Thanksgiving Piegate

When new White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted an image of a pecan pie she claimed to have made for her family for Thanksgiving, Twitter users smelled a rat.

White House correspondent April Ryan called her out, saying it looked like a stock photo. Twitter went nuts, spawning the hashtag #piegate.

Sanders put the matter to bed a few weeks later by bringing home-cooked pecan pies to the White House press correspondents pot luck dinner, documenting the baking process along the way – on Twitter of course.

Donald Trump mistakes Jacinda Ardern for Justin Trudeau’s wife

Newly elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has surely learnt from her mistake, spilling secrets from the East Asia summit and nearly causing a “diplomatic incident“. But some stories are just too good not to share.

Donald Trump reportedly confused her for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, telling him “you’ve done well for yourself”.

Ardern quickly backtracked when the story got out. “I think I should never have recounted the story,” she admitted.

Perhaps, but how else would we have known he “wasn’t as orange in real life”?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement

Speculation of an imminent engagement reached fever pitch at the end of November and finally royal watchers everywhere received the news they’d been waiting for. The ‘party prince’ had popped the question to his American beau – over a roast chicken dinner no less.

Overzealous fan hangs Lorde’s Melodrama in the Lourve


Perhaps the most brazen act of art espionage since UK graffiti artist Banksy hung one on his works in the Tate Britain, Lorde fan Nina Richard snuck a copy of the singer’s album Melodrama into the Lourve museum in Paris.

Doing her best to evade security guards, her intent was to hang it as a “masterpiece surrounded by others”.

The stunt was prompted by a song on the album called The Louvre with the rather enticing lyrics “They’ll hang us in the Louvre / Down the back, but who cares – still the Louvre”.


Shortland Street’s “penis” line voted quote of the year

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Shortland Street’s cliffhanger episode in February bore the most talked about moment on television this year. When Michael Galvin uttered the now infamous words “please tell me that is not your penis” it instantly became part of New Zealand folklore. The clip went viral. Remixes were made. And in December it was voted Massey University’s Quote of the Year, making international headlines.

Honorable mention goes to Winston Peters for his pearler about The Opportunites Party leader and philanthropist Gareth Morgan: “Excuse me for laughing, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been ravaged by a toothless sheep”.

Australia legalises same sex marriage

Much love to our cousins across the ditch, who finally did the right thing and legalised same-sex marriage.

The bill was passed in Parliament on December 7th following the historic referendum vote in November.

Only four and a half years behind New Zealand, but hey, better late than never, right?

Here’s to a brilliant 2018!

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