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A review of 2022: It’s been a wooly ride

We have been busy in the office preparing our ‘Year in Review’ pages. It’s quite a task, going back on almost 12 months worth of news. It can also be quite sobering.

Not surprisingly, the weather crops up throughout 2022. There was understandable concern in the first couple of months that a drought was going to create all manner of problems. The rain came to our rescue. And here we are, at the end of the year, and we would rather the rain went somewhere else. In between times, heavy rain and flooding over May, June, and July stretched our patience and emergency services to near breaking point. Heavy seas contributed to the difficulties. Cape Palliser Rd lost increasingly large chunks of tarmac on two occasions in May alone.

The never-ending winter had quite a shocking impact on the residents of Hinekura Rd near Martinborough. A large section was swept away in an enormous landslide in May. It never really stopped sliding. The landslide, half a kilometre long and 134m wide, destroyed the road and forced residents to commute for two hours along a narrow and winding route to reach Martinborough.

The weather will always be an important part of Wairarapa life. It is unpredictable and challenges our resilience and resourcefulness. I expect 2023 will be no different.

The local body elections featured prominently throughout the year and, a bit like the weather, yielded some unexpected results in October. When the voting was done, Wairarapa had three new mayors and a bunch of new councillors across the district. Next year an election of national importance will no doubt be taking up a lot of space on our pages.

One of the more bizarre series of stories we covered this year involved a group of so-called sheriffs who wanted New Zealand to take notice of their covid vaccination views. The movement, which appeared to begin in Eketahuna, convinced some Justices of the Peace to sign a decree which handed over certain ‘legal’ powers to them. Nationwide, schools were caught up in an email sent by the group, threatening principals with arrest if they went ahead with lockdowns or made students wear masks. We were never entirely sure just how serious this group was but, in recent times anyway, they seem to have quietened down.

Covid was here all year, as were vaccinations and boosters. As 2022 wound down, masks became less prominent, but a third wave hit the region, and the experts were unanimous in their view that 2023 would likely have more battles with the virus.

Our health sector battled bravely through the pandemic and the introduction of significant changes to how health services are provided here and around New Zealand. Ultimately, widespread staff shortages, particularly in aged care and at Wairarapa Hospital’s Emergency Department, highlighted just how deep the problem was. A move to fast-track nurses through the immigration process has been touted as a solution to part of the problem. Let’s hope so.

As we enter the holiday season, be mindful that we have recorded far too many crashes and fatalities on our roads this year. Please, drive carefully.

Keep an eye out for our Year in Review pages over the summer.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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