OPINION: So that was 2013.
As the countdown to the New Year approaches this evening, most of us will pause for a moment's reflection on the 12 months past. While our minds will be turning to the year ahead, with all its challenges and opportunities, we know instinctively that past is prologue and looking back is often the first step in moving forward.
The year that is about to expire will mean different things for each of us, with the ebb and flow of life's tide a uniquely personal experience. Our sense of achievement or failure is usually rooted in our friends, family or work life.
We share collective experiences too, though, and readers of the Manawatu Standard will have viewed much of the world through the pages of this newspaper.
We saw a region ravaged by drought, the pain etched on farmers' faces all over the North Island; controversial figure Mark Lundy walked free from prison after the Privy Council quashed his murder convictions; local-body elections came and went with few people taking much notice; we engaged in serious, important national conversations about the behaviour of state intelligence operations and oil exploration; same-sex marriage was legalised, legal highs stayed legal, the legal drink-driving limit was lowered and police powers to deal with drunks in bars were increased.
A pope was replaced, an heir to the British throne was born, and an anti-apartheid leader died.
As 2014 begins, the economic fog that has enveloped New Zealand and much of the developed world for half a decade is beginning to clear, revealing an invigorating air of optimism for many.
And that is what tonight is all about - hope. The coming year is a blank canvas, a chance to start again, do better, make amends, progress. It's important to pause and take stock, but we should all bravely charge into 2014 confident that this coming year will be better than the one before because of the lessons learned and the wisdom gained. That is our hope for you.
From everyone at the Manawatu Standard, I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.
In the editorial I wrote last week about a proposed restructure at IPC in Palmerston North, I said it seemed odd that its president, Wayne Edwards, would publicly say he was considering quitting before he has made a decision. I caught up with Wayne for a coffee yesterday and he cleared up any confusion surrounding his future.
He had earlier advised IPC's chairman and announced to staff that he will not be renewing his contract as president when it expires in several months' time, but he is considering some possible ongoing association with IPC.
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