Natural disasters, Nelson Mandela's death and the Boston Marathon bombings are among the top news stories of 2013.
And the earthquakes that struck central New Zealand in June and July rated highest in UMR research's list, with 76 per cent of New Zealanders saying they followed the story closely.
The list was compiled by asking people each month to rate on a scale of one to five how closely they followed selected news stories.
Behind the earthquakes was the drought that hit New Zealand in March, the Boston bombings in April and the America's Cup in September.
The bottom three stories tested in 2013 were the National Party Conference (12 per cent declared they followed closely), Colin Craig's Conservative Party push for representation in 2014 (12 per cent) and the trailer for the new Hobbit movie, the Desolation of Smaug (11 per cent).
Politics did not rate highly for interest, with only the breakfast-in-schools scheme coming inside the top 10.
New rules for home buyers attracted some interest (59 per cent), while some of those who followed the asset sales referendum closely might not have turned out to vote (56 per cent declared they followed the story closely against 44 per cent voter turnout).
It must have been a slow news year as none of the stories from this year featured in the top 10 stories from the last decade.
That list was topped by the Christchurch earthquakes and even the 10th-placed ranking, the 2012 changes to give-way road rules (79 per cent), rated higher than any of this years stories.
TOP 10 FOR 2013
1. Central New Zealand earthquakes (76 per cent)
2. Drought throughout New Zealand (74 per cent)
3. Boston Marathon bombings (72 per cent)
4. America's Cup (69 per cent)
5. Winter storms in South Island and lower North Island (67 per cent)
6. Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (65 per cent)
7. Nelson Mandela's death (62 per cent)
8. Breakfast-in-schools scheme (62 per cent)
9. Fonterra health scares (62 per cent)
10. Roast Busters and police handling of complaints (60 per cent)
TOP 10 FOR PAST DECADE (date in brackets is date monitored, not date of event)
1. 2011 Christchurch earthquake (Feb 2011, 96 per cent)
2. 2010 Christchurch earthquake (Sep 2010, 92 per cent)
3. Pike River (Dec 2010, 88 per cent)
4. 2004 central North Island flooding (Feb 2004, 85 per cent)
5. London bombings (Jul 2006, 84 per cent)
6= Boxing Day tsunami Asia (Jan 2005, 83 per cent)
6= All Blacks Rugby World Cup win (Oct 2011, 83 per cent)
8. Search for missing Featherston girl, Coral Burrows (Sep 2003, 82 per cent)
9. Samoan earthquake and tsunami (Oct 2009, 81 per cent)
10= 2008 North Island storms (Aug 2008, 79 per cent)
10= 2009 Victorian bushfires (Feb 2009, 79 per cent)
10= 2011 Christchurch large aftershock (Jun 2011, 79 per cent)
10= Changes to give-way road rules (Mar 2012, 79 per cent)