From Marmite to Moo Moo

MARMITE FEVER: Fans of the spread were truly excited at its return to supermarket shelves.
MARMITE FEVER: Fans of the spread were truly excited at its return to supermarket shelves.

It was the year a national crisis came to an end – Marmite was back on the shelves.

Marmageddon had gripped the nation for a year after earthquake damage to the country’s only Marmite-making plant in Christchurch.

After months of rationing and the creation of a black market on Trade Me, Sanitarium announced that the popular breakfast spread was in production again.

Before it reached the supermarkets, former All Blacks captain Wayne ‘‘Buck’’ Shelford delivered jars to a few Christchurch families affected by the quakes.

On March 20, the rest of the nation had Marmite back in its clutches.

Toast was spread thickly, spoons were unabashedly licked and 500,000 250-gram jars took pride of place in New Zealand cupboards.

In April, the ‘‘big gay rainbow’’ came.

New Zealand became the 13th country in the world to legalise gay marriage after the passage of Labour MP Louisa Wall’s Marriage Amendment Bill.

Spectators packed into Parliament to hear the bill undergo its final reading.

It was a chance to see the warmer side of some politicians as they gave their speeches, and National MP Maurice Williamson shot to global notice with his response to the bill’s opponents.

‘‘One of the messages I’d had was that this bill was the cause of our drought ... In the Pakuranga electorate this morning, it was pouring with rain, and we had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate. It has to be a sign," he said.

Ellen DeGeneres invited him to appear on her talk show, Stephen Fry said he wanted to hug him and The New York Times praised ‘‘one of New Zealand’s only openly gay MPs’’, which was news to Mr Williamson’s wife.

As the bill was passed, 77 votes to 44,  supporters broke into the Maori love song Pokarekare Ana. The video capturing the moment was beamed around the world.

Celebrations continued through to August, when the bill became law and the first same-sex weddings were held.

Two years on from the big Christchurch quake, stories of the resilience of Cantabrians continued to take centre stage.

The nation rallied to help autistic brothers Malcolm and Nigel Adams, who needed a temporary rental home while their quake-damaged house was being rebuilt.

When their elderly mother, Alison, found herself $6000 out of pocket because of a financial mixup over building consents, readers again offered support. Within a week, the consents were approved.

The cardboard cathedral was completed and opened its doors to the public in August.

In November, a Lyttelton couple became the first to be married in the cathedral, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.

Jill Jefferies and James Dobinson, who both have Down syndrome, spent months busking at the Lyttelton Farmers Market to raise funds for the wedding after a five-year engagement.

The ceremony took place in the cardboard cathedral as 100 wellwishers, family members and friends looked on.

There were stories that showed there could always be hope in tragic circumstances.

The story of a young Wellington rugby player tugged at the heartstrings in August.

Even after losing his arm in a bus accident while on holiday in Fiji, 8-year-old Sai Hope Daunibau was determined to get back on the field.

His club raised funds so he could have treatment at the Starship children’s hospital in Auckland.

After hearing of the accident, Sai’s idol, All Blacks wing Julian Savea, said he hoped he could ‘‘help him out in some way and cheer him up a wee bit’’. Sai was given a prosthetic limb and for Christmas he had a new ‘‘gripping’’ hand to enable to ride a bike.

In October, New Zealanders reached out to help Auckland doctor Jared Noel, who is dying of bowel cancer.

Donors raised more than $100,000 to fund expensive Avastin treatments to prolong his life.

He hoped to fulfil his dying wish of meeting his baby daughter, due in January.

The story of a long-distance friendship involving a New Zealand teenager touched people around the world.

Paige, of Auckland, and Sarah, in America, were both born with one arm.

The girls first bonded over their shared challenges by using the internet eight years ago, but had never met in person.

They submitted their story to Skype’s Stay Together campaign, and Sarah and her mother were flown to New Zealand so the pair could finally meet.

The emotional moment was captured on video and quickly went viral.

Perhaps the survival story of 2013 went to a Wainuiomata cat by the name of Moo Moo.

He used up one of his nine lives after a crossbow bolt was shot through his head.

After donations flooded in to help cover treatment, the cat was transferred to Massey Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Palmerston North, where the bolt was removed.

Moo Moo went on to make a full recovery.

Fairfax Media