The headliners of 2013

AIMEE GULLIVER
Last updated 11:52 30/12/2013
Year Ended
ELLA YELICH-O'CONNOR: Lorde's hit single Royals spent nine weeks at the top of the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart – the first New Zealander to claim the coveted spot.
Year Ended
LYDIA KO: The teen made headlines when she appeared in a video co-starring All Black Israel Dagg to announce that she would join the ranks of women's professional golf.
Year Ended
ELEANOR CATTON: The writer became the youngest winner of the Man Booker Prize for her 832-page, 19th Century- style work, The Luminaries.
Year Ended
Fairfax NZ
JOHN BANKS: The ACT leader resigned as a minister in the face of charges.
Year Ended
PETER DUNNE: The UnitedFuture leader could not prove he was not the source of a leak to media and resigned as a support party minister.

Lydia Ko turns professional

Lorde's single Team

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A trio of our young women – a singer, a golfer and a writer – have taken the world by storm this year. Domestically, they have shared the limelight with the Government's biggest headache. Aimee Gulliver takes a look at the domestic headliners of 2013.

A year ago, few people outside the North Shore suburb of Takapuna had heard of 16-year-old Ella Yelich-O'Connor.

Even now, many would not recognise the name because in November last year she transformed from Ella to Lorde with a few clicks of her mouse.

The 17-year-old has rocketed from obscurity to global stardom in 2013, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Lorde's nomination for four Grammy awards – song of the year, record of the year, best pop solo performance and best pop vocal album – is the latest in a long line of accomplishments that belie her age.

Her hit single Royals spent nine weeks at the top of the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart – the first New Zealander to claim the coveted spot.

She was the first woman to top Billboard's Alternative chart since 1996, and she signed a publishing rights deal reportedly worth up to US$4 million (NZ$4.9m) on her 17th birthday.

Lorde met fellow Kiwi Eleanor Catton in New York, spending time and sharing stories with her in a hotel room, captured in photos taken by Lorde's mother, Sonja Yelich.

Catton was another standout of 2013 when she became the youngest winner of the Man Booker Prize for her 832-page, 19th Century- style work, The Luminaries.

Time magazine has recognised the influential achievements of Lorde, Catton and golfing prodigy Lydia Ko in its annual lists of high performers.

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Catton appeared on the magazine's under-30 list, and Lorde and Ko were named on the list of the world's most influential teenagers, keeping company with Malala Yousafzai, Malia Obama and Justin Bieber.

Ko, 16, made headlines when she appeared in a YouTube video co-starring All Black Israel Dagg to announce that she would join the ranks of women's professional golf. As an amateur she had already defended her Canadian Open title during this year's LPGA Tour.

Ko claimed her first tournament win as a pro at the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in Taiwan in December, then fired long-serving coach Guy Wilson.

The Kiwi trio's achievements competed for headlines with German internet mogul Kim Dotcom.

This saga began with Dotcom's dramatic arrest during a police raid on his Coatesville mansion in January 2012, carried out at the request of the FBI, which is seeking to extradite him to the US on charges of criminal copyright violation.

In June this year, the High Court ruled that the raid was unlawful.

Dotcom has filed papers with the High Court that allege an "excessively aggressive and invasive approach" by police during the 2012 raid and accuse Deputy Prime Minister Bill English of acting unlawfully in trying to cover up Government Communications Security Bureau spying before the raid.

Dotcom is claiming $6m in damages.

Prime Minister John Key last year apologised to Dotcom for the bureau's illegal spying. This year, it emerged no charges would be laid against the government agency because it had not acted with any criminal intent.

In April, the Kitteridge report disclosed that the bureau had illegally spied on more than 80 New Zealanders.

The report was leaked to a Fairfax journalist before it was due to be released by the Government, which led to the first resignation of a government support party minister when UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne could not prove he was not the source of the leak.

ACT leader John Banks resigned as a minister in the face of charges of electoral fraud for failing to disclose more than $50,000 donated to his failed Auckland mayoral campaign by Dotcom in 2010.

Dotcom told a court in September that he was asked to split his donation into two anonymous $25,000 cheques.

He said Banks was flown in his private helicopter from Mechanics Bay in central Auckland to the Coatesville mansion in 2010, which Banks has denied any memory of.

Banks resigned as a minister in October, will vacate the ACT party leadership in March and will not contest the 2014 election.

He will face a judge-alone trial in May.

Dotcom's damages case will be heard in March, before his long-delayed extradition hearing in April.

The thorn in the Government's side promises to stay put in 2014.

- Stuff

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