2012 a year of protest, upheaval

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 12:41 01/01/2013
Make Believe, Hekia Parata, council protests

2012: Success for The Make Believe, under fire Hekia Parata, and thousands attend Christchurch City Council protest rally.

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2012 should have been a year of recovery for Christchurch as the aftershocks settled down. However, it proved more notable for demolitions and protest. Rachel Young takes a look at its memorable moments.

Tell us your best and worst moments of 2012 in the Comments field below.

January

- The year started grimly with the discovery of a woman's body in the outskirts of Christchurch. In July, Keith Donald Bonner, 53, was jailed for life for the murder of his friend, Tracey Lee Morris.

- Ashleigh Kumar, 18, drowned at a popular spot at the end of Intake Rd, opposite Eyrewell Forest, when she was dragged face down beneath a narrow gateway leading from the storage pond to the Waimakariri River.

February

- The first anniversary of the February 22, 2011, earthquake is marked.

- A mass protest is held outside the Christchurch City Council calling for mid-term elections and the removal of council chief executive Tony Marryatt.

March

-A two-year mystery was solved after the body of missing Christchurch woman Emma Campbell was found in a steep ravine on the Port Hills.

- Christchurch man Gavin Clifford Bennett admits $23 million in frauds against South Canterbury Finance and living a lavish lifestyle off the proceeds.

- Christchurch duo The Make Believe rose to stardom with their cover of One Direction's What Makes You Beautiful. Tyler Vivian and Mike Lake's video got more than 400,000 views on YouTube, and the pair were being courted by a big United States management company.

April

- A proposed 7.47 per cent rates rise will help save Christchurch's earthquake-hit Town Hall and fund a new convention centre. Marryatt said he was "very comfortable" with the recommended rates increase.

- A new Government-led task force has 100 days to develop a blueprint for the rebuild of central Christchurch. The team is known as the Christchurch Central Development Unit and led by Warwick Issacs.

May

- Former Zimbabwean veterinarian George Gwaze is found not guilty of sexually violating and murdering his 10-year-old niece, Charlene Makaza, in January 2007.

- Solid Energy confirmed the conditional purchase of the Pike River coalmine, where 29 men lost their lives after a blast on November 19, 2010. It was revealed the bodies were unlikely to ever be recovered.

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- Southshore residents finally learnt their fate after the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority made its final decision on the zoning of flat land in the city.

- Two people are found dead in a rugged, hilly area about 30 kilometres west of Waimate. Initial autopsy findings found that Dagmar "Dasha" Pytlickova, 31, who had been in New Zealand for five months, had her throat cut. Jason Frandi, 43, the Waimate man who police believe killed Pytlickova and then himself, had self-inflicted wounds to his left wrist.

June

- Opera diva Dame Malvina Major and Environment Canterbury commissioners chairwoman Dame Margaret Bazley are made additional members of the Order of New Zealand, the most senior honour in the country.

- New Zealand folk-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords plays a sold-out gig at the CBS Canterbury Arena, with proceeds going to the Cholmondeley Children's Home and the restoration of the Isaac Theatre Royal.

- Christchurch freezes in the coldest day on record ever recorded. At Christchurch International Airport in the official 24-hour period it reached a pitiful 0.4 degrees Celsius.

July

-"Twin-demic"; 15 sets born in June and seven in July, says the Canterbury District Health Board.

- Flu outbreak; there have been almost 600 confirmed cases in Canterbury until the end of July, and at its peak the region's flu rate was almost four times the national level.

- The blueprint for Christchurch's new city centre is unveiled.

August

- Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone, members of the New Zealand provincial reconstruction team, were killed in a firefight in northeastern Bamiyan. Six other New Zealanders were injured when their patrol was ambushed with anti-tank fire as it provided fire support for an Afghan police unit trying to arrest an insurgent at Do Abe.
Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, and Private Richard Harris, 21, were killed after a roadside bomb destroyed their Humvee in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.

- Solid Energy announces plans to move away from underground mining on the West Coast; 370 miners and contractors are in limbo after it suspends its operations at the Spring Creek mine.

- The 14-storey Newstalk ZB building in Worcester St was brought down by a controlled implosion in less than 10 seconds, the first demolition by implosion in the city since quake demolitions began.

September

- Education Minister Hekia Parata announces 13 Christchurch schools would close and plans to put another 26 through some form of merger. This sparked outrage and several protests.

- A Press investigation reveals the construction manager of the deadly Canterbury Television building stole the identity of a professional engineer and faked an engineering degree. Gerald Shirtcliff supervised the construction of the building, which was finished about October 1987. It collapsed on February 22, 2011, taking the lives of 115 people, when Christchurch was hit by a magnitude-6.3 quake.

- Local Government Minister David Carter and Environment Minister Amy Adams announced Environment Canterbury elections would not be held until 2016, despite a Government promise to hold elections in 2013.

October

- Residents in a small Port Hills street become the final Christchurch property owners to learn to the fate of their land. The eight white-zoned Lucas Ln properties were zoned green after it was decided nearly 40,000 cubic metres of unstable land above the properties could be removed to make the area safe.

- Lonely Planet lists Christchurch as one of its top ten cities for its 2013 Best In Travel guide.

- Earthquake-weary Cantabrians who fled the city are pushing up property prices in some of the country's most expensive suburbs; 3755 tax addresses moved from Canterbury to Auckland.

November

- Christchurch Girls' High School announced it had sacked longstanding principal Prue Taylor.

- The royal commission report into the Pike River mining tragedy is released. Prime Minister John Key calls it sobering. The catalogue of failure detailed in the royal commission inquiry is staggering and unprecedented in its breadth.

- Shirley Boys' High School Gangnam Style video: Shirley Boys' High pupils, facing a possible merger with Christchurch Boys' High, made a humorous plea to Education Minister Hekia Parata to remain independent. The boys made a parody video of Psy's Gangnam Style, which was posted on YouTube and soon went viral.

- The Concert, an eight-hour music and entertainment event for which ticketholders had to complete four hours of volunteer work, was held and attracted a crowd of 3500 volunteers.

- On a six-day tour of New Zealand, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited Christchurch on their final stop, attending the Canterbury A&P show, meeting red-zone residents and shared a dance on the Dance-O-Mat at the Re:Start mall.

December

- The final report by the Canterbury earthquakes royal commission concluded that the Canterbury Television building, which collapsed during the February 2011 earthquake, killing 115 people, had serious deficiencies in its design and construction.

- Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker apologised for the council's role in signing off the CTV building after a report shows it should not have been granted a building permit by the council.

- Ashburton mother Sina Solomona, 23, is murdered at her home.

- The Press

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