Covid 19 coronavirus: Kerre McIvor – Goodbye to 2020, a shocker of a year


On Friday, I turned off the microphone and put away my headphones and said goodbye to my colleagues at NewsTalk ZB for the final time for 2020.

This morning, I write my final column for the year. And I will be absolutely delighted when December 31 rolls around to say haere rā to the year that was.

She’s been a doozy. And yet, as I look across the ditch, and see our cousins in New South Wales on the verge of a hard lockdown and see the second wave of Covid sweeping through Europe, I am reminded that I have much to be grateful for living in New Zealand.

I’m writing this on the balcony of my hotel in Ahuriri, Napier. Across the road from me, early morning swimmers are just coming back to shore after rounding the buoy. Boaties have headed out for a glorious day on the water and a group of dads are drinking their takeaway coffees, chatting and keeping a watchful eye on their kids at the playground.

I came to Hawke’s Bay with a group of friends – ostensibly to go to a concert but really to spend some quality time together. The excellent restaurants and cafes in Napier were chokka, the farmer’s market was doing a roaring trade and the wineries were going great guns.A typical Hawke’s Bay weekend – but unimaginable in most parts of the world.

The America’s Cup is showcasing Auckland and New Zealand to the world, and what a luxury it is to be hosting that.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson got an early Christmas present when figures out this week showed that the New Zealand economy has rebounded after a post-lockdown contraction, particularly in the retail and accommodation areas.

New home builds are up, manufacturing is up, and our exports are in high demand. So yes, much to be grateful for. I know it’s a marathon, not a sprint and there is still much work to be done, particularly around this country’s infrastructure. But surely only the most churlish would not take a moment as we enter into the Christmas break to reflect that things could be a whole lot worse.

Some people have told me they’ve had a great year – even people who lost their jobs. We had a couple of hours of callers on my final show, telling me how they’d used the lockdown time to either find a new, better job or to start their own business. Or they spent quality time they could never otherwise have had with their families or they used the time to prepare their own meals, embed an exercise routine and get healthy.

I salute these resilient souls, I really do. And I will take inspiration from them as I reset for 2021. After this year, I’m not going to make any predictions or resolutions for the New Year.

I’m not even going to confidently predict I’ll have a home. The lease is up on my apartment and I’ve been looking for a place to live for the past few months – everything from five bedroom family homes to apartments – and so far, nothing. They’ve either gone for money I wasn’t willing – or indeed, able – to pay or they have so many consent and compliance issues, I’ve had to walk away on the advice of my lawyer.

So who knows what the New Year will bring? If there’s one thing this year has taught me, it’s that we never know what’s around the corner. Expect the unexpected. And take nothing for granted.

If this year’s been a shocker for you, I do hope next year brings you new opportunities. Thank you to all the essential workers and emergency workers who kept us safe and well and supplied during both lockdowns and who will be doing so during the holiday period.

And now, I’m shutting down the computer and heading down to the beach. And I’ll be counting the days ’til I can say see ya to 2020. Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out.

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