2013: Winners and losers

It's been a year of highs and lows for New Zealand on the international stage, with some standout figures and stunning defeats.

Here's a quick round-up of our winners and losers for 2013.

Winners

Lorde (left) and Eleanor Catton.
Lorde (left) and Eleanor Catton.
No list of Kiwi winners would be complete without a mention of the three women trouncing their rivals on a global scale this year - Auckland singer Lorde, golfer Lydia Ko and Booker prize winner Eleanor Catton.

The trio have hit the top spot in their chosen fields, soaring to international acclaim this year, with Lorde topping the charts in the US and UK, Ko turning pro and winning in just her second tournament as a professional, while Catton became the youngest Man Booker prize winner, with the longest book, for her epic novel The Luminaries.

In another coup for the women, a group of Auckland law students made headlines around the world after their parody of Robin Thicke's hit song Blurred Lines went viral.

The Law Revue Girls' Defined Lines took a stand against the objectification of women and the songs' controversial lyrics, but it sparked controversy of its own and was temporarily banned from YouTube.

However, the prize for luckiest Kiwi surely goes to the Christchurch man who nearly missed out on a $22.6 million Lotto payout after believing the ticket had already been claimed.

The anonymous winner was tracked down by Lotto officials who traced his jackpot Big Wednesday ticket after it lay unclaimed for weeks.

Meanwhile, Maori Affairs MP Pita Sharples found a ray of light among the formalities of Nelson Mandela's funeral when he became "sandwiched" between supermodel Naomi Campbell and Irish rocker Bono on the bus taking dignitaries to view the South African leader's remains.

He tweeted it was "certainly an extraordinary occasion", and told reporters he had a "good old chat" with Campbell, who was "very gorgeous and has a groovy voice".

Losers 

Wati Holmwood.
Wati Holmwood.
One image which was, unfortunately, seared into the minds of sports fans this year was that of State of Origin streaker Wati Holmwood.

The 33-year-old New Zealander ran onto the field wearing nothing but joggers during the final minutes of the rugby league decider in July, quickly incurring the wrath of Queensland fans when he cost them an attempt at a try.

He was later jailed for three months and fined $2000 for his naked escapade.

The city of Wellington may have taken one of the biggest blows of the year, after Sir Peter Jackson decided to hold the premier of the second instalment of his Hobbit trilogy in Los Angeles. To the dismay of New Zealand-based Tolkien fans, the capital - which played host to the world premier of the first film - was pushed to one side.

In another movie-related incident, New Zealand suffered on the international stage when Oscar winning film Argo re-wrote history by suggesting Kiwi diplomats turned away Americans who escaped from a US Embassy hostage crisis during the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

Politicians here took it badly, formally criticising the portrayal in Parliament, an action which saw other countries poke fun at Kiwis' thin-skins.

But the furore prompted the release of official documents, and an acknowledgment from the film's director and star Ben Affleck who admitted it "casts Britain and New Zealand in a way that is not totally fair".

And finally, do we dare mention the America's Cup? ... Too soon.

- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ

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