Baby Neve, Meghan Markle and 12 Thai footballers walk into a (milk) bar. What happens next? 2018!
We’ve officially said toodle-loo to another year of life on planet earth. But there was certainly no shortage of history made in twenty18. We look back at the biggest, boldest and baddest of the year that was …
Praise the Lord for scuba divers
In June and July the world was gripped after 12 young Thai football players and their coach became trapped in a flooded cave system deep in the hills of Northern Thailand. The Tham Luang cave rescue had the world transfixed as divers and specialists from across the globe worked to bring the boys four kilometres to the mouth of the cave. Miraculously, 18 days after the team first entered the cave, all 13 were rescued and returned to their families.
Women drive in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabian women were legally able to receive driver’s licences for the first time in decades. This comes after years of campaigning from rights groups, some who were even imprisoned for choosing to get behind the wheel.
Welcome baby Neve!
On June 24, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford. The nation was gripped with Neve fever, as Jacinda became the second elected head of government to give birth while in office (after Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto in 1990).
Meghan becomes Mrs
Prince Harry tied the knot with his beloved—former Suits star Meghan Markle. Millions tuned in to the event, packed with celebrities from Elton John to Serena Williams. How good was that address from Bishop Michael Curry!
… And in Sallies news
The Salvation Army New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga added Samoa to our territory. We’ve been thrilled to incorporate our Samoan brothers and sisters in Christ, as part of our wider work at the bottom of the world!
Astronauts and Avengers
What a year for film! Topping the global box office in 2018 was Marvel’s Black Panther—the ground-breaking and critically acclaimed flick took in a whopping $US 1.3 billion, making it the third highest grossing film of all time. A couple of months later, Marvel dropped the highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War. With its ensemble cast, and budget of close to $400 million, it became one of the most expensive films ever made. But audiences adored the gargantuan line-up of superheroes from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In May, Star Wars fans were lucky enough to witness a young Han Solo in Disney’s fourth Star Wars feature Solo: A Star Wars Story. While some reviews were mixed, War Cry Star Wars fans thought Alden Ehrenreich did a superb job of portraying the young space smuggler.
In October, we were treated to First Man, a look at the life and times of the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong. Director Damien Chazelle (La La Land) brought to life the thrilling and precarious experiences of the early American space missions. Stunning cinematography and a superb performance from Ryan Gosling made First Man a gripping look at one of science’s most respected figures.
Other great flicks of the year include Mission Impossible 6, The Incredibles 2, A Star is Born and Annihilation.
Ed and Taylor ♥ NZ
In March, English singer-songwriter sensation Ed Sheeran played a whopping six New Zealand stadium shows! Boy, you’d think it was the second coming of the Beatles—absolute Sheeran mania it was.
Then, in November, T Swizzle played to a packed out Mt Smart stadium in Auckland where fans were treated to a theatre-esque performance with seven acts. Other big gigs of the year include Post Malone, Pink, Bruno Mars and The Killers.
Love it or hate it, a song aimed at toddlers spread like wildfire in twenty18. Who knew a song about the roles in a shark whānau would amass a whopping 1.9 billion YouTube views! Not to mention the thousands of video tributes hashtagged #babysharkchallenge. I’m sure there’s no shortage of parents who wish the song would somehow disappear forever.
Do you floss?
Can you floss? The other major viral sensation of the year required that you repeatedly swing your arms from front to back while doing something weird with your hips. The Floss became viral after the ‘backpack kid’ performed it during a Saturday Night Live performance of Katy Perry’s Swish Swish. It has since become particularly popular among kids, who hip-swivel with much more flair than their parents. It was even attempted by British politician Jeremy Corbyn!
Football and the footie
Football fans were treated to an as-usual thrilling and spectacular Fifa World Cup. Hosted in Russia, many Kiwi appeared to be backing England to ‘bring it home’. Sadly, Gareth Southgate’s men didn’t quite have the calibre needed to go all the way, eventually being knocked out 2–1 by Croatia in a semi-final.
In July, the New Zealand women’s sevens team, the Black Ferns, defended their Sevens World Cup title in San Francisco. The final saw them beat France 29–0 with the help of a hat-trick from Michaela Blyde. The men also held onto their World Cup title at the same event, beating England 33–12.
In cricket, Black Caps opening batsman Tom Latham worked his way up the ranks with a soaring 264 not out in a December test against Sri Lanka at Wellington’s Basin Reserve. It was the highest test innings for 2018 along with the sixth highest for a New Zealander ever. It was also the highest by a New Zealand opener, and the highest by an opener at the Basin Reserve. Latham batted for a whopping 694 minutes—New Zealand’s third longest test innings.