Photos of 2019: RNZ's picks from around the country

9:23 am on 28 December 2019

RNZ's photographers and reporters were witness to New Zealand's most heartbreaking events in 2019, covering the Christchurch mosque shootings, the Whakaari/White Island eruption and the Tasman fires.

But they also recorded stories of ordinary - and extraordinary - New Zealanders and captured everyday moments of joy.

Here are some of their images.

Christchurch mosque attacks

Restaurateur Ahmed Jahangir was wounded in the Christchurch mosque shootings on 15 March, which left 51 people dead. For months afterwards he endured pain and many rounds of surgery, and his restaurant was closed. He told his story to Conan Young.

Restaurateur Ahmed Jahangir was shot in the Christchurch mosque attacks. His chef was too. His restaurant has been closed since.

Ahmed Jahangir photographed in September. His restaurant has since re-opened and Ahmed has continued to recover. Photo: RNZ/Simon Rogers

Two weeks after the attacks, tens of thousands had gathered for the National Remembrance Service at Christchurch's Hagley Park and at services held throughout the country.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern places her hand over her heart as she walks past family members during a National Remembrance Service at Hagley Park, Christchurch, 29 March 2019.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern places her hand over her heart as she walks past mourners during the National Remembrance Service at Hagley Park, Christchurch. Photo: AFP / Marty Melville

National Remembrance Service, Hagley Park, Christchurch, 29 March 2019.

Thousands turned out for the National Remembrance Service at Christchurch's Hagley Park. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The Tasman fires

The Tasman wildfires spread across more than 2000 hectares, burning forests, farms and two homes in its path, and growing to the country's largest blaze in half a century. Over two weeks in February, 55 properties were damaged, with losses reaching $30 million, and more than 3000 people had been evacuated from their homes.

Red Cross workers help a woman who was evacuated from Teapot Valley.

Red Cross workers help a woman who was evacuated from Teapot Valley. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Firefighters working on Tasman fires

Firefighters tackle part of the Tasman wildfires that burned across more than 2000 hectares. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Te Matatini

The world's biggest kapa haka festival arrived in Wellington in February with more than 50,000 spectators turning out for the event.

Powhiri for Te Matatini at Waitangi Park 20 February 2019

The powhiri for Te Matatini at Waitangi Park, 20 February. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

In the concourse of Westpac stadium hundreds of stalls were set up, some painting tā moko on children's faces.

In the concourse of Westpac Stadium, the main festival venue, hundreds of stalls were set up, with some for painting tā moko on children's faces. Photo: Ana Tovey / RNZ

Wild weather

There was no shortage of wild weather in 2019 with ended with floods leaving tourists stranded and major roads closed. In August, residents in St Heliers, Auckland were shocked as a violent tornado tore through the suburb, and in Taranaki another twister crashed into houses and injured two people.

A violent tornado burst through the suburb of St Heliers last night. Two homes bore the brunt of the damage.

A violent tornado tore through the suburb of St Heliers in August. Two homes bore the brunt of the damage. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

That Super Over

In July the Black Caps suffered a cruel defeat in the Cricket World Cup in what a Guardian journalist described as 'the most astonishing, fortuitous, preposterous climax to any match'.

Martin Guptill at the Cricket World Cup final won by England after a super over.

A dejected Martin Guptill is consoled by England's Chris Woakes after the Super Over in this image from the Photosport agency. After an extraordinary final in which both sides scored 241 from their 50 overs and then could not then be separated after a Super Over, the Black Caps lost to hosts England by virtue of registering more boundaries across the contest. Photo: Photosport / Andrew Cornaga

Ihumātao

Protesters occupied Ihumātao in South Auckland in July in a bid to stop a housing development, and mana whenua groups made it clear they wanted the land returned to them.

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Hundreds of Ihumātao protesters, including a 73-year-old kaumātua, marched for six hours through heavy rain and strong winds to deliver a petition to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's electorate office. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

SOUL co-founder Pania Newton at Ihumātao on 24 July, 2019.

SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) co-founder Pania Newton at Ihumātao. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Protester and police at Ihumatao.

A protester and police at Ihumātao. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Joy Project

RNZ has been talking to New Zealanders about what makes them happy for a second series of the Joy Project. Artist and performer Julian Chote, 26, was among those featured.

Julian Chote, 26, is an artist and performer.

Julian Chote dances a lot - even in the kitchen - and he's happy to improvise. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Taranaki people

New Plymouth woman Daveena Dawrant was shocked when she discovered she had been living on top of an abandoned oil well.

Daveena Dawrant, from New Plymouth, holds a jar of oil, which was collected from an abandoned well underneath her backyard.

Daveena Dawrant holds a jar of oil, which was collected from an abandoned well underneath her backyard. She was alerted to the problem with her Moturoa home when crude oil began leaking from the abandoned Blenheim-1 well underneath her neighbour's house in 2003. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Meanwhile, Katey Pittwood made a discovery of a happier kind. Removing lining from a bedroom wall in her New Plymouth property, she slowly uncovered posters of the Rolling Stones, Beatles, the Kinks and many more stars of yesteryear.

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Katey Pittwood and daughter Fable Bea, 4, surrounded by posters in their New Plymouth home. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Haunui voyage

In October, the voyaging waka Haunui made its way around Aotearoa for the Tuia 250 commemorations. Reporter Meriana Johnsen joined the crew on board from Anaura Bay to Gisborne.

The waka flotilla arrives in the bay as part of the Tuia 250.

The waka flotilla arrives in the bay as part of the Tuia 250. Photo: RNZ / Meriana Johnsen

Climate strikes

Thousands of students ditched school in May and took to the streets in a nationwide climate strikes, joining a worldwide movement inspired by Greta Thunberg.

Wellington Climate Strike 190524

Students speak at a climate change march in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Auckland students climate change strike

Auckland students at the climate change strike, 24 May. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Whakaari/White Island

At 2.11pm on 9 December Whakaari/White Island erupted in a deadly cloud of steam and rock killing 17 people with two others missing presumed dead.

Those closest to the island moments after the eruption were tourists who had just left for the mainland by boat.

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US tourist Michael Schade, who took this photo, was on the island about 20 minutes before the eruption. His boat returned to help rescued tourists, many severely injured. Photo: Michael Schade

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met first responders in Whakatāne.

Jacinda Ardern meets first responders in Whakatāne.

Jacinda Ardern hugs one of the St John's Ambulance crew involved in the Whakaari/White Island evacuation effort. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Politics

A busy year at Parliament gave plenty of scope for RNZ photographer Dom Thomas to shoot portraits of politicians answering - or not - reporters' questions as they walked through Parliament buildings.

Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters at Parliament. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

One lucky dog

There was a happy ending for Flint the conservation dog who spent 36 hours alone, muzzled and stranded on the sub-Antarctic Campbell Island, before being reunited with owner Richard Johnston. Read the story here.

Flint the conservation dog.

Flint relaxing after being reunited with his owner Richard Johnston. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Images by Claire Eastham-Farrelly, Dan Cook, Simon Rogers, Ana Tovey, Dom Thomas, Rebekah Parsons-King, Robin Martin, Meriana Johnsen and the AFP and Photosport agencies. The Whakaari/White Island image by Michael Schade is used with permission.