Wordle, Queen Elizabeth and "how to do a rat test" are among New Zealanders' most searched terms this year.
Google's Year in Search for 2022 ranks the topics that got people in Aotearoa talking.
Wordle: The daily word puzzle came to define the new year as it grew from a cult hit into an international sensation. New Zealand was given special credit by creator Josh Wardle for being among its earliest adopters. "I should really do the maths because it's astounding," Wardle told RNZ of the game's Kiwi playerbase. In February, Wordle was purchased by The New York Times for more than $1 million. Even a year later, Wordle continues to be a mainstay in Aotearoa's most popular search terms.
Locations of interest: Covid-19 continued to induce anxiety across the country and internationally. If the previous Delta variant wasn't enough, the discovery that Omicron had entered New Zealand certainly spiced things up. On February 25, the Ministry of Health declared it would stop announcing new locations of interest as it entered Phase 3 of its response strategy.
Australian Open: Sport continues to be the great unifier. The 2022 Australian Open, held in January, was a welcome distraction as many people hid from the rampaging Omicron variant.
Covid-19 cases today: New Zealand's Covid-19 numbers reached new heights in 2022, with the country likely to reach its two millionth case before the end of the year. New Zealanders continued to read daily updates until the Ministry of Health shifted to weekly reporting in September.
All Blacks vs Ireland: The less said about this the better.
Ukraine: The world was shaken when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, escalating the until-then largely static conflict into a full-scale war. The conflict is not showing any signs of slowing down, despite several countries condemning the actions of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
World cup: The All Blacks' shocking performance earlier in the year had many fearing for the future of New Zealand's favourite sport, but those worries were put to bed when the Black Ferns showed them how it was done. The women's team dominated the 2021 Rugby World Cup (delayed to 2022 due to the pandemic) with a series of outstanding games that put the Black Ferns, and fan-favourite player Ruby Tui, front and centre.
Quordle: Another testament to Wordle's success, Quordle is one of the more popular games to follow in its footsteps, with challenges to guess four words at once. Though they didn't make it to the overall top ten, Heardle, Globle, Octordle, and Nerdle were also within the most popular search terms of 2022.
Matariki: Aotearoa's newest holiday is also its oldest. The celebration was recognised as a public holiday last year, and New Zealanders had their first proper Matariki day off in June of 2022.
Queen Elizabeth: The long-serving monarch passed away on 8 September at age 96, having sat on the throne for 70 years. Her passing has left the monarchy open to King Charles III, whose coronation is set for 6 May, 2023.
Other popular search terms included Johnny Depp, Clarke Gayford, Thor: Love and Thunder, Euphoria, guacamole, hot cross buns, and driving lessons.