It wasn't all bad: A look back at the good news stories of 2021

Let's put it bluntly: 2021 has been a crappy year for many and potentially one to forget. 

But it hasn't been all bad and Newshub thought we'd remind you of a few of the better things that have happened in the last 12 months.

It may be hard to believe but some truly great things have happened this year - some involving gorgeous animals.

Giant pandas are no longer endangered, China announced in July, upgrading the status of the species from endangered to vulnerable. Hooray!

It was also declared that the ozone hole is healing at a rate of one to three percent every 10 years. One hole the size of Antarctica officially closed this year - that will spare millions of people from skin cancer over time.

The Great Barrier Reef has finally seen some recovery in an effort to regenerate areas hit by bleaching or storm destruction. It's being done by assisted spawning dubbed 'coral IVF' - how cool is science?

In the Aussie Outback, a tragic story had a cracker of an ending this year. Four-year-old Cleo Smith vanished from her campsite in a remote part of Western Australia and was missing for 18 days before an epic police investigation found her alive and well in a nearby town.

Back on this side of the Tasman, we had Axle. The missing three-year-old boy was found after 22 hours missing, 3.5km from home wearing shark gumboots and a nappy.

A couple of billionaires might have had a good year by flinging themselves up high in a rocket, but Jeff Bezos's trip alone cost $5.5 billion for four minutes in space. One may argue better news would have been using that money to pull over 20 million people in Yemen out of starvation.

Let's go to pop royalty and whether you were a Blues Clues fan or not; nothing warmed the cockles more than Steve coming out of retirement for his now-adult fans.

"I just wanted to say that after all these years, I never forgot you. Ever. And I'm super glad we're still friends," he told viewers.

It was the big warm hug we all needed.

While the insurrectionist attack by a pro-Donald Trump mob on the US Capitol was far from a warm hug, it showed up some impeccable journalism from the legend that is Robert Moore. 

As a journalist that's definitely on my good news list - and more importantly it helped send some of those violent criminals to jail.

In a year where it was hard to reunite with friends, the actual Friends reunited. The show that used to pull in 25 million American viewers per week brought the six actors back together publicly for the very first time.

Whatever you thought of it, the nostalgic celebration of times past was an antidote to our pandemic world.

New Zealand has its fair share of clever famous people and things and none more so than Doug. 

Doug was the 7.6kg potato that was dug from nature and he went global. They're still waiting to hear whether Doug gets the Guinness World Record for the heaviest spud, but it's looking likely.

Kiri Allen, the MP, is in remission from cervical cancer

I hate to mention the other dreaded C-word but we need to because New Zealand still has the lowest COVID death rate and case numbers in the OECD. That's cause for celebration.

Also thanks to COVID we had Chris Hipkins deliver his now famous 'spread your legs' comment that will make us smile, possibly for eternity.

Here's to 2022 having even more good news.