A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020

With 2020 almost at a close, it'll be a year many will be glad to see come to an end.

It's been a year that's seen the world changed by the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump ousted as US President, and New Zealand dealing with its own election and response to the virus.

Here's 2020 in photos and the events that shaped the year.

January

The year began with bushfires in Australia continuing to ravage the nation.

BATEMANS BAY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 02: (AUSTRALIA OUT): NSW RFS firefighters work through the night to prevent a flare-up from crossing the Kings Highway in between Nelligen and Batemans Bay on January 2, 2020 in Batemans Bay, NSW, Australia. NSW RFS has called for all tourists to leave the area ahead of this weekend's hazardous fire conditions. (Photo by Kate Geraghty/The SMH/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images
Smoky haze from the Australian bushfires drifted across the Tasman to New Zealand. Here's Balclutha, Southland with an ominous orange sky.
Smoky haze from the Australian bushfires drifted across the Tasman to New Zealand. Here's Balclutha, Southland with an ominous orange sky. Photo credit: Twitter / Rebekah Lyell

On January 6, Newshub first reported that a "mystery virus" was spreading through central China and dozens of people had been hospitalised. At the time only 59 people had been infected.

At the time people thought the virus could be SARS, and they had ruled out Bird Flu and Middle East respiratory syndrome.

By mid-January, the virus had begun to spread from its epicentre in Wuhan throughout China and was confirmed as a new strain of coronavirus.

Even though the virus hadn't spread to New Zealand yet, cases had been recorded in Japan, Thailand, and Korea.

WUHAN, CHINA - JANUARY 22:  (CHINA OUT) A man wears a mask while walking in the street on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. A new infectious coronavirus known as "2019-nCoV" was discovered in Wuhan as the number of cases rose to over 400 in mainland China. Health officials stepped up efforts to contain the spread of the pneumonia-like disease which medicals experts confirmed can be passed from human to human. The death toll has reached 17 people as the Wuhan government issued regulations today that residents must wear masks in public places. Cases have been reported in other countries including the United States, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.  (Photo by Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images
WUHAN, CHINA - JANUARY 22: People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, China. A new infectious coronavirus known as "2019-nCoV" was discovered in Wuhan last week. Health officials stepped up efforts to contain the spread of the pneumonia-like disease which medical experts confirmed can be passed from human to human. Cases have been reported in other countries including the United States,Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. It is reported that Wuhan will suspend all public transportation at 10 AM on January 23, 2020.  (Photo by Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

Otago University Professor of Public Health Michael Baker said it would be "very responsible" for authorities in New Zealand to start looking at what parts of the pandemic plan should be rolled out here.

"We do need to think about whether border screening and this risk-based screening is needed," he said.

Otago University Professor of Public Health Michael Baker.
Otago University Professor of Public Health Michael Baker. Photo credit: Newshub

But at the time, the Ministry of Health said there were no direct flights between Wuhan and New Zealand, and it wasn't "recommending screening to be used at airports here".

In late January several cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Australia and the Ministry of Health admitted the likelihood of the virus getting to New Zealand was "high".

Legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash on January 26.

Tributes flowed from around the world for him and his daughter as news of their tragic deaths spread.

A mural depicting deceased NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, painted by @sloe_motions, is displayed on a building on February 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Numerous murals depicting Bryant and Gianna have been created around greater Los Angeles following their tragic deaths in a helicopter crash which left a total of nine dead.
A mural depicting deceased NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, painted by @sloe_motions, is displayed on a building on February 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Numerous murals depicting Bryant and Gianna have been created around greater Los Angeles following their tragic deaths in a helicopter crash which left a total of nine dead. Photo credit: Getty Images

On January 30 the NZ Government chartered an Air New Zealand flight to assist New Zealanders stranded in Wuhan.

February

On February 2, the Government announced a ban on foreign travellers from China to protect the country from coronavirus. 

A New Zealander on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan tested positive for coronavirus.

PPE takes off in February with a US businessman seen wearing a plastic tent on a plane.

"The man who sat next to him didn't even bat an eye." Photo credit: Boing Boing
"The man who sat next to him didn't even bat an eye." Photo credit: Boing Boing

The World Health Organization names the virus COVID-19 - short for coronavirus disease 2019 - on February 11. By then over 43,000 people had been infected worldwide, and more than 1000 dead from the illness.

Residents in low-lying areas of Gore, Wyndham, and Mataura in Southland had to be evacuated as flooding ravaged the area.

Gore pictured from above.
Gore pictured from above. Photo credit: Facebook / Hamish Walker

US President Donald Trump's impeachment drew demonstrations across the country, but he was ultimately acquitted in his US Senate impeachment trial.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a copy of The Washington Post as he speaks in the East Room of the White House one day after the U.S. Senate acquitted on two articles of impeachment, ion February 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. After five months of congressional hearings and investigations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the U.S. Senate formally acquitted the president on Wednesday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress.
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a copy of The Washington Post as he speaks in the East Room of the White House one day after the U.S. Senate acquitted on two articles of impeachment, ion February 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. After five months of congressional hearings and investigations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the U.S. Senate formally acquitted the president on Wednesday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress. Photo credit: Getty Images

New Zealand reports its first case of coronavirus on February 28, a person in their 60s who returned to New Zealand from Iran via Bali.

By the end of February there were more cases of COVID-19 outside of China than inside. The World Health Organisation said the sudden increase of cases was deeply concerning, but they were still not prepared to declare a worldwide pandemic.  

Director general of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom.
Director general of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom. Photo credit: Getty

March

On March 4, New Zealand's second case of COVID-19 was confirmed and from then on there was almost a new case recorded every day.

The pandemic was then taking off in Europe, which later became the new epicentre, and Italy's Prime Minister placed the country into lockdown.

The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on March 10.

Cases continued to climb and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand's border would close to everyone who was not a citizen or permanent resident.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Getty

On March 23, Ardern placed the country in Alert Level 3 immediately, moving to Level 4 lockdown 48 hours later.

The announcement spurred panic buying at petrol stations and supermarkets.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images
A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images

The first day of New Zealand's lockdown on March 26 made the usually busy motorways eerily quiet.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images
A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Newshub.

On March 29, New Zealand recorded the country's first death from COVID-19. The West Coast woman in her 60s had underlying health conditions. By then, NZ had recorded 514 cases of COVID-19.

April

On April 2, New Zealand had its biggest increase of cases in one day - 89. 

Cases continue to rise around the world to over 1 million and deaths surpass 50,000.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hospitalised with the virus and is looked after by Invercargill-born nurse Jenny McGee.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Kiwi nurse Jenny McGee.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Kiwi nurse Jenny McGee. Photo credit: Getty, Facebook

Former Health Minister David Clark apologised after he drove 2.3 kilometres to go mountain biking during the alert level four lockdown.

At the time he said it was his only chance to "get out for some exercise in daylight hours", but said it was a timely reminder for him to "think carefully about how best to fit some exercise into my new-normal routine".

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 27:  Health Minister Dr David Clark speaks to the media on July 27, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced a joint accord between District Health Boards, the Nurses Organisation and the Ministry of Health to ensure safe staffing levels in public hospitals.  (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

As the country's lockdown continued, the streets were still left bare as Kiwis obeyed the stay-at-home rules.

There was a supermarket frenzy ahead of the Easter supermarket shutdown. Amid lockdown, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced supermarkets would close on Good Friday, but open on Easter Sunday.

Queues snaked around footpaths and stretched down the road at one Wellington supermarket ahead of the one-day closure.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Newshub.
A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Newshub.

On April 13, New Zealand recorded a fifth COVID-19 related death and the next day a further four deaths were announced.

New Zealand moved to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm on April 27.

May

For the first time in months, New Zealand recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on May 4.

Globally, the number of cases surpassed 4 million with the death toll over 282,000.

New Zealand entered it's first day at Level 2 on May 14.

The National Party had its first change of leadership in May, with Todd Muller rolling Simon Bridges.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images

Protests on police brutality against African Americans following US man George Floyd's death erupted across the world.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images
Protesters gather behind a banner spelling the name of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white policeman kneeled on his neck for several minutes, during a "Black Lives Matter" protest on May 29, 2020, at Foley Square in New York City. Demonstrations are being held across the US after George Floyd died in police custody on May 25.
Protesters gather behind a banner spelling the name of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white policeman kneeled on his neck for several minutes, during a "Black Lives Matter" protest on May 29, 2020, at Foley Square in New York City. Demonstrations are being held across the US after George Floyd died in police custody on May 25. Photo credit: Getty Images
Protesters crowd Hollywood Boulevard during the All Black Lives Matter solidarity march as unrest continues in the wake of the death of George Floyd, on June 14, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Protesters crowd Hollywood Boulevard during the All Black Lives Matter solidarity march as unrest continues in the wake of the death of George Floyd, on June 14, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

June

Black Lives Matter protests continued into June, with one being held in Auckland.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Supplied / Hannah Davey

June brought the Pike River Mine families one step closer to finding answers after a robot sent into the mine's drift days after the 2010 explosion was recovered.

"For years we were told that the drift was too dangerous to enter. This shows that we can get in and we can get evidence out," Pike River widow Anna Osborne said.

"The last time this robot saw the light of day we were being told by the mine management that our men would still be alive down there eating their crib. It was the start of years of lies that are finally being put to rest by this recovery."

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Supplied

On June 8, New Zealand entered Alert Level 1.

New Zealand's run of zero active coronavirus cases ended on June 16 after two women who left managed isolation on compassionate grounds later tested positive.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images

July

New clusters of COVID-19 emerged in Melbourne bringing parts of the city back into lockdown, however all of NZ's cases were in managed isolation.

National's second leadership crisis of the year saw Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee become the new leaders. The pair continued to lead the party through the election.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 14:  New leader of the National Party Judith Collins (R) with new deputy leader Gerry Brownlee (L) emerge from the vote on July 14, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. National MPs met for an emergency caucus meeting to discuss who would replace Todd Muller as party leader following his resignation this morning. Todd Muller's resignation on health grounds comes after 53 days in the role of National Party leader, following the ousting of Simon Bridges.  (Photo by Robert Kitchin-Pool/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

Northland's one-in-500-year flood brought destruction to the region.

A massive landslip at Mangamuka Gorge meant an entire road was blocked off by a deluge of fallen trees and dirt.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Newshub.
A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Newshub.

Disgraced former Labour minister Iain Lees-Galloway was sacked from Cabinet over having a relationship with a former staffer.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 12:  Labour's Immigration spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway speaks at the Labour Party Immigration Policy media briefing at ANZ Viaduct Events Centre on June 12, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. Labour plans to introduce immigration reforms to reduce pressure on cities and get skilled workers.  (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

August

On August 12, Auckland moved back in Alert Level 3 lockdown, and the rest of the country to Level 2, after four members of a family tested positive for COVID-19.

After the announcement of Auckland's second lockdown, many flocked to supermarkets to panic-buy essential items.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Supplied

The next day 13 new cases were announced, and new cases were recorded daily around Auckland and Waikato as the Ministry of Health attempted to find the source and perimeter of the cluster. The Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship subcluster also emerged.

Jacinda Ardern announced the 2020 Election will be moved to October following the second outbreak.

On August 27, the Christchurch mosque attack terrorists was sentenced to life without parole, an outcome that victims celebrated.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Newshub.
A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020

September

As Auckland's alert level 2.5 continued, some protesters responded with a "campaign to end lockdowns".

A large crowd turned out to the event despite restrictions on the size of gatherings at the time.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Facebook / NZ Liberty Movement

Wildfires in California wreaked havoc across the state and forced some to flee their homes. Among them was Kiwi Jody Brettkelly, who described the blaze as "unbelieveable".

"We're inside and your eyes are sort of streaming. Everything is so dry and you can smell the smoke inside which is really scary," she said.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 9: Jamie Johnson, of San Francisco, takes his lunch at Embarcadero as smoky skies from the northern California wildfires casts a reddish color in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Photo by Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty
MONROVIA, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  An aerial view shows neighborhoods enshrouded in smoke as the Bobcat Fire advances toward foothill cities and new evacuation order go into effect on September 13, 2020 in Monrovia, California. California wildfires that have already incinerated a record 2.3 million acres this year and are expected to continue till December. The Bobcat Fire, burning in the San Gabriel Mountains, has grown to about 32,000 acres and is only 6% contained.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

Auckland was brought to a standstill after a central strut on the Harbour Bridge was damaged when strong winds toppled a medium-sized truck.

It took some Aucklanders hours to get home since several lanes on the bridge were blocked and traffic backed up for kilometres.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020

On September 29, the COVID-19 death toll surpassed 1 million.

October

On October 2, former US President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalised as a precaution.

President Donald J. Trump, with a bandage in his hand, removes his face mask as he arrives to speak to supporters from the Blue Room balcony during an event at the White House on Saturday, Oct 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald J. Trump remains at the White House after testing positive for COVID-19.
President Donald J. Trump, with a bandage in his hand, removes his face mask as he arrives to speak to supporters from the Blue Room balcony during an event at the White House on Saturday, Oct 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald J. Trump remains at the White House after testing positive for COVID-19. Photo credit: Getty

Auckland later moved to Alert Level 1.

A fire ripped through the small village of Oahu in Canterbury and resulted in the evacuation of residents.

Streets of houses were destroyed in the blaze and the lost of property was "significant", according to Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Newshub.
061020 News. Photo: Bejon Haswell/Stuff
Aerial images of Ohau fire zone
Photo credit: Newshub.

The election was held on October 17 after being delayed one month due to COVID-19. It resulted in a landslide win for Labour who were able to govern alone on the results.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images
A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images
David Seymour arriving to his election night headquarters.
David Seymour arriving to his election night headquarters. Photo credit: Getty Images
The Green Party's Chloe Swarbrick won the Auckland Central seat following the election.
The Green Party's Chloe Swarbrick won the Auckland Central seat following the election. Photo credit: Getty Images

November

The United States election drew people's attention from across the world. Joe Biden ousted Donald Trump and was declared president-elect.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images
A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images

The kākāpō won the title of bird of the year for the second time. The victory was despite a desperate attempt to steal the election after scrutineers discovered 1500 votes were cast from the same IP address early one morning.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images

December

Monoliths popping up in various places around the world was one of the more mystifying stories of the year.

Not only did one appear in New Zealand, but others were found in Utah, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Romania.

A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images
A year in pictures: The most significant moments throughout the unprecedented events of 2020
Photo credit: 7News

Seven years after the Roast Busters alleged group sex ring was exposed, charges were filed against three men. An alleged victim said she was "shocked" but "relieved" at the development.

Joseph Parker, pictured in 2019.
Joseph Parker, pictured in 2019. Photo credit: Newshub.