Preview: What to expect in the year ahead

2017 may have had the election, and all that post-election suspense - but 2018 is already looking just as interesting.

Decisions will be made that will not only affect us here in the South Pacific - but in all corners of the globe, and beyond.

While Russians weren't allowed to officially participate at the Winter Olympics thanks to their country's state-sponsored doping programme, on March 18 they will be able to participate in something - Vladimir Putin's probable re-election as president, for a fourth term.

Winston Peters will be in charge of New Zealand for six weeks in June/July - while Vladimir Putin will almost certainly still be in charge of Russia after the March 18 election.
Winston Peters will be in charge of New Zealand for six weeks in June/July - while Vladimir Putin will almost certainly still be in charge of Russia after the March 18 election. Photo credit: Reuters

Mr Putin's unlikely to be invited to this year's most anticipated event though - the Royal Wedding.

On May 19, Prince Harry, aka, the wild one - will marry American actress Meghan Markle of Suits fame.

With an influx of nephews and nieces pushing him down the hierarchy, the world's poshest ginger may be more "spare" than ever these days - but hey - a British Royal Prince is getting hitched, and we're all invited, to watch it on TV anyway.

It will probably be the biggest royal wedding since the last one.
It will probably be the biggest royal wedding since the last one. Photo credit: Getty

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is certainly set for a busy year - and not just because she's producing a little heir of her own.

Ms Ardern will be rubbing shoulders with royalty at Buckingham Palace for the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in late April - likely her final appearance on the world stage before New Zealand's "first baby" arrives in June. 

That's when Winston Peters will take charge of the country - for what could be a very interesting six weeks in New Zealand politics. 

But Ms Ardern should be back on board to see for herself how Australia's asylum seekers are being treated in Nauru, when the Pacific Island Forum is held on the tiny island in September

She'll also attend November's APEC forum in Papua New Guinea, where she'll likely catch-up with her new bestie Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - and probably bump into old mate Donald Trump.

Will Donald Trump mistake Jacinda Ardern for Justin Trudeau's wife at APEC again?
Will Donald Trump mistake Jacinda Ardern for Justin Trudeau's wife at APEC again? Photo credit: Getty

Earth's environment and dwindling natural resources remain in the spotlight this year.

Silicon Valley start-up Moon Express aims to put a person back on the moon in 2018 - and then mine it.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, our climate will come under huge scrutiny in December at the COP24 environmental summit in Poland.

Key decisions are expected on the implementation of the Paris climate accords - without American influence. That could have some far-reaching consequences for New Zealand's ten million flatulating cows. 

So watch this space - it's set to be an explosive year ahead.

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