Top 10 odd stories of 2015

Shabani the hunky gorilla (Twitter/@minarup)
Shabani the hunky gorilla (Twitter/@minarup)

It's been a solid year for odd news around the world, with New Zealand's own Prime Minister topping the list.

And while John Key tried to brush off the bizarre political scandal that was "ponytail-gate", he got into some other hairy situations this year as well. First, he was photographed dwarfed by a two-metre Sam Whitelock in the changing sheds of the Rugby World Cup. And just when he had laughed that off, Mr Key was mistaken for a Czech politician in the photo caption of an English-language newspaper in Vietnam — perhaps they should have double 'Czeched'?

Here are 10 of the best strange new items 3 News covered in 2015:

In April, the Prime Minister was forced to apologise to waitress Amanda Bailey for persistently pulling her ponytail while visiting her Auckland café over a six-month period.

Mr Key said the incident was just "horsing around" and "practical jokes", but the hair-pulling was labelled sexist and unacceptable by critics.

"It's never okay to touch someone without their permission," said Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue. "There are no exceptions."

American musician Ryan Adams decided to spend the night before his Auckland show this year helping an abandoned kitty in the Symonds St cemetery.

Before long the cat and fans' attempts to rescue it became the top trending topic on Twitter in New Zealand. The cat was eventually taken in by rescue organisation Lonely Miaow for adoption.

A GPS can be very helpful when you don't know where you're going, but sometimes you have to use your own judgement.

A woman in Auckland allegedly blamed her GPS navigator for taking her on the wrong side of the road and straight into the path of an oncoming car. Dashcam footage shows the unnamed woman turning left before crashing head-on into Ian Mander's Subaru Forester.

Wellington residents in the suburb of Strathmore started 2015 with a mysterious bang.

In January, they heard what sounded like an explosion at around 9:30pm, and many of them rushed into the street to check out the cause. Was it a meteor? Gas cylinder? Superman? They are still none the wiser.

A woman who iced a cake with a foul-mouthed attack on her former employer, NZCU, never thought a photo of it posted to her private Facebook page would be shown to all NZCU staff.

The incident cost the credit union record damages of $168,000 for a breach of privacy, after the NZCU tried to use the picture to get Karen Hammond sacked from her new job. The cake was decorated with the words: "NZCU F**K YOU" in icing.

A giant gorilla with brooding good looks and rippling muscles caused a stir this year at a Japanese zoo, with women flocking to check out the hunky pin-up.

Shabani, an 18-year-old silverback, became the star attraction at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya for striking smouldering poses the movie model in Zoolander would be proud of.

"He is more buff than most gorillas and he's at his peak physically," said zoo spokesman Takayuki Ishikawa. "We've seen a rise in the number of female visitors - women say he's very good-looking."

With digital technology progressing at an alarming rate, it doesn't take long for generational gaps to form, and here is the proof.

In a post on its Facebook page, Mike Smith Buick GMC in the US said a young driver stopped by, complaining the car's "iPhone dock" wasn't working and was scratching the phone. The catch: the post's picture showed an iPhone shoved into the car's old-fashioned cassette player.

In another generation gap, young New Zealanders are more disgusted about the idea of using a public bathroom than the older generation.

According to a Canstar Blue survey from September, of those under the age of 30, 67 percent avoid public toilets, as opposed to men especially in the age of 40 to 49, who are more comfortable. The number one bathroom irritability was a tie between finding hair in the plughole and urine on the toilet seat.

One for all the single people with nagging mothers – research from University of Auckland this year showed people who place great importance on avoiding conflict and disagreements are generally happier when they're single than in a relationship.

While for most people being single results in "slightly lower life satisfaction and poorer physical and psychological health", the reverse is true for Kiwis with "high avoidance social goals".

Topping off a year of odd news, the New Zealand Police this month released a list of some of the questionable calls they receive to 111.

Some of the highlights include an intoxicated person who called to enquire about how to roast a chicken, a girl who asked whether it was okay if her family drove their car from Tokoroa to Rotorua and a woman who asked police to deposit money into her bank account.

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