Who knew that 2017 would see a cat end up with more Twitter followers than the average person, or that former primer minister Bill English had an odd palate that made tinned spaghetti on pizza acceptable. There was plenty of weird, bizarre and just plain odd news stories that came out of New Zealand in 2017.
FISH OUT OF WATER
Nobody wants to experience an armed robbery, especially when you are held up by one of the ocean's most dangerous creatures - a shark. An armed shark, or it could have been a man dressed in a shark onesie, robbed a Canterbury gas station in February. The shark and an accomplice left with "an unknown amount of confectionery".
BILL THE SHEARER
Then prime minister Bill English put his sheep shearing skills on display when he took part in a shearing competition back in February. He didn't do too baa'ad of a job either, beating champion Sir David Fagan who has won 16 Golden Shears competitions and 11 world championships before retiring in 2015. Mr English's sheep was smaller and may have been better prepared, but the commentators praised the politician's technique.
TINNED SPAGHETTI PIZZA
Soon after the sheep shearing, Mr English's shared something sheepish. He opened a can of worms on social media when he asked if people liked tinned spaghetti on pizza. Thousands sided with him and he even shared a few photos of his interesting pizza topping choice. Outrage followed when people noticed pineapple on his pizza, with one person ready to change their vote over the issue.
THE EARTH IS FLAT - ARE PEOPLE STILL DEBATING THIS?
Someone in Dunedin needs to brush up on their science facts, after putting a sign at a local beach claiming the world is flat. A photo of the sign, which urges people to view a video called "200 Flat Earth Proofs", made its way to Facebook and went viral. The story even made its way to British shores. If you had two hours of your life you wanted to waste, you could search for the suggested video on YouTube and listen to 200 reasons why someone believes the Earth is flat - I think they skipped science class on the wrong day.
It was a flapping scandal when a Christchurch bird lover was caught out adding more than 100 votes to the Bird of the Year competition. A bird enthusiast had their 112 votes for the white faced heron wiped from the competition, after a data scientist noticed an usual spike in the votes. The votes came from the same IP address, meaning that the culprit was committed, possibly creating multiple email addresses to vote each time. The poor heron wasn't even close to claiming the title despite the vote boost, with the kea winning the competition with well over 7000 votes.
PADDLES' SAD END
Paddles the cat saw an unfortunate end to the year. New Zealand's "first cat" became an international sensation when a Twitter account was set up on its behalf, but the feline died after being hit by a car in November. Paddles became a household name after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern disclosed her pet had opposable thumbs. The Twitter account in its name @FirstCatofNZ attracted more than 11,000 followers.