What We Were Searching For

It’s time to bathe in nostalgia at some of the top NZ and global searches over the years since 2004 according to Google Trends – and we guess they’d know.


Everyone was still obsessed with Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. And also looking for info on obscure indie movie Napoleon Dynamite, whose star Jon Heder was initially paid only US$1,000 for the role. Elsewhere David Beckham fever continued, iPods were still a thing and while American Idol ruled the TV roost, Janet Jackson nearly broke the Internet with her infamous wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl XXXVIII.


Difficult to believe now, but MySpace was still trending in 2005. As was Janet Jackson, so it seems it was mission accomplished for her little stunt from the previous year. Everyone was also asking questions about Hurricane Katrina as it left its trail of devastation in New Orleans and other parts of the US. And in the gaming world, we all wanted a piece of the new Xbox 360.


How to refinance was the big money question in 2006, which probably explains why a global financial crash was imminent. Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat got the most clicks in the movie world, and in pop culture it was Paris Hilton all the way after she released her debut album. So many memorable songs, I wonder if you can name one now…


The Rugby World Cup kept everyone hungry for information in 2007, until that infamous quarter-final against France. We fared one step better in the cricket before being beaten in the semis by Bangladesh. The world also watched as Britney Spears had a breakdown and shaved her head – some of us on a brand new iPhone 1 which had just launched.


In the US, Obama was keeping it real while Sarah Palin was being lampooned by Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live. The Jonas Brothers were telling everyone It’s About Time – to stop listening to The Jonas Brothers, presumably – and a little website called Facebook was starting to dominate social media. At the movies, The Dark Knight was fighting crime and kicking it to the opposition.


Swine flu was the fear for many in 2009, which may explain why budget airline flights soared with people trying to escape it. In New Zealand, Jetstar were beginning to take hold of online bookings, and there were also a lot of Kiwis interested in the new Northern Gateway toll road near Puhoi. Either that or they couldn’t work out how to pay their toll.


Justin Bieber fever hit full force as Beliebers Googled and YouTubed the hell out of the boy wonder. Shame on you. All over the world people went online to donate to Haiti after the devastating earthquake. People also followed Spain as they marched to their first soccer World Cup title in South Africa. And guess what else got the crowds going crazy – that’s right, the launch of the iPad.


There was only one event on the sporting calendar for Kiwis in 2011, as the All Blacks finally got what they deserved in a tense 8-7 victory over France at Eden Park. Nek minute it was the Royal Wedding getting everyone hot under the collar as Prince William married Kate Middleton. As for movies, The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 2 cleaned up online as hordes of teenagers scrambled for tickets.


Everyone was going gaga for Gangnam Style in 2012, but it wasn’t all fun and games for the music world. No, not just when One Direction hit town, but because Whitney Houston sadly passed, found unresponsive submerged in a hotel bathtub. In sport, we were all glued to the Olympics in London, where Valerie Adams, Mahe Drysdale and Lisa Carrington were the shining lights among our haul of 6 gold medals.


Kiwi hearts (and device screens) broke as Oracle came from 8-1 down to win the America’s Cup in San Franscisco. Never mind though, because we’re sure that X Factor NZ cheered everyone up. As did breakout pop sensation Lorde, who by now had become the mouthpiece for a whole new generation as the world watched her Royals video again, and again, and again.


The passing of Robin Williams had everyone clamouring for information in 2014, no doubt some of them Take That fans who had misheard the news. Kim Kardashian’s butt broke the Internet again, Spark changed their name with an asterisk logo to confuse everyone, and Flappy Bird was making its way to the top of the game charts. As well as a FIFA World Cup, everyone was searching for lost Malaysia Flight 370. Sadly, they still are.


2015 was a year of mixed emotions for New Zealand rugby fans. While the All Blacks retained the World Cup in some style, we also mourned the premature passing of AB greats Jonah Lomu and Jerry Collins. Things weren’t much better weather-wise as Cyclone Pam ravaged Vanuatu and we all checked how people on the islands were doing. The Black Caps lifted the gloom for a while, before capitulating to Australia in the World Cup Final.


The US election held everyone captive in a living nightmare as Trump won, then continued to fuel Internet news and searches for, well, forever. Back to reality, Pokemon Go set a billion balls into launch mode. David Bowie sadly left us, before New Zealand’s attention switched to the terrible earthquake in Kaikoura, and the subsequent clean-up and traffic routes into the town.


Fidget spinners were all the rage for Internet searches and purchases in 2017. Heaps of us were Googling for info on the General Election too, especially when Winston Peters made the decisive call to go with Jacinda Ardern and Labour. In sailing, Team New Zealand finally exacted revenge over Jimmy Spithill in Bermuda, but in rugby it was the Lions turn to overcome the odds by drawing the three match test series against the All Blacks. Plenty of online debate about that last minute referee decision too…