A Year in Search: The Moments that Defined 2016

From Rio to Kaikoura, here's what Kiwis searched in 2016

It’s that time of year again, when we look back on all the things New Zealand searched for. It was the year you ‘caught ‘em all,’ navigated natural disasters – and made Harambe a hero. We said goodbye to some greats, made pancakes – and came together to celebrate. To rediscover the events, people and topics that defined 2016 around the world, watch our video.

So, in honour of all that made 2016 what it was, here’s a wrap-up of the topics that caught our attention and brought Kiwis together in Search.

A year of real (and political) earthquakes
Shaken by quakes and possible tsunamis, Kiwis visited Geonet in droves for information, making it the top trending search for 2016. ‘Kaikoura’ also made it into the top 10 News searches for the first time. With the US election ranked second and Brexit ranked fourth in News, Kiwis grappled with political shifts, and wondered about the way forward.  

Punching above our weight
Joseph Parker led the list as the highest trending Kiwi, following his world champion title in Boxing earned this month. With New Zealand’s haul of 18 medals at the Rio Games, including four Golds, Kiwi’s Searches showed support and spirit for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with Olympians and Paralympians making up half our most searched Kiwis. And of course, we backed the All Blacks who went up against Ireland and Wales in their biggest matches of the year.   

Searches for skills
Our ‘how to’ searches highlighted the everyday challenges we face, like tying a tie, taking a screenshot and dealing with pimples. Our foodie flair came through as we looked make the perfect pancake, and cook quinoa just right. We also asked how to play Pokemon Go, showing we boarded the bandwagon which swept the country (and the world) in July.  

Saying goodbye to the greats
This year the world mourned three of music’s greatest with the passing of David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen. They weren’t the only legends headed for the stars, with Alan Rickman and Muhammad Ali also passing away this year.

We’re a curious bunch
Global issues and and timeless existential questions featured in ‘what is’ and ‘why is’ searches this year.  Kiwis looked to learn about TPPA, Brexit and currency exchange rates. In a year of extraordinary surprise and upheaval, it’s no surprise we came back to universal, esoteric questions – looking for meaning of life, for Matariki stars and wondering why the sky is blue.  

And that’s just a preview. To dive into the top trending terms of the year, check out the full trending and most searched lists*:

Overall Searches (Trending):
  1. Geonet
  2. Olympics
  3. US election
  4. Euro 2016
  5. Earthquake NZ
  6. Pokemon Go
  7. Slitherio
  8. Donald Trump
  9. David Bowie
  10. Royal Road
News (Trending):
  1. Earthquake NZ
  2. US election
  3. Pokemon Go
  4. Brexit
  5. Dreamworld
  6. Kaikoura
  7. Tsunami warning NZ
  8. Syria
  9. Harambe
  10. Orlando shooting
Global People (Trending)
  1. Donald Trump
  2. Usain Bolt
  3. Hillary Clinton
  4. Michael Phelps
  5. Bernie Sanders
  6. Meghan Markle
  7. Bill Simmons
  8. Simone Biles
  9. Frank Ocean
  10. Leonardo DiCaprio
Kiwis (Trending)
  1. Joseph Parker
  2. Aaron Smith
  3. Eliza McCartney
  4. Lisa Carrington
  5. Jordan Mauger
  6. Mark Hunt
  7. Sophie Pascoe
  8. Liam Malone
  9. Brian Tamaki
Loss (Trending)
  1. David Bowie
  2. Prince
  3. Christina Grimmie
  4. Muhammad Ali
  5. Alan Rickman
  6. Leonard Cohen
  7. Gene Wilder
  8. Glenn Frey
  9. Anton Yelchin
  10. Sophia Hawthorne
Sporting Events (Trending)
  1. Rio Olympics
  2. Euro 2016
  3. All Blacks vs Ireland
  4. Melbourne Cup 2016
  5. T20 World Cup
  6. Paralympics
  7. Super Rugby
  8. Mitre 10 Rugby
  9. UFC 205
  10. All Blacks vs Wales
How to…? (Most Searched)
  1. How to make pancakes
  2. How to tie a tie
  3. How to draw
  4. How to screenshot
  5. How to play Pokemon Go
  6. How to train your dragon
  7. How to draw a dog
  8. How to cook quinoa
  9. How to get rid of pimples
  10. How to lose weight

What is…? (Most Searched)
  1. What is my IP
  2. What is the time
  3. What is the weather in Wellington today
  4. What is love
  5. What is a URL
  6. What is a class 2 licence NZ
  7. What is TPPA
  8. What is the Pound to the NZ Dollar
  9. What is the meaning of life
  10. What is Brexit
Why is…? (Most Searched)
  1. Why is there a leap day
  2. Why is the sky blue
  3. Why is the sea salty
  4. Why is the sky blue for kids
  5. Why is my nose always blocked
  6. Why is my ear blocked
  7. Why is Trump winning
  8. Why is the sun yellow
  9. Why is there Olympics
  10. Why is the Sky Tower blue
Recipes (Most Searched)
  1. Pancake
  2. Brownie
  3. Quiche
  4. Scone
  5. Cheesecake
  6. Crepe
  7. Waffle
  8. Hummus
  9. Banana cake
  10. Carrot cake

* Trending Searches: What was hot in 2016? The "trending" queries are the searches that had the highest spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2016 as compared to 2015.
* Most Searched: What topped Google’s charts? The "most searched" queries are the most popular terms for 2016 — ranked in order by volume of searches.

Go to google.co.nz/2016 to explore the rest of the 2016 Year in Search stories and top trending charts from around the world.

Posted by Camilla Ibrahim, Communications Manager, Google Australia & New Zealand