One Question Quiz
Image: Tina Tiller and Toby Morris
Image: Tina Tiller and Toby Morris

MediaDecember 14, 2022

What The Spinoff did in 2022

Image: Tina Tiller and Toby Morris
Image: Tina Tiller and Toby Morris

Editor Madeleine Chapman walks through the hybrid-working, protest-having, chocolate-eating year that was 2022 on The Spinoff.

In the 2021 version of this article, I looked ahead to 2022 and stated my aspiration for what The Spinoff could be for its readers.

A place to learn, to be informed, to be outraged at injustice, yes. But also a place to rest and relax, whether it’s reading a beautiful profile of someone new, watching a short, heartwarming documentary, or listening to friends talk shit on a podcast. When the world is chaos and every week, month, year is more daunting than the last, it is futile to plan for peace. Perhaps the best we can do is try to weave the slow, joyful moments into the cross-stitch of frantic uncertainty, and see what picture emerges.

Those words were written at the tail end of the delta lockdown and I’m not entirely sure where my mind was but here’s how I think we’ve done.

A place to learn

Something I’ve loved seeing throughout 2022 is the growth of our themed weeks. We had Pet Week in March, [Shortland] Street Week in May, Bleed Week in July, Rent Week in September and Porn Week in November.

The purpose of these weeks has not only been to focus on a particular topic but to provide helpful resources that can be returned to months and even years later, whether that’s a reminder of your rights as a renter or Toby Morris’s Side Eye walking young (and old) readers through the differences between porn sex and real sex.

A place to be informed

It was a big year for local democracy. Our local elections coverage, led by Toby Manhire, ran in the months leading up to the local government elections. The project’s very purpose was to inform readers and voters, both about candidates and issues but also about how the elections work, how to vote and what you’re voting for. 

It feels like a lifetime ago, but the start of 2022 was swallowed up by the protests at parliament. At its core, the protests showed how powerful misinformation can be, and our job here during that time was to shine light on the truth and nothing else. 

A place to be outraged at injustice

Sometimes big moments in a country’s history happen far more quietly than they deserve. The inquiry into abuse in care wrapped recently after months of public hearings with testimony from hundreds of survivors. This year we launched our Quarter Million project, a written and visual series to document merely a fraction of the stories told. This series will carry on into 2023 and include the final report on the inquiry in June.

Alex Casey is second to none when it comes to telling the confronting, heartbreaking and ultimately infuriating stories of sexual misconduct past and present. This year, her longform feature, When the lessons end, was the story our audience spent the most time reading. 

Toby Morris’s Two New Zealands series of The Side Eye is all about the unequal ways our country operates. The Table is the most striking illustration of wealth inequality you’ll read in a long time.

A place to relax

We pride ourselves on publishing good stories, whether they’re investigations, profiles, explainers or essays. As far as good, relaxing reads go, there’s far too many for me to choose so here’s a list of some of my favourites:

…to watch

Taking on some knotty issues with compassion and balance proved to be the 2022 mood, with season three of Alice Snedden’s Bad News resonating with our readers. Iconic former Black Cap Heath Davis featured in season three of Scratched: Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends, and spoke beautifully about his life, becoming the first openly gay Black Cap. Lynley Dodd granted stunning access to her home and life for an evocative portrait of the legendary author. And New Zealand was introduced to Takeout Kids – children growing up in the establishments their parents run.

…or to listen to us talk shit

All your faves, When the Facts Change, Gone By Lunchtime, The Fold, Business is Boring and The Real Pod reliably trucked along in 2022. Nē? wrapped up its first season, which was a huge success, and Conversations that Count – Ngā Kōrero Whai Take enjoyed another great season covering a range of important issues. Having moved into new premises this year, we’ve been working from a fantastic new studio space and also held our first live podcast in our new home with Gone By Lunchtime playing host to Kiri Allan, Erica Stanford and Chlöe Swarbrick to look back on the trio’s first five years in parliament.

Looking for the slow, joyful moments

Nothing showcases the unexpected joy of 2022 better than The Hand. At the end of a year that everyone was quite happy to see fade away, the Black Ferns came along to gift us a month of pure love and fun. The tournament could have gone so many ways, most of them unremarkable, but instead it was the most thrilling and uplifting sports event this country has experienced in a long time. We don’t typically cover sports on The Spinoff but we couldn’t help ourselves once The Hand appeared.


I’m sorry to bang on about The Hand, but The Spinoff’s aim for 2023 is to be more like The Hand. We know we’re not like the big, heavily-resourced news outlets and we’re not trying to be either. Instead, we want to be reliable and steady with the news you need and the stories of all people, and every once in a while produce something truly magical and singular – and a little bit ridiculous – that will still be on your mind weeks later.

The big hitters

I love reading stats so will end with a few fun ones for the curious readers out there. I found these fascinating as they point to the unique demographics and interests of the different social media platforms. 

Site big hitter (time spent reading): When the lessons end

Facebook big hitter: Finding Heath Davis

Instagram big hitter: I went to McAuley High School. It was no ‘joke’.

Twitter big hitter: Heather du Plessis-Allan should be ashamed of how she bullied my daughter 

Who knows what next year will bring but whatever it is, The Spinoff will be there to give you the facts, the context, the colour and, more often than not, the ridiculous observations that no one else thought to care about. 

Ia manuia le kerisimasi!

Keep going!