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Shortland Street

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Shorty's biggest birthday moments

As Shortland Street celebrates 23 years on NZ TV we thought we'd take a little trip down memory lane. Some years Shorty has celebrated its birthday with some pretty epic storylines, other years we've let the anniversary go by with only a cursory glance.

Here, we take a look at some of the more momentous birthday storylines.


1993 (One year Anniversary)

It didn't take long for most of Ferndale to establish that Dr Chris Warner was quite the ladies' man and it wasn't long before he got engaged to Nurse Alison Raynor and then broken up with her again. (Let's not forget he was already married when the show first started and he was having an affair with his gym instructor – he was very busy!)

So it was very much to everyone's surprise that on the one year anniversary of the show's arrival on screen, Chris and Alison announced they were getting married - again. Could Dr Love really settle down this time around? Chris was secretly having second thoughts (or is that third thoughts?) but after a conversation with Hone, he convinced himself that he was good to go. Meanwhile, Alison's friend Jaki tried to convince her not to marry Chris….

Meanwhile even back in 1993, Shortland Street was looking at the social issues that had an impact on New Zealand. The other key storyline that occurred on the first anniversary of the show revolved around Ambo officer Sam Aleni who was is struggling with the fact that his new flat mate, Jamie was gay. When Jamie was shockingly electrocuted by Steve's rewired fridge and required resuscitation, Gina was horrified to see Sam hesitate.  Would Sam's fear of homosexuals prevent him from saving Jamie's life?


1996 (Fourth Anniversary)

Shortland Street was not lacking drama way back in 1996 when nasty character Carla was causing trouble for Ferndale residents. Carla arrived in 1995 to visit her estranged sister Ellen (Robyn Malcolm) and soon got a job at the hospital. As time passed Carla began a relationship with Sam Aleni (Rene Naufahu), but when her former husband Bernie returned to Ferndale after being acquitted assaulting her, she promised she would leave Sam after taking all his money.

It wasn't long afterward that Bernie was found dead. Many suspected Carla of his death and she was forced to confess to the murder. However, due to her fear of losing Sam, she retracted her statement, causing Sam to be arrested instead. While incarcerated, Sam's grandfather died, and Sam harshly rejected Carla, devastated that he wasn't able to say goodbye to his family member. On this anniversary occasion, Carla very controversially came home from being rejected by Sam and attempted suicide. Her niece, Minnie Crozier discovered her and it became a race against time to save her life.


2007 (15th Anniversary)

After a rocky road of romance, Sarah and TK finally got married in May of 2007. Despite agreeing to marry T.K , Sarah didn't really have her feelings in check as she ended up on former flame, Craig's door step moments before the wedding was set to start. Despite his own feelings for Sarah  – Craig convinced her to go to her wedding and marry TK.

The wedding took place at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron at the Hobson West Marina in Auckland. But it wasn't all smooth sailing even after the wedding; Sarah was horrified when Craig collapsed from a heart attack at the wedding reception putting a damper on the celebrations. On the actual birthday date, a surprise returnee to Ferndale, Guy Warner (Chris' brother) unearthed a box of old photos from a cupboard and he and Chris were able to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and remember the old days of Shortland Street hospital.


2009 (17th Anniversary)

After months of struggle with her mental health having killed the evil Ethan Pierce, Maia was finally committed to a psychiatric hospital during Shorty's 17th Birthday, still insisting there had been a mistake and there was nothing wrong with her sanity. When Maia realised she may be staying at the hospital for a while, she refused to take her medication, kidding herself that she was now calling the shots. 

It wasn't long before she was being visited by the ghost of Ethan and her mental stability really took a turn for the worst. Meanwhile there was also trouble in paradise when Shanti accused Scotty of emotionally shutting her out, and he cuttingly revealed that he didn't want children with her, leaving  Shanti devastated.


2012 (20th Anniversary)

2012's birthday special saw the return of a very popular Ferndale family – the Jeffries – who happened to be passing through on their way to celebrate Yvonne's birthday. Meanwhile, on a helicopter call-out, an emergency call came in and TK and Roimata were shocked to discover the call had come from Tania and Libby – Gerald's illness has escalated and he was unconscious. Gerald was rushed to hospital where Max struggled to keep him stable. Tania and Libby were shocked by the revelation that he had a serious heart infection -  and that he would need an immediate heart transplant.  

Meanwhile, Bailey, a distressed patient, had escaped onto the top floor where Callum was awaiting the helicopter with a new heart for Gerald. Swerving to avoid Bailey, the chopper overshot its landing space and crashed into the hospital car park landing on top of Bella's car and seriously injuring her and several others.

As part of the anniversary occasion, another important character from the past also returned: Marj Neilson, Shortland Street's original receptionist. She arrived in Ferndale to offer support to Rachel McKenna who had discovered Chris was being charged with murder. It didn't take long for Marj to try and get back behind the desk at Shortland Street!