The Pacific tsunami that swept over Samoa and Tonga in August was the most closely followed news story of 2009, according to a survey by UMR Research.
The next two most closely followed stories were the Victorian bushfires in February and the search for Auckland toddler Aisling Symes in October.
The information comes from UMR Research's fortnightly telephone surveys of 750 people around the country. It has a margin of error of 3.6%.
Next in order were the swine flu outbreak and the Napier police siege in May.
UMR Research says that political stories don't normally feature in the top 10 but some did this year - namely, the child discipline referendum, the inauguration of Barack Obama and controversy over the ACC.