Home entertainment

Kiwi stars open up their private 1980s photo albums

Mullets, music and milestones: the '80s were incredible.

As TV3’s Westside embraces all things ‘80s in the second season of the hit show, Kiwis are taking a trip down memory lane, remembering the best – and the worst – of the decade.

Michelle Pickles
Newshub presenter and reporter

“This wonderful photo was taken at the World Roller Skating Championships in Auckland in 1987. My partner Stephen Signal and I are competing in the dance event. We finished 11th.

I’d like to say I was thinking how proud I was to be representing my country – which I absolutely was – but I was probably just hoping I was going to get to the end of the routine without making a mistake. As you can see, I had a thing for sequins and leotards – thankfully I reserved those for the skating rink!

So much happened for me in the ‘80s – I started high school, got my first job, travelled all over the world to compete at five World Roller Skating Championships and one World Games, and I went on my OE to London.

The event that probably had the most impact on me was the Hillsborough disaster at Sheffield in 1989. I was living in London and we were enjoying an afternoon at a pub on the Thames when the news came through. I can still remember the horrifying images, and thinking how tragic it was that some people had gone to enjoy a football game and they never came home.”

Heather DuPlessis-Alan
Story presenter

“That’s my thinking face. So despite being only three years old in this picture, I’m clearly deep in thought. The jacket I’m wearing was one of my favourites – it pops up in a lot of photos.

The ‘80s had some big milestones for me – I was born, my brother was born, my parents split up and my dad moved back to New Zealand. I turned six, got a bottle-green uniform and a pair of Roman sandals, and went to school for the first time.

I spent the decade growing up in South Africa and remember crowds of people marching into town from the townships a few kilometres out, and the adults worrying that the marches would turn violent. Years later, I realised they were marching against apartheid and they might’ve even been part of the Defiance Campaign of 1989.”

Will Hall
Mike McCarthy on Westside

“It was the summer of 1980 when this photo was taken. I’d just enjoyed my first New Year’s Eve and was sitting back in my knitted bouncy seat with my trusty companion Buzzy Bee and looking forward to the promised excess, consumerism and shoulder pads that the 1980s would bring.

One of my strongest memories is the ’87 Rugby World Cup, when I fell in love with rugby. I was sitting on the lounge floor with my rugby ball and a houseful of friends
and family. I still vividly remember Buck Shelford punching out a Welshman in the semi and John Kirwan scoring the try in the final against the French, shattering
the corner flag in the process.

The year 1989 was a big milestone for me – I grew my first mullet. In my quest to win the heart of Kylie Minogue, I decided I needed to look more like Jason Donovan from Neighbours. It didn’t work and my dad said I looked more like a girl than a Jason.”

Simon Barnett
Christchurch More FM radio host

“I was working at Radio Nelson at the time this photo was taken. It was on the deck of a flat I was renting and at that point in my life, I was dead keen on Duran Duran. I had a man-crush on Simon Le Bon and was trying to be like him.

I’d wear pastels, Bobby Brown pants, Nomad shoes, a huge hoop earring and even eyeliner! Maybe I’m actually Julian Clary... My strongest memories are probably of the Palladium Nightclub in Christchurch, strobe lights, the Village People and the torment of my youth.

Big milestones for me were finally leaving school, being accepted into teachers’ college and leaving home. I didn’t care about the political things that happened in the ‘80s – I was a teenager and at that point in time, my main concern in life was, ‘when can I leave school, get a real job and become best friends with Simon Le Bon?’”

Jeremy Corbett
Host of 7 Days

“This photo was taken in 1984 in New Plymouth. I was involved in a summer radio station, ENERGY FM – no shortage of branding in this one!

For me, my strongest memories of the decade were radio, double denim, marriage, computer programming, Perth, chambray shirts, theatresports, more double denim, divorce, boat shoes, stand-up comedy and back to radio.”

Leah Panapa
The Sound breakfast radio host

“This photo was taken in the late ‘80s at a friend’s party in Taupo, where I worked for two and a half years at a radio station before moving to Auckland. I was probably thinking that I was a rock star!

One of the biggest milestones for me was embarking on my career – on my 17th birthday, I landed my first job at the local radio station in my hometown of Hastings.

My look in the ‘80s was a mix of lace stockings, lace in my big hair, lots of belts and lots of big earrings... think Madonna’s Like a Virgin era mixed with glam rock!”

Robert Rakete
The Breeze radio host

“This photo was taken in 1988 and I was the bass player in a ‘groundbreaking band way ahead of its time’ called Red Adair. We were playing the Big Splash Festival at Parakai Springs Hot Pools – Tem Morrison was the MC.

The ‘80s were an important decade for me – in 1980, I started as an out-of-zone third former at Auckland Grammar School and in 1989 I started as a TV presenter. In between, I was in a band, became a qualified hairdresser and tried desperately to get girls to notice me – with little success. I used to wear double-row stud belts, suede boots, eyeliner and I had a lot of hair!

Essentially, I grew up in the ‘80s. Relationships came and went – and each time I was a little wiser. Being in a band was like being in a gang, we were young and bulletproof, and we supported Mick Jagger at The Gluepot. The ‘80s taught me a lot and helped prepare me for the most important gig – becoming a dad in 1992.”

Sophie Hambleton
Carol O'Driscoll on Westside

“In this photo, I am at my granny’s house in Karori, Wellington, and I’m just hanging out with my best friend at the time, our cat Flea. It sort of looks like I might have got caught doing something naughty. I had a lot of great knitted jumpers made for me by my grandmothers. I wore a great pair of gumboots with most outfits. I had some cool dungarees and as you can see, I rock a bucket hat!

I was only four when the ‘80s ended, so the events that had a major impact on me were probably starting kindergarten and finding out I was going to get a brother or sister. I have lots of vivid memories of putting on little shows for my friends at kindergarten.”

read more from