Fans have waited years for 1980s pop icons Prince and Madonna to play in New Zealand. Now they're turning up within a month of each other.

Out of the blue yesterday came the announcement that Prince is coming to New Zealand for the first time in coming weeks, ahead of Madonna's first-ever shows here on March 5 and 6 at Auckland's Vector Arena.

The 57-year-old best known for hits like Kiss, Purple Rain, When Doves Cry, and Let's Go Crazy is bringing his Piano and a Microphone tour, a solo show he had planned to take around Europe late last year but cancelled after the Paris terror attacks.

Prince's show has now been confirmed for Wednesday February 24 at the 2000-plus capacity ASB Theatre in the Aotea Centre. He's playing eight theare shows in Australia ahead of arriving in New Zealand.

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As the tour name suggests, Prince will perform alone on stage at the piano - fans will be out of luck if they want to dance to his funk-powered hits or wave a cellphone to the extended guitar solo of Purple Rain.

Ahead of the scrapped European tour dates, Prince said he planned the solo shows as a personal challenge.

"Why do this now? For several reasons. For starters it is a challenge. I rarely get bad reviews because this is something that's been perfected for over 30 years," he said at a press conference at his Paisley Park studio when he announced the tour.

"You have to try new things. With the piano it is more naked, more pure. You can see exactly what you get."

Prince played his first solo shows last month at his Paisley Park complex in hometown Minnesota, and received rave reviews.

You have to try new things. With the piano it is more naked, more pure. You can see exactly what you get.

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Prince remains one of pop's enduring and enigmatic stars, as respected now for his musicianship and vast body of work as he was celebrated for his hits at his 1980s commercial peak.

It is estimated he has sold more than 100 million albums and he's won multiple Grammys, an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

Albums like 1999 (1982), Sign o' the Times (1987) and Purple Rain (1984) are considered classics.

On those - and some other 40 studio albums in his career - the multi-instrumentalist combined guitar rock, funk, soul, jazz, R&B, psychedelia and often sexually charged lyrics into a singular sound.

And other than being the same age and tied to the same era, Prince and Madonna have history.

Prince has sold more than 100 million albums. Photo / AP
Prince has sold more than 100 million albums. Photo / AP

They briefly dated in 1985 and recorded the duet Love Song on Madonna's 1988 album

Like a Prayer

.

After years of sniping about each other in interviews, it appears the superstars have started getting along in recent times. Though it's possible Madonna's Auckland shows - which haven't sold out - will now be competing with Prince for ticket buyers.