For decades, Cyndi Lauper has been a feminist icon - a red-haired, fun-loving, neon-wearing bastion for equality and letting loose.

Her hit single Girls Just Want to Have Fun launched her to stardom and held her in icon status for the years following, with lyrics like: "Some boys take a beautiful girl and hide her away from the rest of the world, I want to be the one to walk in the sun".

And though she's made a pretty major departure from that sound since, when she comes to New Zealand for the first time in April with tour mates Blondie, she says there's one thing fans can definitely expect: "Fun!" she says, adding: "Come on! Me and Blondie? Wow!"

Lauper and Blondie will co-headline shows in Christchurch and Auckland this Easter, marking Lauper's first visit to New Zealand.


"That's crazy I have never been. I know a few Kiwis too, so I'm excited to perform there...I am excited to be coming over [to] see the beauty first-hand," she says.

That, and she gets to do it with none other than Debbie Harry, about whom Lauper says: "I look up to her so much. She was a real trailblazer and continues to be brilliant."

And the same could easily be said of Lauper.

The 63-year-old's most recent albums have ventured into blues (Memphis Blues) and rock 'n' roll (Detour) territory, but that doesn't mean she's turning her back on her older hits.

"I love [Girls Just Want to Have Fun] and I'm very proud of my debut She's So Unusual - it came out exactly how I wanted it to. There was so much freedom making that record, because I was an unknown to the label so they just let me make the record I wanted to," she says.

And that included adjusting Girls, which was originally written by a man to be about sex, and turning it into a feminist anthem.

"I said to myself, 'Hell yeah, I'll make an anthem! Maybe it'll be something that will bring us all together and wake us up'," Lauper wrote in her 2012 memoir.

"It would be a movement right under all the oppressors' noses, and no one would know about it until there was nothing they could do to stop it.

"It was very blatantly doesn't mean that girls just want to [have sex]...It just means that girls want to have the same damn experience that any man could have."

And these feminist ideals are ones she stands behind to this day. The singer has consistently been an advocate for equality and most recently publicly threw her support behind the women's marches which took place worldwide in January.

"Until we are all equal - men or women, straight or gay, white or non-white - then the world will be chaotic and unhealthy," she says.

"Until we have real equality for all, I will continue to work and do my part to see it happen and it probably won't be in my lifetime but I do think we all have to keep on pushing to make it happen. We are all important to the struggle for human equality."

That's why Girls, even all these years later is still hugely important.

"I think, if I can be so bold, that it stands the test of time. I'm proud that little girls come up to me still and say that Girls makes them feel brave," she says.

So, she promises: "On this tour, of course, I will play all of my hits and I will play a few songs from my new CD Detour and some fan favourites too. It's a fun, uplifting, 'come have a party' kind of show."

What: Cyndi Lauper and Blondie
Where: Christchurch's Horncastle Arena and Auckland's Vector Arena
When: Easter Saturday, April 15, in Christchurch; Easter Monday, April 17, in Auckland
Tickets: Ticketek in Christchurch, Ticketmaster in Auckland