To the world, she was part of the Thompson Twins. To an awestruck 5-year-old boy, the lady with the amazing hair was Aunty Alannah

When 5-year-old Michael Currie met his popstar aunt Alannah Currie at Auckland Airport in 1986, he was awestruck.

"I thought she was so fantastically strange," he recalls.

"She had such amazing hair and awesome clothes, but nonetheless she was so pleased to see us welcome her in our best shorts and jandals."

It was the UK synth-pop band The Thompson Twins' first tour Downunder and Kiwi member Alannah Currie's first trip home in six years.


Michael, laughs that he assumed the fuss made of his aunt was how everyone was treated after a plane ride.

"We drove in our Maxi car to the airport, which I had never been to before," he says from Melbourne, where both he and his brother Chris now live.

"I was only just able to read and write and was quite confused as to what 'down under' meant and no amount of explanation seemed to satisfy me.

"When we got to the airport there was heaps of excitement. While everyone was bustling around taking photos, Aunty just made a beeline for her mum who was on a bench in the shade, ever as cool as a cucumber."

The family then went out for a fancy dinner in the city, where Currie forgot his shyness on being told he was allowed anything he wanted from the dessert menu.

"I certainly didn't need anyone to explain to me what that meant," he laughs. "It was always great to have an aunt like my Aunty. She would always talk to us as equals rather than spotty little kids.

"She is still as lovely an aunt as you could ever want, and it's always an absolute pleasure when we get to hang out together."

Alannah Currie says the snap is an especially poignant photo as during the tour her mother had a stroke and died soon after.


"I was met at the airport by my whole family and loads of friends, plus given a Maori welcome from my extended family," she remembers. "It was overwhelming and I cried so much my mascara round down my face and messed up Mum's best summer dress, because she sat next to me in the car back to the hotel."