It was the decade of big hair, glamorous parties, social awakenings and - depending on your musical tastes – 10 years of timeless pop hits.
On Tuesday Prime launches its new series The Eighties which looks back at some of the iconic moments of the decade; including the conclusion of the Cold War, the rise and fall of Wall Street and its impact around the world, the fight against AIDs, the advent of MTV and many other significant events and individuals that made a mark during the 1980s.
And the decade also dished up a wild ride at times for us in New Zealand.
Ahead of the TV show, our writers look back at some of the notable events which touched our nation.
Business: "We ended up being run very similarly to a Polish shipyard"
That was the inimitable David Lange's assessment of New Zealand economic life in the early 1980s.
Few people growing up today would recognise that world, where everything from cars to televisions to clothes were manufactured by local workers.
While today's shoppers can order products from around the globe at overseas prices, back then imports were limited by licensing, and often cost much more than what overseas consumers paid.
Enter 1984, the Fourth Labour Government and the reforms of the newly-elected Finance Minister Roger Douglas, which put thousands of state employees out of work.
New Zealand's economy, however, was transformed virtually overnight, our financial markets deregulated and currency free-floated.
Kiwis began pouring into share trading and a wave of euphoria gripped the nation as the stock market surged to heady heights.
The intoxication of the era was followed by a hard hangover in the form of the 1987 crash.
Billions of dollars were wiped off balance sheets, brokers went bust, and once-enthusiastic investors fled the market never to return.
• By Hamish Fletcher, Business Editor
Politics: Reforms and division under Lange Government
David Lange was never short of wit, even in his lowest moments. The day he resigned as Prime Minister of the Fourth Labour Government to hand over to deputy Geoffrey Palmer, he quipped that he had changed his mind.
Many governments call themselves reforming but few really are. Lange's was. It swept aside Muldoon's domination of politics when it won in the 1984 landslide and six years of controversy began.
It's anti-nuclear legislation saw New Zealand suspended from the Anzus security alliance with the United States and Australia, a rift which has only recently been repaired. The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior ship in Auckland harbour in 1985 by French agents galvanised New Zealand's anti-nuclear resolve.
But the Government's economic reforms created rifts within New Zealand and within Labour itself.
Lange fell out with his Finance Minister, Roger Douglas, forcing Douglas' resignation from cabinet in 1988.
When the Labour caucus re-elected Douglas to the cabinet in June 1989, Lange saw it as a vote of no-confidence in himself and quit, the last time a sitting Prime Minister dropped such a bombshell before John Key's resignation in 2016.
• By Audrey Young, Political Editor
Sport: Paddles in his pomp
If ever a moment captured the height of New Zealand sporting achievement in the 1980s, it was Richard Hadlee's cry of "Howzat" to take his 300th test wicket at Wellington's Basin Reserve.
His cricketing excellence brought the sport unprecedented kudos in this country. Crowds chanted the syllables of his surname from embankments, enthusiasts rattled empty beer cans in anticipation of his deliveries, and our next-door neighbour bought a car simply because it came with his endorsement on telly.
In this picture Australian captain Allan Border is the batting nemesis about to traipse back to the pavilion in a test that petered to a draw.
Hadlee has come over-the-wicket to the left-hander - a difficult position from which to secure an lbw pre-Decision Review System - but local umpire Fred Goodall has not hesitated to raise his finger.
Border has stepped beyond leg stump to issue a 1000-yard stare beyond point, but he knows it's grim news. Wicketkeeper Ian Smith raises his arms in joy. Martin Crowe sprints from first slip.
Hadlee's pose defined a generation of backyard appealing. Left arm raised, right hand pointing downwards, monstrous feet (aka paddles) splayed, haunches squatting, wrists cuffed with sweatbands, and sleeves rolled beyond the point of distraction.
He will be "Sir Richard" inside four-and-a-half years. Few in cricket's history have carried their nation's fortunes more than him, albeit in a fine team.
• By Andrew Alderson, Cricket writer
Wining and dining: Lamb burgers and a long lunch
In 1981, New Zealanders could buy four types of microwave. Starting price in today's dollars: $3000.
Alison Holst wrote the book on to bake a jacket spud in three minutes or less, but no microwave was required to zap the cocktail savoury suggestions from the Edmonds Cookery Book du jour. Simply thread a toothpick with pickled onion and a slice of saveloy. Voila!
The New Zealand Women's Weekly dropped its family meals section in 1984. Did anyone notice?
The country was out to lunch. A long, liquor-fuelled lunch.
They were drinking our beer here, but we were sipping sauvignon etcetera - from 13 to 29 bottles of wine a head by decade's end.
If you were an adult you ate chicken with apricot and crumbed camembert with cranberry sauce. Meat came with fruit, beans came in a bundle tied with a chive and if you wanted a burger then Mike Moore would prefer it was lamb.
Hudson and Halls bickered over dinner, but on television it was the Fernleaf family that served toast and butter and divorce.
Restaurant critic Warwick Roger advised Aucklander's heading south of the Bombays to take their own food with them, but in Wellington all was not lost.
Peter Gordon was opening his first Sugar Club and in 1989, the menu included a cold salad of avocado, marinated squid and orange sauce for $8.50 - or $19.80 in today's terms.
The modern millennial was living at home (and had recently started primary school).
• By Kim Knight, Feature writer
Fashion: Era of power dressing
Eighties power dressing and glamour often re-appears in fashion.
And while an era some choose to forget (along with acid wash denim and leg-warmers) several sartorial highlights have aged well, including great power blazers power blazers, relaxed suiting for both sexes and the eternal rebellious nostalgia of the punk movement.
Who can forget our own local fashion favourite, the bitchy soap opera Gloss (1987-1990) and the shoulder padded cocktail dress creations by Patrick Steele and Annie Bonza?
High octane, unabashed , head-turning glamour made a return to several collections for Spring 2018 from Saint Laurent to Isabel Marant. 80s fashion isn't so bad after all.
• By Dan Ahwa, Fashion Editor
Telethon: Thank you very much
They thanked us very much for our kind donations but really, we should have been thanking them.
Back when the Goodnight Kiwi would sleepily close transmission each night Telethon offered 24 hours of spectacular, uninterrupted television.
More than just a test of your viewing enthusiasm and endurance, Telethon was a uniting national event. The sort we just don't have any more. Everyone watched. Everyone joined in.
Telethon was also the first opportunity to see our news presenters as people. People willing to do anything for the promise of a $5 donation. Call now. The lines are open. If you were really lucky a celeb might even answer the phone.
Pledges predominantly revolved around push-ups and pashing – though not at the same time.
What does that say about us as a people?
Dunno. But it led to love, marriage and a peculiar national pride in that fact after a viewer pledged cash money to see America's Entertainment Tonight host Leeza Gibbons and Brit Coronation Street star Christopher Quinten smooch.
1985 was Telethon's peak. Viewers were treated to a non-stop barrage of comedy skits, group performances from various Kiwi clubs, live crosses to local fund raising events and all sorts of crazy celeb hi-jinks. Kahmal was there. A cool $6 million was raised for charity, almost $17m in today's money.
Thank you very, very, very much.
• By Karl Puschmann, Entertainment writer
Social scene: The best decade - like ever
It was a time unlike any other. Debauchery and excess. Money, drink, drugs. Sex, rock'n'roll. Can we have another one?
Th'Dudes front man Peter Urlich, and others including Mark Phillips, Simon Grigg and Tom Sampson, took inspiration from London and brought nightclubs to Auckland. The names of the spots themselves were as legendary as the music that was played and the people that played in them.
The Gluepot, ACB, A Certain bar, The Playground, Zanzibar, The Six Month Club, The Brat, Alfie's, The Asylum and Berlin, and no folks, if you were at Grapes, Stanley's or Candy-O's you were not part of the scene.
It was about being 'Cool' with a capital C. Cafes and not the type that served lattes, were a thing, Blondies and High Street Café were stand out hang-outs.
Club Mirage on High Street delivered the glamour and monied folk over the cool crowd, around the corner at The Melba, where many of the scenes from Felicity Ferret played out, the infamous column by Judith Baragwanath and co from Metro magazine.
Restaurants to be seen and lunch long at were Antoine's, Le Bom, No 5, Bonaparte, Sails and Prego.
Luminaries of the time included designer Patrick Steele; models Charlotte Dawson and Angela Dunn; hairdressers Brent Lawler and Trevor Potter, crooners Russ Le Roq and Grant Chilcott; various Gloss stars; Baragwanath's daughter Tiffany, who briefly dated Mark Staufer from radio show The Top Marks; designer Megan Douglas (daughter of then Labour Minister Roger); Rich-Lister Michael Fay meeting wife Sarah was big news.
Towards the end of the decade, Rachel Hunter burst onto the scene.
In the shortest of mini- skirts she was infamously turned away from Siren in 1989 for being underage. She really did say: "Do you know who I am?". This young man was in the hopeful queue behind her. It was a bitch to be too famous in the 80s.
• By Ricardo Simich, Spy editor
Civil unrest: Taking to the streets
Sport and politics collided throughout New Zealand in 1981 as the controversial 1981 Springbok tour pitched family and friends against other.
In the lead-up to, and throughout the rugby tour, pro and anti-tour protestors clashed throughout the nation.
An early tour clash between the Springboks and Waikato was cancelled after a pitch invasion from anti-tour protestors. Another tour clash against South Canterbury was cancelled due to security concerns.
Tight security surrounded the Springboks around the country – seeing them earn the tag 'The Barbed Wire Boks' – with the side even sleeping in changing rooms at Eden Park in the build-up to the final test of the tour.
It was on that day – September 12, 1981 – where wild violence broke out in the Mt Eden streets around the venue.
Protestors on both sides – some armed with makeshift weapons – were involved wild brawls ... with riot police – including the Red Squad – making repeated baton charges to try and regain law and order.
Inside the ground and the scenes were just as wild.
As the All Black and Springboks tore into each other on the field, anti-tour protestors dropped flour bombs onto the playing arena from the plane which buzzed the ground in.
At least eight fans were stuck by flour bombs, while All Black prop Gary Knight was also felled by one of the projectiles.
September 13 was a day that Kiwis on both sides of the fence celebrated; the anti-tour movement were over-joyed that the tourists finally flew out of our country, while rugby fans for the tour were celebrating a dramatic 25-22 All Black victory; secured by a last-minute penalty from Allan Hewson.
• By Neil Reid, Chief reporter
>> The Eighties starts on Prime on Tuesday at 8.35pm