The 80s can be summed up with a few key concepts - shoulder pads, yellow towels and a milk-obsessed vampire called Count Homogenized.

It was the decade that gave us many firsts: the first televised Lotto draw, the first episode of Gloss, the first episode of Holmes, and the launch of TV3.

These are just some of the huge events we've seen on screen since the first television broadcast on June 1, 1960. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of television in New Zealand, NZ on Screen have collated 60 defining, and sometimes unforgettable, moments for a dose of real Kiwi nostalgia.

We're profiling the key moments from each decade. Yesterday, it was the 60s and 70s, today, it's the 80s. Come back tomorrow for the 90s, and we finish up on Sunday with the 2000s.


How many can you remember?

Goodnight Kiwi - 1981

Back in the 80s, 24-hour television didn't exist, so each evening a plucky Kiwi signalled to TV viewers that it was time to switch off and go to bed. The animation was by Sam Harvey, and featured our flightless bird bidding New Zealanders goodnight from the comfort of satellite-dish bed, which the Kiwi shared with a cat. The Māori lullaby Hine e Hine featured during the segment.

Telethon - 1981

Will there ever be a more iconic fundraiser than a Telethon? In 1981, kids begged their parents to stay up late to catch their favourite celebrities on the Wellington Telethon. The event in 1981 was for the International Year of the Disabled. Bob Parker, Selwyn Toogood, Ian Johnstone and Peter Sinclair feature.

Dear John, BASF - 1981

This ad should have won the non-existent award for best breakup delivery. It did, however, win the award for Best Australasian Commercial of the 80s. Pretty good work for an ad that was made on a shoestring budget.

It's Academic - "orgasm instead of organism" -1981

The very competitive general knowledge quiz for high school students was hosted by Lockwood Smith. School kids battled for their pride, bragging rights and the coveted prize of a digital watch. In one memorable moment, a student mistakenly answered "orgasm" instead of "organism". Don't think he ever lived that one down.

Loose Enz: The Venus Touch - 1981

This episode of anthology series Loose Enz was scandalous at the time for multiple reasons. The main character, Rufus, a sexologist (Grant Tilly) grapples with his marriage problems, brought on by his tendency to overthink the physical aspects of his relationship. Meanwhile, Angela D'Audney found herself embroiled in controversy because she appeared topless in the scene and was forced to defend the choice.

D'Audney went topless for a scene in Loose Enz: The Venus Touch. Photo / Supplied
D'Audney went topless for a scene in Loose Enz: The Venus Touch. Photo / Supplied

Crumpy and Scotty, Toyota Hilux ad- 1982

This ad marked the beginning of more than a decade of Crumpy and Scotty's off-roading adventures. There arguably isn't a better method of selling a ute to rural New Zealanders. Author Barry Crump plays himself.

It is I Count Homogenized (Episode 1) - 1983

Before there was What We Do In The Shadows, there was the milk-obsessed vampire Count Homogenized. The vampire's quirky tricks in this episode include disguising himself as a charity bin to sneak his way past the local dairy owners.


Miss New Zealand Show, wrong winner -1984

In the 80s, beauty pageants were a very big deal. The previous year, Lorraine Downes had been crowned Miss Universe. The stakes were incredibly high at Miss New Zealand. At the pageant's most tense moment, host Peter Sinclair made an unfortunate blunder and announced the runner up's name as the winner. The mistake was quickly corrected and Miss Auckland Barbara McDowell was crowned Miss New Zealand.

Muldoon: Schnapps Election - 1984

In a memorable political news moment, then Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon announced that there was going to be a snap election live on television in a month's time. A reporter told Muldoon that didn't give him much time to prepare - to which he replied, slurring his words: "Doesn't give my opponents much time either."

Leaders' debate: Muldoon/Lange - 1984

Hot on the heels of the snap election day, PM Sir Robert Muldoon and leader of the Opposition David Lange went head to head in a TVNZ leaders' debate. After an impassioned speech from Lange, the camera cuts out just as Muldoon says: "I love you Mr Lange."

Eyewitness News, Bob Jones punches reporter Rod Vaughan - 1985

The year was 1985, and New Zealand Party leader Bob Jones and president Malcolm McDonald announced the popular political party was taking an 18-month recess. TVNZ hired a helicopter and tracked down Jones fishing near Turangi. The surprise catch was not amusing to Jones, who punched and broke reporter Rod Vaughan's nose.

The Listener Gofta Awards - 1987

Delving into the award show archives, this clip from The Listener Gofta awards shows it was packed with a tonne of bizarre moments. Presenters Nic Nolan and Leeza Gibbons wore silver suits, a special guest is heckled and winners are cut off due to timing.

First Lotto Draw -1987

On August 1 1987, the first every Lotto draw took place. Hosted by Doug Harvey and Ann Wilson, the draw's prize $1,028,024. The first division of $359,808 was split four ways.

Gloss, first episode - 1987

If there was one show on NZ television that captured the flavour of the 80s, it was Gloss. The show follows the wealthy Redferns and their magazine empire. The first episode called Remuera Revisited has it all: a wedding crasher, a school ditcher, and a bad haircut.

Holmes, first episode - 1989

In 1989 Holmes debuted with its very first show. Paul Holmes interviews American Yachtsman Dennis Conner - who storms out of the interview after the host asks him to apologise for cheating in the America's Cup. The Herald's review at the time: "An aggressive, overly-mannered encounter interview rather than a thoughtful interrogation, a ratings-generating event rather than a genuine, tenacious journalistic grilling."

TV3 opening - 1989

On November 26 1989, TV3 lit up New Zealand screens for the first time with a two-hour special. It was Aotearoa's first new channel in over two decades. Watch excerpts from the epic launch below.

Billy T James, Te News - 1983

National treasure and comedian Billy T James displayed his hilarious skills during Te News. He blended the news format with his trademark jokes like this gem: "Somebody pinched all the toilet seats out of the Kaikohe Police Station ... now the cops got nothing to go on!"

Go to NZ On Screen from Monday June 1 to vote for your favourite moment and be in to win $5000.

Then listen to Coast Breakfast from Tuesday to enter the Coast Stars Kiwi Icons competition for another chance to win