’80s New Zealand and Chuck Norris

’80s New Zealand and Chuck Norris

Yesterday I was clearing out some rubble from inside a relative’s roof space (still clearing up after the Christchurch earthquake) and I came across a folded up Christchurch newspaper, The Star, from 1985.

It’s a pretty awesome insight into ’80s New Zealand. Not so much for the stories but for the great adverts. The advertising style was quite different back then – lots of head-shots of women with very big hair and by the looks of things VCRs and VHS video recorders were just hitting the shops and were incredibly expensive.

There were also some great movie adverts and adverts for comedy shows by Billy T. James.

Chuck Norris in the ’80s

Probably the best advert I came across was for a Chuck Norris movie, Code of Silence. I haven’t seen the movie but I’m sure it’s epic. Just look at Chuck Norris’ face.

In this movie he plays Eddie Cusack, ‘a good cop having a very bad day’. In that one line you can pretty much put it in the same boat as any Bruce Willis movie ever made.

80s Check Norris Movie Advert

On the left is an advert for Billy T. James at the James Hay Theatre in Christchurch, and below is an advert for a Bill Murray movie.

A quick side note on image searches …

I wanted to get an image of a movie advert for a Bruce Willis film so that I could compare it to this one. Look at how crap the results were for the search in Google Images. And now compare that with the same search in Bing Images. What’s the deal Google?

1985 Ford Laser for $16,000

Another great advert. This one is for a brand new 1985 Ford Laser from Hutchinson Ford. Has anyone got a really luxurious small car? Yes! A luxury Laser! Drive away today for only $16,000 and we’ll even throw in the license plate surrounds! We’ll be so good for you! (Not sure what they mean by that last line). Surprisingly, later in the newspaper there’s an advert offering a service to convert your car to LPG. I wonder if all cars will be run on LPG by the ’90s?

I like how the Tuam Street and Papanui branches have a whopping 6 figures in their phone numbers and yet Sydenham can only afford 5.

80s Ford Advert

You also can’t beat that guy’s mo.

Buy the same car today …

Now I know that you’ll be taken in by the above advert so I’ve done some shopping around for you and you can actually buy the very same car in the picture (probably) right here on Trade Me.

1985 Ford Laser

Actually, sorry to disappoint you but this listing is in fact just for the wheel nut. Perhaps you can view his other listings and buy the other parts and slowly get the entire car mailed to you?

A VHS Recorder for Under $2,000?? Amazing!

There were heaps of adverts for VHS recorders and all were trying to offer extra freebies to beat the competition. Later in the newspaper there was one that was advertised at $2,200. This one has to beat them all though due to the added extras AND the random head-shot of a big-haired lady. Not the biggest hair in the newspaper but definitely one of the better styles.

Actually, by the looks of the other adverts surrounding it, she’s one of the finalists for the 1986 Miss Canterbury title and her name is Debbie Stevens and she works at Quills Video Centre. Good on ‘er.

80s VSH Recorder

Features include a remote control that appears to have 8 buttons and ‘excellent freeze frame’. You’ll also get free TV modification (?), a blank tape and a library membership. I don’t know about you but it’s the library membership that seals the deal for me.

Answer Machines – Future Technology

You probably won’t believe this one but did you know that there’s a product out there that can actually answer your phone for you? Seriously! This one is presented to you by MBT, Modern Business Technologies. It records a message on to one of those flashy cassette things and, best of all, it’s only $685!

80s Tape Answer Machine

The advertisement text says:

Missing Out?


Are you missing out on important telephone calls because you can’t be on the job and answering your telephone at the same time?

The new Sanyo answering machine offers all the features of much more expensive answering machines and is priced at only $685.

Machines may be remotely controlled.

73 Victoria Street (opposite the NZ Bus Depot)

I think the text in this advert would be quite different today. Doesn’t ‘on the job’ mean on the toilet? Oh wait no the advert still makes sense. Maybe that’s what they were trying to say.

  • Chris

    Awesome post mark – the past is crazy

  • Johan

    Have you got any food advertisments as that will so everyone how the costs have gone up in this country. I have been hear for a long time and things have increased in price very much.

  • Hi Johan. Yup there were some food adverts in there as well and you’re right, it’d be pretty interesting to see the difference in prices. Hopefully there’s something like a bottle of milk or a tub of butter as that would be a great yard-stick. I think there was a full page spread – possibly for New World. I’ll take a look and post up an extra image.

  • Thomas

    Firsty. Chuck Norris is totally awesome. Second, what is with Google? That image search totally makes Google look like muppets. Also how can you not mention anything about David Lange, Prime Minister & Mangere MP saving his lawn mower from thieves? And finally, the laser in your TM auction is a sedan, not a hatch. The Laser in the ad is currently parked in my wife Grandmothers garage. It’s still in mint condition, velour trim and all. I’m pretty sure it’s only got about 85k’s on the clock too.

  • Thomas

    Sorry I forgot to mention I think it’s funny that the google image search displays two of your images from this very post. Your totally as awesome as Chuck.

  • Nice. I hope she didn’t buy it for $16,000 though!

  • Dave

    Mate, what an awesome, piece, very funny, I can’t believe we paid so much for a VHS video recorder back then, I’m surprised they sold any at all. Well Done :-)

  • Thanks Dave. Yeah amazing how much the intro price of new technology has changed. People choke at paying a grand for an iPad now but look at what it can do compared to a VCR!

  • Simon N

    I thought ‘on the job’ meant having sex which makes that line a classic, so honest!

  • Haha yeah guess I might have used the wrong terminology there!

  • Matt

    The “We’ll be so good for you” line was part of a Ford advertising campaign at the time which took the theme from “Minder” (“I could be so good for you…”). Funny what sticks, innit?

  • Oh true? Thanks for that!

  • Djsam E Rocks

    cool stuff