1981 was a full bodied year for everything New Zealand, it had all from politics to music.
Looking at the Wikipedia APRA list I discovered the 1990 country rock sensation Guy Wishart who won with "Don't Take Me For Granted". Never heard of him then but just wish he had released his songs into the US market.
In the mid seventies I took the bus from the West Coast to Christchurch, stayed at a B&B and saw Janis Ian at the Christchurch Town Hall. I was still at high school at the time. Janis played an electric guitar which totally stunned me as she was a girl(uhumm).
Local concert was Pop Co with Mark Williams and several other acts. I remember thinking how passionless our singers were and how our drummers like a mushy sound.
Also saw first Dudes concert in Welly at Uncle Alberts, you could only drink coke. Now that was a band with passion and something to say!