longwhitekid

About

I spent the first half of my life in Auckland, born into a family of mad collectors.

I assembled displays of all the normal kids’ stuff; stamps, badges, coins, feathers, bottle tops – you name it. By ten years old, watching my mother’s rapidly expanding (but very well dusted) collection of milk glass, Victorian pipes and bird feeders, apothecary bottles, majolica tiles and tins – I had moved on to antique bottles (especially with original labels or boxes intact), food and medical packaging, tin signs and vintage magazine advertising, and by twelve years old I already had 200 vintage tobacco tins alone.

New Zealand seemed to be a very old-fashioned country that never really moved on much post World War Two. Being right down the bottom of the earth so far away from everything probably didn’t help; and even while Australia was being invaded by the whizz bang and razzle dazzle of American popular culture, The land of the long white shroud remained very much tied to Mother England’s apron strings. As a result, the way of life, as well as the charming designs and graphics of product, remained a quaint lacuna of the remarkably unchanged over the decades.

Although my original and large collection has long been jettisoned, I continued collecting images for years of those items and anything from my childhood in New Zealand that brings back a memory.

I eventually realised  I’d like to “share” the experience and data; in the process somehow organize that jumble into a feed that can be appreciated by, and enjoyed with, others. I will have a focus on food packaging and advertising, and hope to occasionally post footage of adverts.

Nearly two years down the track since my first clumsy posts – and over time my tangential but related interests to food and drink product  has sometimes extended to other everyday  household items, from preserving to polish; as well as  celebrity cooks and advertising agencies  that repped for brands, packaging printers, chain grocery or department stores, and unsung commercial artists and copywriters.

Most of the graphics you see on the site have been meticulously recreated by me from often crumpled, dirty, torn and stained items that nobody else wants or cares much about. If that sounds too easy- sometimes I end up recreating them from really bad, blurry photos  of crumpled, dirty, torn and stained items that nobody else wants or cares much about! I figuratively spend hours squinting at barely discernible lines and text and redrawing it all as perfectly as possible. – what I call grocery archaeology.

A recent question a reader asked me was: “Longwhitekid, what’s that mean – and what’s it about?” Since nobody has ever asked me – I assumed it was either evident or unnecessary to give an explanation. So after some thought – I guess it’s a rather fitting combination of “long white cloud” and “Milky Bar Kid”. If I need to go into more detail, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog.

Visit my online store for Longwhitekid calendars, T-shirts, posters, cards and more. http://www.redbubble.com/people/darianzam

  1. Awesome! Looking forward to it!

  2. Hey, great to see your blog, specially liked the Lynmall story. I remember the Kelston Foodtown as the place where we did most of out grocery shopping growing up. Grew up on a small poultry farm out west (Oratia) and remember taking eggs in to the Coop in New North Rd? I think it was. Still have a few of the producer labels we used around somewhere :-)

  3. Thanks Henry. I’ve seen your blog, I especially enjoyed “Fine dining in the ranges”. My mother’s side of the family are Dutch Indonesian. The Dutch seemed to be a significant post WWII influx along with the numerous Yogoslavian immigrants. So they knew that community there in the area fairly well, where like you I grew up – I actually went to Oratia School. And I can’t recall ever hearing about that venue. I’ll have to remember to ask if they ever ate there.

  4. Just love reading about it.

  5. Great blog really interesting to read and informative at the same time

  6. Hi Darian, great blog! Very pleased I have stumbled across it in my travels. Brings back many great memories, not least of them hanging out with you at your grandmother’s place when I was little. Love your work. :-)

  7. Hi Enzo, wow I haven’t seen you since you were a child. I remember one time we got lost on a ramble in the bush at the back of her house. Scary for youngsters. My grandmotther passed away in 2007. I am sure you knew that. I know she was very fond of you so I am sorry if you didn’t know and this is the first you’ve heard of it.

    • I’m sorry to hear about that, I hadn’t heard. I did know she was in her 90s though so not terribly unexpected… I was trying to think when I last called in and saw her at her little flat off Archers Road. I think it must have been either ’06 or ’07…. Ha ha I remember getting lost in that bush well, we thought we were in the middle of the Amazon, only to discover later we were only a few metres away from home.

  8. Hello
    I have enjoyed flicking through this site. I wonder – do you have an image (or remember) the ice-cream ‘Walls Balls’ …. possibly late 60s, maybe early 70s. The ice cream came in a little plastic coloured ball and from memory you removed a hexagonal shaped lid to get into it. Anyway – thought it was worth asking!

  9. Thanks Lyn! Well I guess you came to the right person since I don’t know anyone else who keeps a database of NZ ice cream products! Don’t have a record of that one – was it possibly called a “Fizzbang”? Tip-Top had one called a “Screwball”, which seemed to be a milk ice in a plastic cone with a foil lid like Trumpets have. At the bottom was a bubblegum ball. I don’t think this sounds at all like what you remember though…I’ll take note of this one and add it in.

  10. I can’t even tell you where to go to ask about an archive because Wall’s was such a “pass-around patty” from the late 1960s to the late 1970s – with so many owners over that time I bet any product records from an earlier time are well and truly lost.

  11. Hey there – thanks for the quick response! Nope, definitely a Walls Ball! – I can see it in my minds eye as plain as anything – and just as plainly can ‘see’ one late night (probably only 6pm if truth be told), going with Dad to the dairy – him buying an 8′oclock and him buying me and my sister each one of these ice-creams. It was too cold to eat it, but I desperately wanted that plastic ball/container! The one I got that night was blue! I did ask the Walls company (in Australia) if they had any advertising material or something that would have shown it. Got a very polite reply – but it came to nothing. Who knows maybe something will surface.

  12. I am sure if I saw the container I would remember it. I thought Wall’s had been long phased out in Australasia, in the late 1980s – do you mean you approached Streets? Wall’s material is far and few between. Occasionally something comes up – someone had a few posters on Trade Me recently of 1970s products which brought back memories of the Woppa Lion and Crazy Joe. Cheers

    • Hmm, thinking now. Yes, was Streets – under the Unilever umbrella, if I recall correctly. They made the comment that their archives were not kept back that far . . . though I think she did comment that Walls was the British arm, whereas Streets was Australian. I hadn’t thought of ice-cream being imported to NZ from UK – but maybe it was??? Who knows! I tried researching it all at the time – but it came to nothing.

      I dont believe I imagined it all!! :-) Must have been one hell of a dream if I did!

  13. That’s right. Wall’s originally came to NZ from the UK under the Birdseye umbrella which was auspices of Unilever. My records go back to the early 1960s. At various times it was quoted as being manufactured by one or the other. It was acquired by a company called Rangitikei Dairy Plains at some point who eventually offloaded it to Tip-Top who in turn seem to have disappeared it some time after the late 1970s. Like a lot of these buy-outs and changeovers it’s very confusing.

  14. Stumbled across your blog and it brought back some great memories. I collect soft drink bottles myself. Only ones with the brand printed directly onto the bottle. There were so many brands and bottling plants around the country. The bottles have some great imagery. Do you happen to have any wrappers or recollection of DECKS lollies? Few people I speak to remember them.

  15. Thanks for your comment Glen.
    I have a long list of soft dink manufacturers I keep a database of. It’s probably as long as butter and tea brands. The old Pyro (baked ceramic) labels are great, I also like the old milk bottles which for a period used to have ads on for products from toasters to neckties from what I’ve seen.
    No images of Deck,sorry. It’s kind of amazing one hasn’t turned up yet. I’ve asked several people and several have asked me. I also very fondly remember them. I think they were made in orange, lemon and strawberry, from what I remember. They were around from the early 1960s. Griffins made them and turned them over to Sweetacres in the 1980s. The last record I have for them is 1986. I’d dearly like to see the packaging again. I remember what it looked like,the individual wrappers ad a little black repeat print on white of clubs, spades, aces, and hearts. They seem to have disappeared by the end of the decade.
    Cheers

  16. Hi Long white kid, I love your website, great reading and Images.
    Im an artist having an exhibition looking at collecting habits and treasure hunting and have screenprinted over 100 images of objects for the installation including some kiwiana you might like.
    Can I send you some images and essay from my show ? Thanks Emma

  17. Yes, of course I would love to see/read what you have done. Were you seeking anything in particular like some feedback? Cheers

    • Ive just loved reading your site for the depth of research you go into- its fabulous.
      As an artist the images I have used in my work I’ve collected from other peoples collections, by haven’t researched individual objects, so your writing really helps with this.
      My latest exhibition is a sort of homage to how, why and what we are collecting. My show is called ‘recovered’ and is opening tomorrow at Papakura Art Gallery, 10 Averil st, Papakura its on til 13 April. The images are meant to reflect a possible collection of Papakura ( and greater NZs past) objects reflected by my gathering these collectables from other peoples boggs, trade me and auction sites. Images are up on Papakura Gallerys facebook site. Can I email you some images? sorry not sure of your email or how to attach here !?

  18. It sounds like a fascinating project. The questions about why and how people collect is a very interesting one, that I talked over with a student last year who was doing a thesis on the topic and we explored a few different ideas. You can email me if you like. Cheers

  19. I am an exhibition designer based in Adelaide, South Australia. I am currently designing an exhibition about bathing huts and I want to recreate some packaging of the 50′s and 60′s from australia but can not find any good reference online. You have done a great job with your packaging – any tips or websites you can give me?

    • Hi Richard, thanks for your comment. I think again like my project, it’s one of those areas where nobody’s really collated that data into any one entity online. There are a number of collectors of specific genre in Australia such as MacRobertson ephemera for instance; certainly more than the handful of collectors I know of in New Zealand who amass household/grocery collectables. However for the most part they are very private about their collection and what they’ve got. The Powerhouse Sydney and the Museum Victoria have some nice examples online from their collections. I can’t think of any one specific source to send you to. Certainly not digital recreations that anyone has done that would be of standard suitable for reproduction for an exhibit. It may be a good thing to post on Facebook sites like Lost Sydney, Lost Melbourne, Australia – Remember This? etc and see if you can elicit a response from members at those groups and pages. I do collect images of Australian stuff too and have a lot of stuff on labels, packets and cans etc, anything in a box or still has it’s label or contents interests me obviously. There’s also a lot of cross-over with New Zealand stuff as much was issued in both countries so was almost identical. Email me if you wish to discuss further. Cheers

  20. Heya, I’m trying to get in touch with you again about a Depot project you might like to get involved in. Can you please flick me an email when you get a chance? Thanks!

  21. Hi there,
    I’m wanting to access one of the old edmonds baking advertisements. Is this possible and if so, how do I get hold of one?
    Cheers,
    Chloe

    • Hi Chloe, you’ll have to be more specific, Edmonds were one of the most prolific advertisers in history of any brand – so there are literally hundreds.

  22. Hi everyone!

    Can anyone tell me who makes the Sunshine Pegs in NZ now? Trying to source dome from the manufacturer!

    Cheers Trace

    • Hi Tracey, it looks like this product may still be on the shop shelves so it’s as easy as going down to your local supermarket and looking on the packet. If not you’d be better off posting your question on a page with a large volume of readership like Living in Dunedin in the 60′s-90′s on Facebook. Or History Always Repeats: Remembering New Zealand. There’s a few pages and groups like that but with thousands of members. If you post a picture of the pegs with it it’s bound to catch people’s attention.
      http://www.justkiwi.com.au/Images/Products/Large/9415457109106.jpg
      Unfortunately no pictures online show the manufacturer
      Good luck!

  23. Love your site, I’m a huge kiwiana fan and combine that with my love of tattoos, I have just aquired a 1960′s Tip top “it’s creamier” tin advertising sign not a repoduction, as sadly I find most kiwiana things these days are. found your info very helpful in regards to tip top and lots of other interesting things I might even get a Moggy man tattoo next hehe

    Cheers
    Cam

  24. If I do I will send you a picture

  25. Hi there – Great blog!! Brings back so many memories!

    I was hoping to chat to you about a project we are doing for which I’d love to access some of the fantastic old Griffin’s photographs you have. Could you email me, or give me your email address and I’ll explain more?

    Thanks so much.

  26. cool blog – am really enjoying the nostalgia
    pedantically I want to say, as a custom, the jam put on donuts is raspberry (I realise most people would never comment on such a tiny point, yes, I am seeking help)

  27. I am in saudi arabia. I want to get job in your company as i have some affiliations with this brand.

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