Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Merry Christmas To All Our Readers

In Christmas, Four Square Supermarkets on December 26, 2010 at 10.46

And here’s to a long white 2011!

Addendum 2012: I’ve added a number of Four Square / Foodstuffs Ltd Christmas-themed items I’ve collected in the two years since this original post, below:

FOUR SQUARE XMAS FOOD SPECIALS -Evening Post 20 December 1933 Page 4

Evening Post advertisement,  December 1933.


foursquare santaclaus EDIT

A Four Square cardboard point-of-sale poster. A reader tells me that he remembers these from when he was around ten years old – so it dates from the early 1950s. 


Four Square 4 Square Xmas 1947

Four Square Christmas brochure, 1947. Courtesy of Mike Davidson collection. 


four square xmas paper POS decorations EDIT  copy

Four Square store point-of-sale decorations, era unknown but probably 1980s.


FOUR SQUARE XMAS GROCERIES Auckland Star  6 December 1934 Page 16

Auckland Star advertisement, December 1934.


FOUR SQUARE XMAS Bay of Plenty Beacon December 1945 Page 2

Bay of Plenty Beacon advertisement, December 1945.



Auckland Star advertisement, 22 December 1927. J. Heaton Barker was the creator of Four Square and Foodstuffs Ltd. At this point in time, it was early days of the business and  he was still mainly acting as management for several  master/associations collected together under one roof. 



For Whom The Tinkerbell Tolls

In confectionery, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, McClymont Confectionery Ltd., Point Chevalier Historical Society, Tinkerbell on December 23, 2010 at 10.46

Tinkerbell Jelly. Never heard of it? Well, neither have I, ever. Occasionally I have been surprised by the stuff – well-known apparently – that has amazingly escaped me over the years of collecting, but I think I have most of it covered at this point. A Google search – general and image – turns up almost no references. I love stuff like this, a total mystery. It makes me wonder.

Was it the name, a case of bad marketing, With only a toddler level appeal? What kind of business was it, how big, and how long were they around? What other products did they have, and how did they develop the business? What was the background of the person that started it up and the history of their family? The only clue I have by squinting (something I’m very good at) at a very low resolution image of the bottom of the box, is what appears to be “McClymont Confections, Auckland”. Clearly the product didn’t last long on the shelves. Did they go bust? Was there a personal tragedy or untowards event that brought the company down?  Maybe even a corporate takeover that so often happens when they prune products that aren’t working so well. Perhaps an offshoot brand of one of the larger concerns that bought the company and tried to expand, unsuccessfully? -I guess we’ll never know.

The only thing I’ve turned up is a map dated from the early fifties  of Point Chevalier, Auckland, which shows “At around No. 1104, a factory was built c.1953 by McClymont Confectionery Ltd”. It tells us that they were around then, either starting up or had become successful enough to build premises not more than ten minute’s drive from the city CBD. This building was demolished some time in the 1990’s to build a shopping complex. Perhaps the history of Tinkerbell brand died as the last of the bricks came tumbling down.

But if you remember it, any other products they may have had in their line, or even have some information, feel free to pass it along.
Anyway, the brand is quaint and graphic is very cute, and I wouldn’t have minded it to go with the rest of my collection of still-full vintage jelly (or jello, if you’re a Yank) packages. Started at a very low price of twelve bucks, passed in at auction with no bids, I asked the seller to contact me and make an offer, but they never did. Maybe they had second thoughts about the specialness of this item, just like I did.

* This post was published as an article in the 17th issue of  Point Chevalier Historical Society’s bulletin “Point Chevalier Times”.


I’m with The Bland

In confectionery, Fags Candy Cigarettes, Picanniny Popping Corn on December 9, 2010 at 10.46

Good old “Fags”. We all need one in our lives. Something politically incorrect that is.
Busily stamping out anything that may be misconstrued and therefore offend, many products have undergone “image overhauls” (except, strangely, Coon cheese in Australia…what does this say about our Oz cuzzies’ complete lack of respect for Aboriginal culture? I need not elaborate, demonstrated by the company’s unapologetic stance in the past). The “majority” of the population are middle-class, family oriented conservatives, according to the Roy Morgan/Ogilvy & Mather Values Segments statistics commonly used in marketing, and are not exactly known for their liberal outlook on – well- just about anything.

Given this fact, I don’t know why any company think that its going to affect sales of any product in a significant way, since the amount of people that may get on their high horse, statistically speaking are such a tiny sliver as to hardly count. Regardless of whether this warrants any attention, products like Foodtown’s “Picanniny (sp) Popping Corn”, “Darkie Toothpaste”, the now horrifying “Nigger Polish” as well as “Fags” have now fallen by the wayside and have been replaced by the bland and inoffensive -as if we need any more of that in the world. Nevertheless, the packaging for these items in it’s original, unadulterated format is now highly collectable – a reminder of an era, that was perhaps not so much “less PC”, as perhaps simply more innocent times.

Addendum 22/03/2012: During my recent hiatus, I had time to rifle through my archives yet again – and found this modified box design from the late 1990s, early 2000s.

Whatta ‘Lova Rubbish

In Culinary Anthropology, Desserts, Pavlova, Professor Helen Leach on December 4, 2010 at 10.46

Today the ABC ran a brief interest story about who is the rightful winner in the claim to ownership of the glorious dessert the Pavlova according to the new edition of the Oxford dictionary:


This is not in any way a recent revelation, So by definition it is actually disqualified from being “news”.

Although this has been a bit of a “chicken or the egg?” story for a few decades now, it was already settled in New Zealand’s favour by a recipe published in Home Cookery for New Zealand, by E Futter, in1926, “Meringue with Fruit Filling”. The next earliest claim, again by the Kiwis, in 1929. Although Australians have disputed the right to dub it their national dessert, the earliest claim they can make is limping in at 1935 by Bert Sachse, a chef at The Esplanade Hotel in Perth.
This was all proven  beyond a shadow of a doubt some time ago, in a book published in 2008 by Professor Helen Leach, a culinary anthropologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

What cadet wrote this piece of crap? It’s one of the worst articles I’ve read this year not just simply because it was badly researched, it just wasn’t researched or fact-checked at all. The ABC can do better, such as just moving their finger to the search button on Google might help.

Fourgone Confusions

In Four Square Supermarkets on December 1, 2010 at 10.46

Four Square was once a very popular chain of corner stores and mini-markets everywhere in New Zealand, and to a degree also Australia. That is until ursurped by the mass marketing (literally as well as figuratively) of New World, Three Guys and Foodtown and started to dwindle, to what is still a substantial 300 stores today. Throughout New Zealand Mr. 4 as he was known,  would cheerfully beam at you from windows and hoardings, synonymous with the brand. Although I don’t think our Oz cuzzies really took up with the  famous friendly brylcreemed figurehead who was always ready to help you find  anything you need with an unspoken “of COURSE we’ve got it” thumbs up.  Now you may only occasionally find him fading on the long-neglected sides of old buildings.

Immortalized by New Zealand’s most famous pop artist (next to Billy Apple) Dick Frizzell in a series of well-known work, He’s again undergone somewhat of a resurgence in recent years since the subterranean thumbs-up, and ironic merchandise by companies like Mr. Vintage, has elevated him well and truly to one of the great Kiwiana icons. These days when the rare promotional merchandise does come up for auction, like puzzles, blotters and the like; bidding is fierce.

It’s not a Crackberry app. There’s only one kind of Four Square, and he’s got an apron, a smile, and a pencil tucked behind his ear. That is all.

Good times At 36 Cents

In Laundry, Plastic ware, Sunshine pegs, Sunshine Plastics on December 1, 2010 at 10.46

It’s a sunny Antipodean day, temperate as New Zealand summers are, And by the sandpit, there is an ugly red plastic watering can with a tulip embossed in it and a variety of plastic pegs in confetti colours to play with, lying faded on the green grass. Good times for toddlers start at 36 cents.

Let The Good Times Unroll

In Advertising, BASF cassettes, Classics, Television Advertisement on December 1, 2010 at 10.46

“Dear John”, the BASF cassettes commercial, became a Kiwi classic, yet it was filmed on a minimal budget- using silver caps from glass milk bottles (remember those? Red for skim, green for cream!) standing in for soldier’s dog-tags, and a Wellington quarry filled the brief for the Korean War-zone aping the evergreen MASH TV series.


The 1953 country’n’western tearjerker used in the soundtrack, was sung by Jacqui Fitzgerald and adapted by Murray Grindlay. As often happens a shoestring becomes a legend, and the ad was later voted Best Australasian commercial of the 1980s.

Dental Clinic Redux

In Dental Clinic, Health Poster on December 1, 2010 at 10.46

Well, this is my first post so in brief – After collecting images for years of anything from my childhood in New Zealand that brings back a memory, I eventually realised I’d like to “share” the experience and in the process somehow organize that jumble into a feed that can be appreciated by, and enjoyed with, others. I focus on food packaging and advertising, and hope to occasionally post footage of adverts. Eventually I’d like to see others contribute images and stories.

Let’s start with the classic health poster; of which there were many fantastic designs over the years focussed on dental hygiene, diet and good nutrition. Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington have quite a collection. Hard to find and quite valuable these days, they were once common in clinics up and down the country. Unchanged for many decades, they were charming and somehow I am never reminded of pain- as you would expect to be imprinted on the mind of impressionable children staring at these for hours while being drilled and filled on yet another fear-filled trip to the school surgery. And who doesn’t remember being in the chair under harsh lights with a mouth full of cotton wool, gazing up at one of these beauties like the surreal Kiwi made of fruit? I’ve never seen one for sale, but I sure would like to own one eventually. With patience, I am sure I will.