Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

No Scoop

In Dairy Products, Desserts, Frozen Foods, Ice Cream, New Zealand Dairies Limited, Wards Ice Cream Company on January 23, 2011 at 10.46

There’s not much to know about this obscure one at all. It probably dates from the very early 60’s judging by the typeface and style. Was it a short lived product? Most likely.

The Waimate District in the South Island is a very productive agricultural area including dairy farming.

A telling piece of information – When the branch line was closed on 31 March 1966, Waimate became the first major town in New Zealand to lose its railway connection.

This was most probably the death knell for the Ward’s brand as transport may have made it difficult to sustain a quality product.

Train would have been the main and most efficient mode of moving goods- and the loss may have also made the business unviable by other forms of transport. That said, when you have no information to go on, the background story could be anything and I’ve turned up some pretty wild ones in my time.

This item was for sale on Trademe last week and The seller seems to remember buying this box at a swap meet in South Canterbury, To the north. I located a smallish concern named “New Zealand Dairies Limited” which are physically based in South Canterbury but have a Waimate postal address. I could be wrong but I am guessing that once upon a time they were probably the manufacturers of this product.

I faithfully recreated the graphic of the top and front of the carton. It was more the challenge than penny-pinching that inspired me;  I wanted to see if I could achieve it and make it look real with little detail to work from. I’m very happy with the result.


Easy Clean Up

In Cleaning Products, Easy Boy, Easy Ltd., Frosty Boy on January 19, 2011 at 10.46

The “Easy boy” logo is to me one of the best company product  logos of that particular vintage genre which has now been gone over a few times.  It has never been picked up on in any of the books covering the topic of Antipodean brands and trademarks to date. Books  such as “Well Made New Zealand: A History of Trademarks ” by Kiwiana popular culture and collectibles guru Richard Wolfe have for some reason  omitted it.  Well, that’s what I’m all about here, as well as the popular, I love the “passed over” as well as unsung even more!

The perky marching band boy-inspired cartoon bears striking similarities to Frosty Boy (we’ll get to him later in the year); – either perhaps by the same designer , or the later refinements inspired by the soft serve icon (the Frosty Boy logo was designed in 1976; I always assumed Easy boy dated back to the fifties, but the company was actually founded in 1961). It’s not out of the question that they were whipped up by the same person, anyway.

From humble beginnings, Easy Ltd., who manufacture various industrial grade cleaning products, has grown to be one of the biggest family owned businesses in it’s field and is still going strong today; seemingly operating out of the same small  New Lynn, Auckland premises where I snapped this photo of the hand-painted “original” on the glass office front door in 1988. Well, I bet that isn’t there any more (and I hate to think what happened to it) , but I was able to lift the marginally altered and polished version of the logo from their website at very low resolution, and recreate it. Good to see some things just don’t go changing…not everything has to.

Native Talent

In Arthur William Baden Powell, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Books, Dick Frizzell, Native Animals Of New Zealand on January 14, 2011 at 10.46

Dr Arthur William Baden Powell CBE (1901-1987) was a New Zealand malacologist, naturalist and palaeontologist, and a major influence in the study and classification of New Zealand molluscs.
“Native Animals of New Zealand” was published in 1947 and I assume he did all the beautiful illustrations himself – which I have to say had an influence on me at the time my grandfather’s cast off Rotring pens, that he used for marine architecture, became mine to experiment with.
Powell trained in printing at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland; which indicates he also designed this cover himself. This formal training, and his interest in conchology, set him on his life’s work.
It is a strongly late Deco-influenced design, beautiful in it’s simplicity of two striking colour blocks on a bright ground; yet still creating dramatic space. The silhouettes are flat and plain, yet somehow lend a wonderful hint of intricacy. The clear shapes seem to fit so neatly together as the eye moves about.

It is a great pleasure to me to look upon it and it is one of my favourite images of all time.

Powell was appointed to the Auckland War Memorial Museum as palaeontologist and conchologist in 1929, where my aunt also worked for twenty years. I used to visit as often as I could and would get special sight-seeing trips “out the back” where she would slide open drawers and show me odd bones, rocks, eggs and all sorts of curiosities. I adored it!

Coincidentally, in the staff room there were canvases produced in many colourways, Warhol style of the book’s cover lining the walls. I assume done by New Zealand pop artist Dick Frizzell, And why wouldn’t he choose it? It is as perfect an icon of design as you could find.



Addendum early November 2012: I dug up my original copy of ‘Native Animals of New Zealand’ hidden away in a box in the cupboard,  so I finally scanned it and replaced the lesser-quality image. As far as I recall this was a late 1950s edition.

I’ve also added the cover of this very rare 1937-issued book by Powell ‘The Shellfish of New Zealand’. In fact I had never seen it before when I bought it for quite a nominal amount. When I received it, it had been previously sold for seventy dollars. I can assure you I paid a fraction of that so it was quite a bargain!



Addendum late Oct 2015: Another book by Powell I had not seen previously, also apparently published 1937, came up for auction recently. ‘Shells of New Zealand’  at first seems to be a modification of the cover from ‘The Shellfish of New Zealand’, but is actually a different book. In fact, two copies appeared within the same week. Weird things like that seem to happen quite often; something unusual, rare or not seen before at all appears in multiples. This publication was still being produced well into the sixties, and this is the 1967 reprint published by Whitcombe and Tombs Christchurch of the 1961 4th edition.

Shells of New Zealand - AWB Powell (1937) (1961 4th edition) 1967 Whitcombe and Tombs Christchurch copy

Oh Bugger!

In Kiwi Classics, Motor Vehicles, Saatchi & Saatchi, Television Advertisement, Toyota on January 7, 2011 at 10.46

In the category of Kiwi “classics”, this naughty T.V. advertisement for the Toyota Hi-Lux is a more recent entry at 1999.

This Saatchi & Saatchi concept is not only hilarious, but cleverly encapsulates the style and attitude of a classic New Zealand rural farm lifestyle that we remember from our youth.

from Trashed To Treasured

In Chicken Chips, ETA Foods, Grocery Archaeology, Snack Foods, Supermarket Anthropology on January 3, 2011 at 10.46

This is as good an example as I can show of how I go about recovering artwork for long-lost household product, when there isn’t a lot to work with. Last week I found this wonky photo – not even the original poster – with some of the old ETA products from my childhood; only a fragment of the chicken flavour chips package, and it was hidden behind the others.

I really loved this even back in the day as it was already retro-looking then, having not been revised for a very long time, or at least – very out of step with the current graphics trends of the 1980’s. I wasn’t able to find any references at all which I thought was amazing for such a popular product over the years. So with a lot of work with Adobe programs, and some imagination as well,  I was able to reconstruct the design.

ETA chicken chips bag reconstruction smaller WATERMARKED copy

Note: Due to repetitive theft by those who take my intellectual property from this blog without my permission, and reproduce it as merchandise for sale on sites such as Ebay, Redbubble and Trade Me,  I have now watermarked this image. If you are interested in purchasing merch of this image you can head to my personal Redbubble store.

I’m not sure about the vignette that says “tasty” – I can’t at this point in time find out what the word was – so until the moment comes I just used creative license. So it’s not 100% accurate but I am pretty happy with the results!


In Biscuits, confectionery, Cookie Bear, Griffin’s, Hudsons on January 2, 2011 at 10.46

John Griffin and his family arrived in New Zealand in the mid 1850’s and started Griffin’s in Nelson in 1864 as a flour and cocoa mill.

Business boomed and he was soon able to expand into making biscuits and sweets out of the raw ingredients he was producing.By 1895 success was such that the company went public.

Now a ubiquitous part of New Zealand culture, and much loved – except for the part where they hijacked our childhood icon, Cookie Bear, from rival company Hudson’s in the 1990’s – utterly confusing Generation X.