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Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Flower Power

In Chocolate, Easter, Nestlé on April 25, 2011 at 10.46

This Nestlé Easter egg was up for auction on Trade Me last year. It is 73 years old!

The seller, who was managing the auction on behalf of someone else, claimed that it had belonged to the owner’s mother, who, as a child was taken with the flowers on the wrapper of the confectionery, and just could not bring herself to consume it, putting it back in the box, and away in a cupboard in 1938 and there it stayed. After she passed away one of the children found it and kept it too, until last year. She certainly had more will power than I can scrape up.

I am fascinated with things that have somehow retained their original food product – and remained in their complete packaging and appearance as they were when originally manufactured. It’s like a time capsule. I have some full jelly and custard boxes, and also occasionally vintage boxes of dummy chocolates used for window displays come up for auction, mostly in the U.S. Not so long ago there was an entire salesman’s sample tray for Brach’s candy with every treat still wrapped and intact;  jubes, nougats, everything – from the early 1970’s!

I even had a dream about this egg, in which I was transported back in time to a 4 Square store in the 1940s during the lead up to Easter, and there it was – sitting on a shelf! I really wanted to buy this item,  but I just knew that there was no way it would ever make it to me in one piece so I let it go. Finally after a couple of months of continuous relisting, someone bought it. I still regret it, it would have been a real conversation piece to say the least!

Later in the year I will do a further post on the Nestlé brand and New Zealand confectionary products from our childhood.  Anyway, happy Easter to all my readers!

Pigs Sometimes Do Fly

In Goodman Fielder, Kiwi Bacon Company, smallgoods on April 21, 2011 at 10.46


…especially if they’re a bird. I happened across this ad on my interweb travels, hilarious and another instant Kiwi classic in my opinion, so I am sharing it here!
Marketed as “the taste of New Zealand”, Kiwi bacon is very much an iconic national brand – and the factories were famous country wide for their gigantic statues of the flightless recluse perched on the rooves, a point of reference for many miles around .

Kiwi Bacon Factory roof, Kingsland, photo © Geoffrey H. Short, 1988

There was a significant smallgoods factory at 317 New North Road in the Auckland suburb of Kingsland. The large fibreglass Kiwi and neon sign on the roof of the building was an urban landmark dating from around 1960. There was a time that it rotated, but it had broken down many years before I can remember it in the late 1970’s. We could always see the iconic bird from my aunt’s house below and I remember it being taken away at the end of the 1980’s when the factory closed it’s doors – it was a sad day. I believe the death knell was a fire, and the building was later restored to become office for Fairfax Publications.

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 Image © Gae Rusk, 1983. The author described this as a  Kiwi Bacon Factory, in Christchurch. It’s been pointed out to me by an observant longwhitekid reader that this was not a factory, just a sign on top of a well-known building. There was a Christchurch branch and factory somewhere as evidenced by a trademark being registered by Kiwi Bacon (Christchurch) Ltd. It looks like that division made Kiwi sausages from the beginning of the sixties until perhaps some time in the nineties.  I’ll look into it some more, when I revisit this brand in another future post.

The official site states that the brand has been serving New Zealanders since 1932, but clearly before the characteristics were completely crystallized in the pantheon of Kiwiana, the company had already been in existence for some time. Kim Salamonson, the reference and archives librarian at Havelock North library, who also edits the blog for the Landmark Local History Group in Hastings, writes: ” Early in the 1900s an uncle of my grandfather’s, Mr. Martin, who owned the original Kiwi Bacon Co in Palmerston North, invited my grandfather, and his Family to emigrate to New Zealand , to eventually take over the Kiwi Bacon Co.”  Milton in the South Island was also a significant factory until the early 1980’s, one of the town’s main employers along with Bruce Woollen Mills. There were probably several in locations convenient to livestock produce.
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Independent for many years, as the registry at The New Zealand Intellectual Property Office attests, Kiwi is currently a division of Goodman Fielder Commercial NZ Ltd (originally famous for their cornflour, it has become over the years a brand snaffler to rival Fonterra – having at one time or another acquired Irvines, Diamond, Frosty Boy, Mainland, Wattie’s, Ernest Adams, Hansells, and Bluebird, amongst others).
Kiwi Bacon playing cards were produced for decades as a promotional item and regularly come up on Trademe and Ebay albeit variations – I have a record of several different versions of the design and I will do a post devoted to them later in the year.

The Creamy Dragon Strikes Again

In Cloverdale, Fonterra, Kaipara Co-operative Dairy Company, River Valley on April 15, 2011 at 10.46

This “Cloverdale” brand Ice Cream Mix tin was up for auction a little while back. I have never seen one before or since, but in the meantime a couple of other items have turned up from the Kaipara Dairy Co-op; a Gouda box and skim milk tins – all with wonderful graphics. I am assuming the products tasted delicious (mmm, can’t go far wrong with cheese or butter), but they also had a fabulous designer! A little out of my price range, combined with shifty dealings from Trademe sellers and plenty of missing mail has kind of made me reticent in my purchasing so I settled for recreating the design myself.


The Kaipara Co-operative Dairy Company was established in 1911 amongst the rolling green pastures of Hellensville (and not to be confused with the Northern Kaipara Co-op which I understand is another, quainter building still standing much further North in the Kaipara Harbour in Whakapirau). The building at it’s current location was apparently erected in the 1950’s, all though the date “1937” painted on the edifice is a mystery according to Auckland historian Lisa Truttman, author of one of my favourite history blogs “Timespanner.”


Apparently once with a great 1950’s curved glass exterior the premises has now been completely smashed inside and out by vandals. The building is still standing to my knowledge, as testified by the many online photos of the grafittied ruins – but perhaps only just; I believe it was on the auction block recently, failed to sell and the owners ordered by local council to demolish the buildings due to “danger” by end March 2011.

It was very a successful company during its heyday and one of the more innovative dairy enterprises of it’s time – during the seventies the company ventured into the manufacture of Margarine – the first New Zealand company to do so – building an edible oils factory which is adjacent to the building and producing the “River Valley” brand.

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The factory shut in the late 1980s with the general decline in farming, as well as general economic downturn resulting from “Black Monday”. In 1987, The buildings were sold to Martec Industries who attempted to run a fruit juicing operation there and failed twice. Finally the company was put into liquidation around 1989 and the machinery within the buildings stripped out and sold. The River Valley brand went to Meadow Lea Foods Ltd.

AnchorMart Ltd was formed from the retail divisions of NZCDC and the Kaipara Dairy Cooperative. Over the next decade a series of many mergers and acquisitions took place, until the company eventually became what is known now as, you guessed it – Fonterra, or – what I have come to think of as “the big creamy dragon, eater of all brands and abandoner of neat logos”.

Photo of the old Co-op courtesy and © of Lisa Truttman http://timespanner.blogspot.com/2008/11/helensville-ruins.html

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Addendum, early Aug 2013: Finally this week not one, but two ads turned up at the same time showing that Cloverdale was in production from the mid-late 1950s. .

The Weekly News Feb 29 1956 -  Cloverdale Ice Cream Mix - Kaipara Co-op Dairy EDIT sml

The Weekly News, Feb 29 1956.

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Recipe Book and Household Guide - Women's division Federated Famers NZ (Inc) - Kaipara Co-op Dairy -  Cloverdale Ice Cream Mix sml

From the Recipe Book and Household Guide by Women’s division Federated Farmers NZ (Inc)., exact publishing date unknown but appears to be late 1950s-early 1960s. 

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2013. All rights reserved.

Neverbland

In Desserts, Fonterra, Ice Cream, Peter Pan ice cream, Tip-Top on April 11, 2011 at 10.46

From an original photo of a tin sign courtesy of Cheryl Kelly.

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This is one of my more recent purchases from Trademe – unused Peter Pan “Captain Hook” iceblock wrappers. (nothing to do with the ConAgra products “Peter Pan” brand which was involved in that nasty Salmonella scandal a while back).
The Peter Pan brand was started by the Denne brothers, Haden and Tom. Peter Pan products were once broad and included Icecream (cones, slices, pints and quarts); Novelty ice confections (such as the lurid post 1969 “Hello Dolly” with a doll shaped candy impregnated in the middle); Puff pastry and pastry products; Spring Rolls, Cobs, and croquettes masquerading as a range of “exotic Chinese foods”, and syrups for milk and thick shakes and sodas.

Both this and the cherry label below are from my personal collection.I’m guessing earl-mid 1970s, for these ones.

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There are records dating back to the late 1940’s, and the company prospered well into the late 1970’s when it seems to have hit some problems and many staff were handed redundancy packages. With a slightly revamped name, “Peter Pan Frozen Foods Ltd.” it seems to have continued on in some form until the late 1980’s.

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I would take an educated guess these were salvaged from the factory some time in the late 1970s-early 1980s. Cherry was a fairly unusual flavour then, it was considered more of an “American” thing along with others like blueberry and watermelon.

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To be honest I don’t remember Peter Pan products being around myself (it was probably more or less a geographical thingso didn’t make it to the upper reaches of the North Island), but obviously the company was well established and popular in it’s time with Barry Pulford remembering “…at 909 Heretaunga Street East, about 1966, there was a dairy next door to the Family Foodmarket Ltd where I worked after leaving Karamu High School. And next door to the dairy was the Blue Moon ice cream factory which later moved to Havelock North. Sadly the Blue Moon and Peter Pan brands of ice cream are no longer available but they were delicious“. From this we can assume that the Peter Pan factory was also in Hastings not that far away, indicated by Barry adding it into the description of the local area.

I still can’t track down the location (or figure out the purpose) of this Peter Pan parlour.

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Here is a photo of a building commemorating the factory and brand, although, probably a parlour and outlet in Hastings, as mentioned above. Now a Trompe L’oeil vignette rather than an open business, this apparently is not the original location, which was in Waipukurau and was still running, as we can see from this photo, in 1970 at that location.

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The No. 1 factory outside of Waipkurau on Takapu Road (it was then called Ruataniwha Street) and Cook Streets.This photo taken in 1970, and courtesy of Kete Central Hawkes Bay / the Central Hawkes Bay District Libraries Millenium Project and the  CHB District Settlers Museum.

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Unfortunately, apart from entries at the NZ Intellectual Property Office for the brand (Country Gold, Fudgsicle, Peter-Cream and Softee ) there is not much available information. However again like the “Buttermaid” brand (I posted on this in March), Fonterra aquired it as part of their purchase of Tip Top Investments Limited, where it has become “abandoned”, probably forever. So not much remains, except for a series of wonderfully kitsch and gimmicky 1960s posters someone sold off recently, which I’ll clean up and post later in the year when I revisit the Denne Brothers. Often I just can’t understand why, when something has been enjoyed by so many people for so many decades, it so quickly slips into obscurity.

Addendum: After writing twenty or more letters to individuals, in January of 2011 I finally tracked the Peter Pan “memorial” parlour to a small town of 300 or so people named “Norsewood” south of Waipukurau. Although not that far away in the scheme of things from the town where the factory was, it remains a mystery of firstly – who made it? And more to the point,why? Given that so far my research shows that the Dennes never had anything to do with Norsewood, I can only speculate that perhaps it was created by an ex-factory employee in memory of a much-enjoyed job?  I am sure I’ll be able to get to the bottom of this conundrum.