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