longwhitekid

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.

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  1. The photo of Chch Kiwi factory is not correct. It was simply an advert for Kiwi placed atop a prominent building in Colombo Street Sydenham (Home Improvement Centre, was a furniture shop right up to the 2010 earthquake) promoting the KIWI brand.

  2. Thanks for the heads-up Kev. It’s likely I was just going by the title the author of the photo gave it. Now that I cannot find the photo or anything about that photographer to check of course! Clearly there was a Christchurch branch and factory somewhere as evidenced by Kiwi trademarks 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.

  3. 50 years ago, Kiwi Bacon was making the most amazing Pork sausages at their Kingsland Factory – never to be beaten in taste by any one (as far as I am concerned). Of particular note was the Kiwi Bacon Chipolata, a small sized Pork Sausage, which had a distinctive taste, which I have hunted for far and wide across the world – but sadly, never to be found. My father worked there in the late ’50’s and would often bring them home. I now live in Australia and am still hunting for the “Holy Chipolata”. What was that secret ingredient that Kiwi implanted in their sausage ? – I would love to find out. Perhaps they actually put real meat in the sausage, when today we are served up money making artificial tastes. If anyone has a clue about this story, please let me know what you know – I am desperate to find that amazing taste again. Or do children’s tastes change when they become adults ?

    • Hi George, it’s true our perception changes regarding childhood food, or actually, absolutely anything, with the passage of time. This is because studies show the brain rewrites a memory slightly differently every time we think it – so through imperceptibly tiny changes, our memory of something warps over time. My story is remembering having Black Knight liquorice from the assortment box on a holiday, about 6 years old and how good it was, hunting for that for years. Finally I found the ‘Black Knight’ texture and flavour I remember in Fyna products. Trying real Black Knight again three times I believed it to be stale. It was very hard and not flavourful. Finally I realised that it’s just not very nice (or never was that good) and my memory of it must have been altered over time. That said I think some things really did taste much better, there has to be a percentage of fact to that. I think even in the last couple of years…they keep telling us we are getting the same thing and you know it’s not true. It’s the Trumpian world we now live in which will never reverse to being how it was, ‘alternate facts’ are now a reality where they keep telling you something you remember perfectly is not true and never happened, or that you must remember it wrong. In the 2010s lies have become truth and truth has become lies.

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