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Archive for the ‘Bournville Cocoa’ Category

Yearly Appeal

In Air New Zealand, Auckland Yellow Buses, Auckland Zoo, Bata Bullets, Bournville Cocoa, Bramley Doll Repairs, Canterbury clothing, Chic Littlewood, Children's toys, Chocolate Crackles, Crewe murders, D.H.Davis & Co, Dunedin Railway Station, Edmonds, ethnographic sexualised cliché, Freddy Fruit Salad, Gaiter Tyre Co, Ginger Gems, Goodnight Kiwi, Griffin’s, Hi Life Yoggit, Holdsons games, Holeproof socks, John and Betty book series, Kellogg's rice bubbles, Kiwi Bacon Company, Kremelta copha, Leo O'Malley's men's clothing, Maycey's, Māori culture, N.Z. Honey Marketing Authority., New Zealand Department of Education, New Zealand Post Office, Para Rubber, Pat Booth journalist, Pulmonas throat pastilles, Ready To Read book series, Ryko toys, Shum's stores Dunedin, Speedee appliances, Stacey Brothers, Sunday School Union building, TEAL Airways, Terribly un-P.C., Tidy Kiwi campaign, Tourism art, Tourism posters, Tourist souvenirs, Unity Hall Auckland, Witches Britches, Worthy Manufacturing Tailors, Wrigley's chewing gum on January 6, 2015 at 10.46

1- 134 likes, 19 shares Maori dolls

The number one most popular image for 2014, by a long shot, was this trio of Māori dolls. Someone remarked that they like to think of them as “cultural representatives”. Yeah, of people’s living rooms in the 1970s. Then following that –  garage sales, which is where you see them most of the time these days. I’m not sure if they’ve regained their hip factor – I suspect they never had one in the first place. Still, they bring back many happy memories for people and that’s what ultimately counts.

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When I began this blog, I had a very clear-cut agenda – and my goal was to post at least once a week. As I got deeper into the research aspect, I quickly developed standards about the stories –  and the frequency dropped down to a fortnightly post, to accommodate that. By 2013 I had resumed tertiary education – and with much struggle, I managed to keep this pace up for a while, before it finally dropped off to a story a month towards the end of the year. This year I only published a pitiful fifteen articles. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t constantly thinking about it, having ideas, as well as researching and recording data.

Many people contacted me and sent in advertising and packaging items they thought I’d be interested in, or gave me good tip-offs, and also some great photos were uncovered via the History Always Repeats page on Facebook – which is on its way to 2,400 members. This is the stuff that makes it worthwhile. However, along with the good things, I had a serious moment this year when I was going to press the *deactivate* button on everything  and quit. Something kept stopping me whenever I got close. I am still trying to reconcile the situation. It brings me back to that unpleasant topic of being ripped off again.

I have again battled, on more than one occasion this year, people taking and selling my work for commercial purposes. I don’t know if I end up on the receiving end of this more than anyone else in a similar position; but I can tell you that it gets bloody boring having to tackle these issues. One instance was a very well-known TV production company, which I won’t get into too much detail over. They were cooperative and the matter was settled to my satisfaction –  so there’s no need to go into it, since they clearly didn’t want a fuss made. What I just can’t believe is that people would go on prime time TV and lie they found my stuff second hand in a vintage store. The audacity of it was outrageous. That’s all I’m saying on the subject.

More recently a jerk in the U.K. took my posters and reproduced them as metal signs. I’ve prevented him from selling them as best I can – but I was not compensated, and I have no other way to stop him permanently. Just retouching on this topic makes my blood pressure start rising, so moving along to the yearly summary before something bursts…

The top reads for 2014 were quite different to the previous year, with some new entries. My piece on the number one Kiwi-established  chocolate manufacturer “A Sticky Business: Whittaker’s” took out  the top spot yet again with around 1,100 people reading the story.

The next most-read was a new entry; my story on the James Smith department stores of Wellington.

This was followed by my history of the ever-popular hokey pokey – which was another new charter at number three most-read.

Number four was my piece on that Boomer icon Moggy Man, formerly the TT2; dropping down from the number two slot last year.

And the number five most read story was on New Zealand’s most successful commercial artist Bernard Roundhill – who designed so many things over his decades-long career – that everyone is familiar with at least one whether it’s the Air New Zealand Koru, the Teachatot game or  the Bycroft biscuits running boy.

An interesting thing I’ve noted previously – and is consistent – short stories get a huge number of reads in the short term, but this never lasts. It’s always the longest, rambling stories – the ones I think people would generally not have patience for – that come out on top.

Finally, the History Always Repeats  page got a long overdue sister Twitter account, so if you’re a member of that social media platform then please follow me there. I try to post stuff that’s different from Facebook.

Without further delay, here’s the top fifty most popular images for the last year as rated by readers and members. You can congratulate  yourself  for some interesting, and at times unusual,  choices. All the best to my readers and members for 2015.

 

2 - 103 L 39 S The Mount Maunganui motor camp and beach, 1960s, by Gladys M Goodall

2. The second most popular image was Mount Maunganui motor camp, taken in the 1960s, by Gladys M. Goodall – who began photography in the 1940s, selling images to bus tours. It wasn’t long before her work caught the attention of leading publishers Whitcombe & Tombs; at their behest she travelled to every nook and cranny countrywide to get her pictures. In the days before digital manipulation, the lengths she went to in capturing the exact shot she required were quite amazing – even bribing firemen to shovel more coal into a train’s engine for just the right amount of smoke. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library, ref GG-02-0466-1.

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3 - 93 L 15 S

3. This not-particularly-good photo of an unopened packet of P.K. chewing gum, which the seller says dates from the early 1970s (dubious), came in at number three. Wrigley’s product was present in New Zealand from the 1910s; it was first imported from the U.S., then manufacturing switched to Rosebery in Sydney, Australia in the Twenties. It took until the 1950s for it to be made domestically.

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4 -  92 L 19 S  vinyl covered foot rest probably dates from the second half of the 1960s to the early 1970s.

4. This vinyl-covered footrest probably dates from the second half of the 1960s-early 1970s. Almost ubiquitous – dozens of people came out with stories of their family’s own special poof –  even my grandparents had one of these in beige and brown. The parallel discussion was whether the latter name was still P.C., and if  it was still appropriate to sit on one at a party.

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5 - 88 likes Chicaboom - Copy

5. Cecil (Chic) Littlewood had success in children’s shows of the 1970s-1980s with  shows “Now C Here”, “Chica Boom” and “Chic Chat”. British-born, as such his variety-style kid’s programs were influenced by traditional English style of music hall and holiday camp shows. In 1964 he gained interest from the BBC; however he had already decided to emigrate to New Zealand. It wasn’t long before his characters such as Cockney “Golf Cap Charlie” got him attention on Kiwi television, and the rest is history. As prime time success wound down, he had involvement in the Basil Brush Show, then segued into serious acting. However for a generation of kids he will always be remembered for characters like Willie McNabb. You can see a 1981 episode here.

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6 - 86 L 24 S  Members of the 28th Maori Battalion performing a haka in the Western Desert in Egypt

6. Māori Members of the armed forces performing the Haka in the Western Desert, Egypt, July 1941. Formed in 1940 as part of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF), the 28th  Battalion had a deserved  reputation as fearsome fighters; they were the most decorated battalion in WWII.  This image, edited by Doug Banks for website Colourise History, went viral and caused consternation as usual. Apart from that contingent of the public who always somehow find a reason to be offended about anything at all – some rusted-on old photography purists seemingly felt that changing the picture from its original compromises the integrity.

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7 - 68 L 28 S  The Goodnight Kiwi and Cat

7. The Goodnight Kiwi was illustrated by one of New Zealand’s most celebrated commercial cartoonists Sam Harvey, whose animation house was also responsible for Ches and Dale. Kiwi and his cat pal were introduced in 1975 as a sign-off for end of broadcast each night on Channel 2. Yes, it used to go dead as many will remember. With today’s 24/7 coverage of everything, it’s pretty hard to imagine a TV screen going depressingly blank, but that’s how it was. Kiwi was retired in 1994 but was revived in 2007. Not sure what the status is, as a campaign was established in 2012 demanding he be brought back.

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8 - 62 L 19 S David Shum outside his fruit and veg shop, Caversham Valley, Dunedin, 1983

 8. Local Dunedin personality David Shum outside his “oasis” of a fruit and veg shop, Caversham Valley, 1983. The name was actually spelled Quun, but the Shums, who still own the Four Square store in the area, phonetically anglicised it for ease. Image courtesy of Owain Morris collection via the Growing Up In Dunedin page.

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9 -58 L sliding and flying Ready to Read series, Ministry of Education

9. “Sliding and Flying” from the “Ready To Read” series of books – is one of only  two repeat entries from last year’s top fifty. I believe this series was issued  around 1970, although the Ministry of education had been publishing from the 1920s onwards.

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10 - 56 L 11 S New Zealand Post Office savings books

10. New Zealand Post Office savings “books” were actually piggy banks. They were literally shaped like a leather book, but underneath the cover was a tin container with a lock. They’re not so common now but used to be easy to find. These were issued from the late 1950s through early 1980s, although by the latter decade they were plastic.

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11 - 56 L K Road doll repairs

11. Back in the day, things were made to last – And when they finally did break or wear out you’d take them to get fixed instead of just throwing them in the trash. Bramley’s was present in Karangahape Road, Auckland, for quite some time as this post got an excited response from many baby boomers with sad stories of cracked toys – and then their subsequent jubilance at the return of the item in one piece – courtesy of this business. This advert was published in the Woman’s Weekly in late 1946.

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12- 55 L Air New Zealand Tiki, 1970s

12. The Air New Zealand Tiki, 1970s, was once handed to every passenger as a comp; these often ended up with the kids upon someone’s return from an overseas jaunt. “Oh, here – I got you something.” Gee, thanks. This also made it on to last year’s list attesting to its sentimental appeal.

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13 - 54 L 6 S  so far CHECK Auckland Zoo dragon

13. A postcard of the Auckland Zoo’s big concrete playground  dragon, with its frighteningly sharp and dangerous teeth (later dramatically filed down),  was on last year’s list.  Shona Moilliet  submitted this photo of herself, with her brother in its mouth, taken around 1962. Photos of the dragon are seemingly far and few between, so thanks to her for sharing this great image with us.

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14 - 54 likes 2 shares Para Pools, New Zealand Woman's Weekly, October 1974

14. Splashing water and shrieking from back yards is the throwback sound of summer for most. This advert for the very popular pools from Para Rubber resonated with many – it was published in the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, October 1974.

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15 - 51 L 36 S The Kiwi Bacon factory and classic Auckland yellow bus, photographed in the 1980s

15. Two classics in one: The Kiwi Bacon factory and a yellow bus, photographed in Auckland, in the 1980s. The revolving figure from the roof of the factory is apparently now on top of the Auckland Airport Kiwi Motel, McKenzie Road, Mangere. Image courtesy of and © Robin Morrison.

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16 - 51 like 3 share Red plastic telephone.

16. Most people remember these dial telephones – which were still in use in our household into the late 1980s – in a dull olive tone. However these rarer brightly coloured ones are highly sought after in good condition. In particular mint green ones typically reach hundreds these days. Image courtesy of Teacup and Saucer – vintage, retro and handmade collectable items. 

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17 - 51 likes 3 shares Tellow bus Karangahape Rd, Auckland in 1980

17. Trolleybus ARA No. 102, working the Queen Street Shuttle. Photographed outside O’Malley’s men’s clothing (which is still present today) on the corner of  Karangahape Road at Pitt Street, June 1980. Image courtesy of and © Leroy W. Demery, Jr.

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18 - 46 L 26 S Witches Britches knee-length underwear packet by Lane Walker Rudkin, probably 1960s

18. Witches Britches were knee-length underwear by Canterbury commonly worn by many under college gym frocks of the 1960s and 1970s. Mary Henson recalls: “We wore them to cover up the horrible gap between undies and stocking tops. Miss Pugh would not hear of us wearing tights. We had to wear black!  Absolutely NO coloured lace, or off to detention for you my girl!” Image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection.

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19 - 44 L 15 S Chocolate Crackles, Woman's Weekly, July 1964

  1. That perennial kiddie’s favourite, Chocolate Crackles – religiously made with Cadbury’s “Bournville” cocoa, Kremelta copha, Kellogg’s rice bubbles, and CSR icing sugar. This image from the Woman’s Weekly, July 1964.

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20 - 44 likes 2 shares Mr and Mrs Ward with Pamela, Carolyn and Muriel Clark standing next to their car in Kawakawa, 1950s.

20. Mr. and Mrs. Ward, along with Pamela, Carolyn and Muriel Clark, standing next to their car in a Kawakawa street, sometime in the 1950s. I remember travelling rural Aotearoa in the Eighties, and many small towns still looked like this! Photo by Ron Clark, courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, Record ID 1207-1655.

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21 - 44 L 2 S Ginger Gems  irons, manufactured by D.H.Davis & Co Auckland & Christchurch, likely in the late 1970s

21. One of my earlier primary school memories is the domestic education classes where we made Ginger Gems with these typical irons; these ones manufactured by D.H.Davis & Co Auckland & Christchurch, are likely to date from the late 1970s. Original image courtesy of Dave Lapthorne.

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22 - 44 L The Stars in the Sky, Ready to Read series, Ministry of Education, published 1970.

22. “Stars in the Sky” from the New Zealand Department of Education’s “Ready To Read” series, published circa 1970. These books are one of two repeat entries from last year’s top fifty – and as exhibited by entry 9 – the only double-up in this year’s list (last year it was all about milk products and blankets). Besides “Sliding and Flying”, 0ther books in the series of  six were “The Hungry Lambs”, “The Dragon’s Egg” “Sweet Porridge”, and “Boat Day.”

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23 - 43 L 3 S Old Fashioned Raspberry Drops from Auckland company Mayceys

23. I remember Old Fashioned Raspberry Drops from the 1970s, but they’ve probably been around much longer. Made by Auckland company Mayceys, who were also responsible for other classics like Glo Harts, Sweet Cents, Blackberries & Raspberries, and Emerald Drops. However the Stacey Brothers made their big money in cough lozenges and pastilles from the 1910s onwards; Pulmonas, Eukols, Bants and Lixoids to name some successful ones – as well as  Kurols  – which are still available in Countdown supermarkets.

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24 - 42 L 5 S Playmates  from the The John and Betty readers series, published in New Zealand by Whitcombe & Tombs, 1950s

24. “Playmates”  from the “John and Betty” readers series, published in New Zealand and Australia by Whitcombe & Tombs, 1950s. It was apparently an English series “Janet and John” originally.  This is the third entry in this top fifty for Ready To Read publications. A number of these types of out-of-date books showcasing a carefree, perfect post-war life were very much in use when I was at school – and along with the old “Murder House” health posters – it was like being stuck in another era. Image courtesy of Rosie at Westleigh College Northcote blog. 

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25 - 39 likes Holeproof walk socks

25. Walk socks: Guaranteed to make hot blonde chicks get out their Duraware for you. This image from an Intact Holeproof package of the 1970s. The consensus is that they seem to have been particularly popular with teachers, for some reason.

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26 -38 L 12 S Dew Drop Inn Douglas saddle C 1910

26. “Dew Drop Inn” was a tacky, generic name popular in the 1950s-1960s era; when we were growing up, there was a local fruit shed named this, decked out with a sequin sign. However the moniker apparently goes back much further. This one served booze aplenty as demonstrated by the window wares. Perhaps over-indulgence is the reason why one of the fellows has clambered on the bull instead of his horse. It was supposedly situated in Douglas Saddle, Taranaki around the 1910s. However Auckland historian Lisa Truttman raises questions on the location (and perhaps even the country of provenance) – as the only known Dew Drop wasn’t a Taranaki establishment – but in Kaiteratahi, Poverty Bay area, and much earlier. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library, ref  MNZ-0698-1/4-F.

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27 - 38 likes Carefree Holidays

27. “Carefree Holidays”, silkscreen tourism advertisement  poster created between 1930-1940,  artist unknown, image courtesy of the Library of Congress collection Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. USA. 

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28 - 37 likes 4 shares Griffin's biscuit tin, featuring a picture of a cat

28. Kitsch classics: Serving Family batch realness with  a 1970s Griffin’s biscuit tin, featuring a picture of a cat of course, and Nanna’s crochet blanket. The beach shack was where all items, that were too out of date or ugly  to have in the house, but weren’t yet ready to be discarded because it was unethical for whatever reason, went to serve a second term until death. It was like the penal colony for household goods – and House and Garden it wasn’t.

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29 - 36 likes 14 shares War Dog of New Zealand postcard

29. “War Dog of New Zealand” postcard issued 1914-1915. Artist and provenance unknown,  Image courtesy of The New Zealand Journal blog.

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30 - 36 L 4 S The Dunedin Railway Station's spectacular mosaic floor

30. The Dunedin Railway Station’s spectacular mosaic  floor is made up of hundreds of thousands of Minton (later Royal Doulton) tiles. The decorations, first  laid in 1906, also encompass friezes around the walls. The original floor consisted of 725,760 half inch porcelain squares, manufactured especially, and imported from England.  It was replaced by a replica in 1965 when it became necessary to rebuild the floor on new foundations. Image courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

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31 - 36 L 3 S Portrait of Princess Ngaperapuna, probably late C19th

31. Portrait of Princess Ngaperapuna, probably late 19th Century, hand-coloured by yours truly. Not much to be known about her except that this image was taken sometime between 1890 and 1920, and the photographer has not managed to be identified in most collections, but looks like it was taken by Josiah Martin – as there is anther unidentified shot of Ngaperapuna in a picture called “Two wahine in Cloaks” by him, that looks like it was done in the same session. This would mean it was taken before 1916.  Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection, Online prints and photographs catalogue, U.S. Library of Congress. Call Number: LOT 11356-15.

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32 - 36 likes 3 shares Poster for the Matson Line to New Zealand by Louis Macouillard

32. Poster for the Matson Line to New Zealand, created in the USA, 1955, by Louis Macouillard (1913-1987). Image courtesy of  The Image Gallery.

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33 - 35 likes

33. This chromolithograph Yuletide banner was published by A. R. Hornblow & Son of Wellington, circa 1920. Image courtesy of the Manuscript and Pictorial Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, ref Eph-D-CHRISTMAS-1920-01.

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34 - 35 L 3 S An old metal lamp and a Edmonds baking powder tin

34. A rustic scene and nothing more: An old metal lamp and an Edmonds baking powder tin. The classic “red lead” colour of the paint on the wood elicited a few memories too.

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35 - 34 L 2 S Tidy Kiwi campaign

35. The “Tidy Kiwi” campaign has been such a hit – it has run for decades now – encouraging New Zealanders to keep it nice. This promotional badge dates from the 1970s.

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36 - 33 L 4 S Pedal car, possibly by Ryko, a toy maker in the Wellington area in the 1960s

36. A children’s pedal car, believed to be by Ryko, a manufacturer of strollers  and toys  in the Wellington area in the early 1960s.

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37 - 31 likes Maori possessed doll

37. Before Annabelle: If you want a doll that just sits in the corner and eats your soul with its empty black eye sockets, or if you’re even luckier clambers onto your bed at two in the morning and stands over you with a kitchen knife until you wake up – then I think I’ve found the one for you. 

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38 - 30 L 11 S Silver threepence coin,1936

38. Silver threepence coin, issued 1936. King George V was on the reverse side.

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39 - 30 L 5 S John Powell, unlawfully killing sheep with intent to steal sentenced to two years, in 1889.

39. John Powell, charged with unlawfully killing a sheep with intent to steal the carcass, and subsequently sentenced to two years, in 1889. Other crimes: Randomly appearing in children’s dreams and terrifying them forever. See more old New Zealand mug shots in one of  New Zealand: History & Natural History’s “Rogue’s Gallery” here.

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40 - 30 L 3 S MAORI PERFORMANCE TROUPE Whenuapai airport in the mid 1950s, with the plane being a DC-6

40. Photo of a Māori performance group on the tarmac with a TEAL DC-6 plane, likely at Whenuapai Airport; the hostess uniform  was in use from 1958 to 1961, giving a fairly accurate date. I guess it’s probably a promotional image of some kind  – yet looks a bit informal for that. I don’t know for what purpose it was taken, whether it was some kind of special event, such as greeting the arrival of someone famous or important; and there is  no knowledge of the image’s provenance.

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41 - 30 likes 2 shares Iconic footwear Bata Bullets are back

41. Iconic footwear “Bata Bullets” are back as of November 2014, in stores around the country  – in the exact original style. Founded in Czechoslovakia in the 1890s and becoming a global company with an innovative, socially conscious philosophy that was way ahead of its time – Bata New Zealand was formed in 1948 with the first factory opening at Owhiro Bay, Wellington, in 1951 producing slippers.  Bullets were being produced by 1969 and the line had sold about 10 million pairs by 1974.  

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42 -28 like 4 share From a postcard entitled Maori Beauty, dated 1906

42. From a postcard entitled “Māori Beauty”, dated 1906. Although reducing cultures to an ethnographic sexualised cliché  was nothing unusual the world over, going way back –  this one is pretty tame and innocent, as most of the Kiwi ones were. This one, not quite so much.

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43 - 27 L 2 S freddy Fruitsalad Sticker set published from 1980 to promote Hi Life Yoggit

43. Freddy Fruit Salad, as part of a Sticker set published from 1980 through the first half of the decade, to promote Hi Life Yoggit. These stickers were popular on leather school satchels and exercise books (well, maybe not this particular one). The dodgy stereotypes did not go unnoticed, apparently resulting in school age children dubbing the brand “Lo Life”. This one definitely made it into the ” Terribly Un-Politically Correct File”. Image courtesy of Steve Williams collection.

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44 - 27 L 2 S Magnetic Chinese Checkers, issued by Holdson games, 1974

44. No seat belts: Magnetic Chinese Checkers, issued by Holdson games, 1974. I certainly remember playing this; and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a household that didn’t have this in their games cupboard.

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45 - 26 l 2 s Upper queen st 1928 unity hall

45. About seven years before my Grandpa Joseph moved his business in: Looking up the west side of upper Queen Street, Auckland to where Mayoral Drive meets it today. Looking from the corner of Airedale Street showing the Sunday School Union building aka Unity Hall, the tallest building with the arched windows on the first floor at the end of block. Worthy Manufacturing was on the second (the top) level for around twenty years making suits, uniforms, coats and dresses – and shared the building with another tailoring business – Standard Coat & Costume Co. The building still stands and has a Christian bookshop at street level. It’s suspected to have been snapped on a Sunday – hence the very quiet street. Photographed January 1928, by James D. Richardson. Image courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, ref 4-1919.

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46 -26 likes 4 shares William Hugh Mawhinney and William S. Johnson outside 87 Albert Street, Auckland

46. Free air: Lisa Masterton sent me this fantastic image found amongst her late uncle’s possessions; and she was interested to know what the significance was. Turns out, one of the men is her uncle’s father William Hugh Mawhinney. Gaiter Tyre Co gets its earliest mention in May 1921. Mawhinney and William S. Johnson, who established the Auckland company, stand outside 87 Albert Street, Auckland in the early Twenties. The business advertised between 1923-1931 later at 60 Albert Street, then 95 Albert Street. However number 87 continued to have a history associated with automotives; It was home to Auckland Motor Co at the end of the 1920s and then through the 1930s the Independent Motor Co. I love how you can still see in the background cosy looking houses, a horse and barn, remaining right in the middle of the city at that time, a far cry from today’s streetscape. 

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47 -26 likes 4 shares Glass magic lantern slide, hand-inscribed with the text Guide Susan, wife of Maori Policeman, Rotorua

47. Lots of Māori stuff made it onto the list this year; there are ten entries relating to indigenous Aotearoa. Are people more culturally conscious, or have I just posting more in that category? A glass magic lantern slide, hand-inscribed with the text “Guide Susan, wife of Māori Policeman, Rotorua.” Era unknown, possibly 1900s-1910s. Strangely, this was produced in Carlton, Victoria, Australia – when there were certainly plenty of businesses in New Zealand at the time that created these.

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48 - 26 L 4 S Speedee electric jug, Auckland Star, November 1935.

48. Unbreakable! Well, apparently. Advert for an early electrical appliance, the Speedee jug, Auckland Star, November 1935. Speedee were around for many decades, and I remember appliances like water heaters from when I was a youngster; many Boomers remembered these particular kettles – of which the design remained unchanged through the years. 

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49 -26 likes 4 shares The All Blacks Book for Boys, By Pat Booth, 1960.

49. The All Blacks Book for Boys, By Pat Booth, 1960. An early publication by veteran journalist and activist Booth, who  has long been considered one of the country’s finest press members. He is principally noted for proving that police planted evidence which falsely implicated Arthur Allan Thomas in the infamous Crewe murders –  not only one of  New Zealand’s greatest unsolved cases but also one of the most controversial in history.

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50 - 26 L Pure NZ Honey tins were one of a number of periodically issued generic containers 1950s and 1960s.

50. These “Pure New Zealand Honey” tins were one of a number of periodically issued generic containers over the decades by the N.Z. Honey Marketing Authority. I’d say they date from the 1950s and 1960s. I’ve counted at least twenty different apiaries around the country that issued their product in this particular can design. 

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2014. All rights reserved.

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In AB Consolidated, Aulsebrook's, Ballins Breweries, board games, Bournville Cocoa, Cadbury Confectionery Ltd, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Caley's chocolate, Chelsea Sugar Refinery, Coca-Cola Co., Coca-Cola Company of New Zealand, Crown Lynn, Cuesenaire rods, Doughnuts, Edmonds, Fanta soft drink, Fresca diet soft drink, Fresh-Up juices, Gregg & Co, Gregg's, Gregg's Instant Pudding, Gregg's jelly crystals, Griffin’s, Hi-C juice, Holdsons games, Jaytee Patty Pans, Kaiapoi blankets, Kelston Potteries, Leed soft drink, Mackintosh Caley Phoenix, Mackintosh Caley Phoenix (MCP), Mackintosh's, McAlpine, Milk delivery, Milkshakes, N.Z. Apple & Pear Marketing Board, New Zealand School Journal, Old Spice, Phoenix biscuits, Po Ha crackers, Ready To Read books, Rowntree's, Rowntree's Smarties, Sewing stuff, Sodastream soft drink, The Ministry of Education, Tip-Top, Topsy, Tourism art, Tourist souvenirs, Uncategorized on February 2, 2014 at 10.46

1  85   likes and 49 shares  The Farmers' children's playground, Auckland - this one taken in the 1970s.

The number one most popular image I’ve posted of all time, was this picture of the whimsical playground on top of the Farmers’ department store, which was next to the cafeteria to keep the kids occupied. It was shared around Facebook dozens of times. The recall of playing on the pedal cars and trikes – as well as who took ownership of the toadstool -really struck a cord with everyone. 

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One day not so long ago, I decided to look at the stats on my History Always Repeats page, and, out of curiosity – find out the impact what I’ve posted has had on my readership.
Certainly with this blog, I was really surprised to find that it wasn’t the short, snappy and visual bites people were reading the most – but the longest posts. Which I actually thought people would have less time and patience for…not at all, it seems.

The nature of Facebook is different; it’s pretty much throwaway in comparison. You post, mostly pictures in my case, add a few lines of text maybe, the reaction is pretty much immediate. It starts moving down the feed where it quickly disappears, basically to be forgotten.

Stats on pictures aren’t provided by Facebook -so I had to manually trawl through every single image (which is over 1500 pictures) and rank them in order of “likes” to each image from page members.
I’ve long criticised the unofficial list of Kiwiana icons, and I wrote an article on this topic for “In Search of the Vernacular” which was published last July in New Zealand by The Cultural Mapping Project. I have my own ideas about what is wrong and right in this respect, but even I don’t really know what is “popular” per se. Really,  the only way to really tell is to give over to the public and see what they have to say with their votes – that’s you, my readers and page members.

OK, so have you got your own mental picture of what you think are the most popular items that Kiwi Boomers, X and Y reminisce on? Is it full of Fred Dagg, ice cream cones, Pohutukawas, gumboots, kiwis, pavs and tikis? Well – wrong, wrong, and WRONG (for the most part).

So, below are the top fifty most popular images based on what I have posted since October 2012. The results were actually quite surprising. What was more surprising is what didn’t make it in. Where was Wattie’s, Cookie Bear, and Spaceman drinks? Didn’t score much with the punters, it seems. Forget beer, Beehive matches and those squeezy sauce bottles shaped like tomatoes. Not even close! Lamingtons? Forget it.

It’s quite interesting to see what really butters people’s proverbial scones when it comes to Kiwi nostalgia – and it’s certainly not the typical list of Buzzy Bees, kiwifruits, Tip-Tops and flip flops!
What does this selection tell us? It certainly indicates the way we view ourselves and culture and how very different it is from what we are fed about our own popular “image” as Kiwis.
I suppose a major factor in image ranking is that in the first few months I had an incredibly low level of members – I started with around 30 on the first day, and nothing happened for months. And people don’t often go back and check through old stuff.

It wasn’t until I posted the picture of the cafeteria playground at the flagship Farmers’ Store in Hobson Street, Auckland (ranked number one over all) that it started blowing up as the image went viral. Within a very short time I had suddenly reached 700 members.

Certainly I come from the point of view of an ex-designer and there’s always going to be a focus on the visually appealing in my edit – and thus what ends up in my final selection. To me it was interesting, that what people preferenced did generally have aesthetic appeal – but they weren’t really what I would have hand-picked as the most eye-popping items. In some ways it’s a bit of a motley selection (I mean, the Alf novelty ice cream? Really, people? Really).
I never know what people want to read or look at and try not to care too much about it, but maybe even if it’s subconsciously – I am starting to get a better idea of what content is desired and it’s not all about what I personally think or prefer. Should I change anything about the way I go about things? Probably not, otherwise it would just end up being the same as what everyone else is doing.

It seems clear the image we’ve had forced upon us is a rather false assumption – and the genre is far more subjective with a focus on childish comforts. So is it just a “popularity contest” after all? I have to say I disagree, announced while snugly wrapped in a cosy wool blanket, with a sweet bun, and a hot cup of Bournvita in a nightcap novelty mug.

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2  71  likes 22 shares Little Black Sambo

2. Second  most popular on the list is the classic Helen Bannerman children’s book about the tigers that turn into butter and are used to fry pancakes. This book is still in print and back on the market today, but apparently went through a period where it was banned.

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3 46 likes Ready to Read series, collection of Waterview School. Image courtesy of the Waterview Heritage Project

3. Any time I post a picture of the Ready To Read series from The Ministry of Education, including The Hungry Lambs (not pictured), it gets a very warm reception. Collection of Waterview School. Image © Carla Martell and  courtesy of the Waterview Heritage Project.

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4 44 likes Spirograph

4.  I remember this being around in the 1970s, and certainly was heavily advertised on television. But clearly at number four, much more popular than I recall. 

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5 39 Griffin's broken biscuits

5.  Now I knew this would be a hit. Who doesn’t remember and love broken biscuits? They hold fond memories for many, for various reasons. I remember cardboard boxes with plastic bags full of broken iced animals at the end of the aisles at Gubay’s, and also going with my grandmother and her fellow staff to the Hudson’s factory in Rosebank as a toddler to get tins of  chocolate cookie and confectionery seconds.

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6 36 likes Cadbury Bournvita bakelite Nightcap mug

6. Cadbury’s issued this novelty promo “Nightcap” mug for Bournvita in 1957. It’s not something I’m really familiar with – but apparently a lot of Baby Boomers are as it caused a bit of excitement to see it again. It was still featured on the Bournvita boxes well into 1967 so they must have kept making them for that long.

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8 29 New Zealand Hardie banknote for ten dollars

7.  Something seen by everyone just about every day for years – the Hardie banknote for New Zealand  ten dollars. Now obviously out of circulation and quite collectible.

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7 36  like Milk Deliver s

8. Red top, green top, silver top and juice. Don’t forget to put out your empties, and the right tokens. The days of milk home deliveries, long-lost  to deregulation – something people have a romantic yearning for as it’s just one of a few milk and milk-related entries in this list.

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9 29 likes chinese checkers  1 EDIT

9. The classic game of Chinese Checkers was found in the homes of most, although in my more recent day it looked a little bit different. I guess this one dates from the 1950s.

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10 29 gregg's lime jelly

10.  Gregg’s jellies were around from the 1920s, rivaling Edmonds “Sure To Set”  line, as well as about two hundred other brands over the decades. But it held its own in the marketplace and is still going strong today. Through the 1960s to the 1980s and beyond they issued albums to collect cards – and birds were a trademark theme of the brand. This one dates from around 1981. Image courtesy of Steve Williams collection.

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11 28 likes Topsy Ice Cream Wrapper, mid 1980s

11. Tip-Top’s classic Topsy is purported to be the company’s first novelty, named after one of the founder’s treasured pet cows. This is possible, however Choc Bombs and Eskimo Pies made their appearance in the same decade. This resonates with me because I definitely remember this wrapper well and it didn’t change much for quite a while.  Image courtesy of Steve Williams collection.

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12 26 likes Vintage New Zealand wool blankets.

12. Whenever I post pictures of blankets and labels they always rate highly. We have three blanket-related entries in this top fifty. These are now quite desirable, second hand and bidding at auction can be surprisingly competitive.

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13 26 likes The classic Kiwi cream bun

13. The classic Kiwi  cream doughnut – very different to the American donut – must be filled with cream, a small dollop of raspberry jam, and a dusting of sweet icing sugar over the top to be the real deal. We usually got these at the corner dairy along with a Zap flavoured milk for a Sunday morning treat. These ones seem to have currants in them which isn’t how, I think most people, consider a genuine one.

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14 26 likes milkshalke makers

14. All the ingredients from the milk bar or dairy of yesteryear that you need to make a refreshing and frothy milkshake. It makes me want a cold spearmint one from Uncle’s right now!

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15 26 likes Gregg’s instant pudding

15. The prize for earliest instant milk puddings probably goes to W. F. Tucker’s brand “Sunshine” in the 1910s. It took Gregg’s a good twenty years after that to get their version on the shelves. However, Gregg’s instant pudding is still around today, and Sunshine is long gone! These boxes from a 1972 advert.

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16 25 The camp, the cook, and the cabbage, circa 1890s.

16. This is one of the “go figure” entries that  I guess really appealed to people. I have to admit, it’s one of my very favourites too. “The camp, the cook and the cabbage, Wairarapa”. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and Pictorial collection,  Ref  1/2-022483-F .

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17   25 likes Poha Fire Crackers label, image courtesy of Owain Morris Collection

17. The most popular item before and on Guy Fawkes night, was traditionally these crackers, which were available for a few cents at local dairies (milk bars).  The meaner kids would throw them at others to frighten them after school.  Image courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

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18 18 23 likes Leed lemonade by the Coca-Cola Company of New Zealand, early 1970s

18. Testament to its popularity, Leed, by the Coca-Cola Co., appears in this list twice. Ironically  their namesake drink didn’t even rank in the top 100 – but Fanta – also by this company – does as well.

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19  19 23 likes Gregg Pudding late 1970s-early 1980s

19. Appearing twice in this top fifty list means the humble pud from Gregg’s is something held dear by Kiwis. Personally I don’t get it. This range from the late 1970s, which by this time had ten flavours. I remember the orange one was particularly horrid. And I don’t much like the look of this one either. Oh well, no accounting for taste. 

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20 23 likes Crown Lynn Book Cover - Valerie Ringer Monk

20. More lurid patterns stick out for me than soft, tasteful Martha Stewart-type pastels as pictured here. Crown Lynn has come a long way since Rice Owen Clark wrapped logs in clay and burned them to fire his own pipes in Hobsonville, Auckland way back in the 1850s, then started filling orders for neighbours who liked what they saw. The rest is history. Image courtesy of Valerie Monk and  Penguin Books.

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21 22 likes the sound of the milk truck and the rattle of coins in the bottle elizabethjconz

21. Milk again, this time bottles in the classic plasticized wire holder that would nestle six in it – whether full or empty. Image courtesy of and © Elizabeth J Photography http://www.elizabethj.co.nza

22 22 likes Fanta bottles with original contents 1 EDIT copy

22. Full, unopened Fanta bottles of the 1970s.  Maybe people wouldn’t be so keen on it if they knew it had literally been invented for the Nazis by Coca-Cola. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

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23 21 likes Auckland Zoo Dragon 1970s

23. This picture was taken in 1980-1981 for a promotional postcard as reader Wendy Snookes (Tisdall) remembers posing for it; that’s her in the yellow dress on the left. The Auckland Zoo’s big concrete dragon has been around since I was little, and who knows how long before that. There’s a photo of me somewhere sitting on one of the toadstools they used to have nearby, in an orange, green and purple crochet jumpsuit. You can’t get more Seventies than that. 

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24 21 Kelston Potteries Daisydesign teacup and plate, with Alfred Meakin mustard  saucer late 1960s to early 1970s

24. This Kelston Potteries (a subsidiary of Crown Lynn, this makes it the second entry) Daisy design teacup and plate, with  an Alfred Meakin “Mustard” design  saucer dates from the late 1960s to early 1970s.

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25 21 Inside Mum's sewing kit

25. Stuffed with Tui rick-rack, Sylko or Dewey wood reels, Dorcas pins, and random beads, hat pins and ribbons – the classic contents of a sewing kit or drawer, often stashed in one of those old wood and cast iron Singer sewing machine stands, is always a big hit with my readers. Image courtesy of and  ©  Bronwyn Lloyd  at Mosehouse Studio.

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26  19 likes Old Spice aftershave bottle, 1970s-1980s

26. Old Spice by Shulton Ltd appeared on the market as an aftershave in the Sixties – and by the 1970s  the range had extended to Original, Lime and Burley each with shaving sticks and several types of deodorants. I remember my father wearing this when I was a child and his whole morning “ritual” with the aftershave, cuff-links and knotting the tie – so I can understand why it brings back fond memories for so many. It pretty much had the market locked up for a long time but I  think it lost it’s monopolyin the 1980s with the advent of designer fragrances flooding the market fell out of favour.

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27 19 likes A variety of labels from wool blankets

27. Our second blanket entry is a collage of labels from various brands. I guess they bring back comforting memories for people in a number of ways – cosy winter nights, drowsily listening to parents talk, in another room, the sound of late night TV shows in the distance, sleepovers, visiting relatives, holidays, and other special occasions. It’s no surprise they resonate so much.

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28  19 Have a Coke - Kia Ora was painted between 1943 and 1945 for the Coca-Cola Company of New Zealand

28. Much of the Coke advertising was always a run-on off from American campaigns – but this one named  “Have a Coke – Kia Ora” – was a Kiwi creation and specifically painted between 1943-1945  for the Coca-Cola Company of New Zealand, not long after the product went domestic.a

29 18 likes Toltoys Bug Catcher, 1970s

29. Along with other popular toys, just about everyone had one of these bug catchers in the 1970s. The dying days of manual fun. Not long after this small hand-held consoles like Donkey Kong were the rage and it was imperative to have one. That was the beginning of the end as toys entered the digital age, and imagination started to atrophy.

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30  18 likes School Journal Album

30. First the School Journal was wrapping up. Then maybe it wasn’t. Now I’m not sure what’s true. It seems like it is done though,  and state-owned Learning Media is closing its doors, bringing to the end possibly the longest-running magazine in Kiwi history – having had it’s first issue published in 1907, the first instance that any kind of school book was published domestically. Cover artwork by Jill McDonald, image courtesy of the Auckland Museum Collection

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31 18 likes Rowntrees Smarties box, mid 1970s.

31. Rowntree’s Smarties box, mid 1970s. Rowntree’s products were produced under licence first by Mackintosh Caley Phoenix (MCP) whose Dunedin factory as acquired along with the Bycroft business in 1961 and became known as AB Consolidated  -until it wound down in the late Seventies, and reverted to Aulsebrook’s. Image courtesy of Steve Williams collection.

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32 18 likes Leed bottle, unopened and with original contents, late 1970s-early 1980s

32. Leed, a softly lemon-flavoured fizzy drink that arrived on the scene in the 1970s to great success, and was phased out in 1984 to be replaced by the more American-style Sprite. The second entry in this top fifty list for this drink, that has proven to be very popular even in retrospect – and is still pined over to this day.

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33 18 likes kitchen stuff

33. The classic line-up from the New Zealand kitchen cupboard for baking: Cadbury’s Bournville cocoa powder, golden syrup from CSR, cake cups from Jaytee, and good old Edmonds “Sure To Rise” baking powder which has been around since 1879 and is still one of the few most successful brands today (although the range is now in the dozens of products).

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34 18 likes cuisinere rods

34. Cuesenaire rods were invented in the early 1950s in Belgium – it’s not a Kiwi creation. They were meant to help educate in matters of elementary maths using different lengths and colours from one centimetre (white) to ten (orange). Fun to play with, but the plastic material they were made from had a really nasty smell I recall. Kind of like crayons, rotten oranges and shoe polish. Gag!

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35 17 Visit New Zealand, Maori Wonderland, travel Poster, circa 1930s

35. A lovely Maori maiden features in this travel Poster, circa 1930s, by Carl Thorwald Laugesen, probably done for the New Zealand  Government Tourist Office. This is what I was talking about, when I’ve come to understand what people want. To me this is predictable. It’s a nice piece, and as exemplified in it’s ranking it has popular appeal, but generally I try to stay away from showcasing this stuff as I feel it’s territory that has been well and truly gone over a number of times by others. To the detriment of other areas of New Zealand design which have in my opinion been neglected. 

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36 17 likes Sodastream bottles from the early 1980s

36. SodaStream bottles from a plastic machine that made soft drinks at home. The carbonated bullets and syrups came separately, and no water filters back then – it was filled up straight from the taps. We used to sip the highly sugary cordial straight out of the bottles, which when I think of now is disgusting. Actually, it was disgusting, then, too!

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37 17 likes Maori souvenir doll

37. There were a variety of these souvenir Maori dolls over the years, all slightly differing and often seen in glass china cabinets along with other tacky but sentimental knick-knacks. Now often seen in junk shops and garage sales instead, they still have sentimental appeal but just not in today’s home, apparently.

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38 17 likes Classic Aeroplanes, often seen in the five, ten or twenty cent mixture bag

38. Jet Planes were popularised by Griffin’s, but soon became generic in those little glass dairy compartments along with cent lollies, wine gums and pineapple lumps. Griffin’s was established  in the 1880s  with biscuits, and in 1885 started offering confectionery. It survived several ownership changes through the Nineties and Noughties and is still going strong today.

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39 17 likes BANANA BASKET - Plastic Coated Woven Cane EDIT

39. “Banana Baskets” were around in the 1950s-1960s,  useful to hold a variety of goods for those smaller trips to the corner store, when something like this would suffice. In time they just weren’t in any way big enough to cope with the volume of goods bought for consumption from those new-fangled supermarkets – and were pretty much retired by the 1970s. I think a lot of them ended up as wool baskets. Or hanging in the garage with trowels and seeds in them.

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40 17 likes A variety of steel soft drink and juice cans, of the early 1980s

40. A variety of late 1970s steel cans – Long-running Ballins (established in Auckland prior to 1876, no matter what the official company history says about Christchurch). Like American imports such as Tab, Fresca was one of the early, popular diet drinks that was introduced onto the New Zealand market. Leed we have covered, and Fresh-Up was still a small range of three or four varieties at this time but exploded into quite a large line by the mid 1980s. Hi-C juice, I don’t think lasted very long. 

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41 17 Kaiapoi blanket label

41. The classic Kaiapoi blanket’s label.  Think of all the hours you spent examining them as you tried to fall asleep, or waited for everyone else to wake up. They are pretty much ingrained in all of our memories indelibly.

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42  16 likes The pocket version of Simon was issued in New Zealand by Milton Bradley in 1983.

42. Simon Says was a futuristic (well, it was then) electronic game that was heavily advertised on the box. It was extremely popular for a short time with it’s disco dance floor slash Buck Rogers inspired light-up panels, honks and bleeps. They now sell for a lot in working order. This is an even rarer pocket version. It sold on Trade Me for two or three hundred dollars.

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43 16 LIKES jump suits for the 1974 Commonwealth Games held in New Zealand

43. New Zealand’s snazzy uniform for the  Commonwealth Games held in our country in 1974. I think they got high jump confused with high pants.

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44 16 like Air New Zealand plastic Tiki, a common promo gift to all passengers from circa 1970

44. Ah, the complimentary plastic tiki once gifted to every passenger from Air New Zealand. Once fairly common, these are now kind of collectible. I think this one is from the 1970s.

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45 15 likes Tip-Top's Alf novelty ice cream box front, based on the wildly popular TV series of course.Issued around 1988

45. Was ALF really that popular? For those that don’t know, it was a TV series that ran until  from 1986-1990 about an extraterrestrial creature that crash-lands from space into a suburban family’s garage. This was a period when Tip-Top were releasing fairly sophisticated licensed novelties like Pink Panther and Mickey Mouse, amongst some. Image courtesy of Steve Williams collection.

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46 15 likes The Longest Drink In Town

46. Once handed to you at every takeaway across the land – there has been a  retro revival of this ubiquitous milkshake cup design of the 1970s-1980s  recently – thanks to renewed recognition of it’s cool and unique design. It can now be found on everything from tee shirts to plastic tumbler sets and cushions (and back in a lot of takeaways of course). Image courtesy of  and © Lucinda McConnon on Flickr.  

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47 15 likes Griffin's Sampler biscuit tin, circa late 1970s-early 1980s

47. Griffin’s biscuit samplers – ubiquitous at Christmas with their pink iced wafers and Cameo Cremes through the 1970s and 1980s. This brand  has remained one of the most successful in the country for more than 130 years for their biscuits and also classic confectioneries such as Deck, Minties, Sparkles, Pebbles and Snifters  among some (none of which, amazingly, made it onto the list…and Jaffas just missed out). This tin from the mid-late Eighties.

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48  15 likes Fresh-Up large apple juice and orange tin, late 1970s

48. A bulk size Fresh-Up can of the late 1970s. The drink was introduced in 1961 by the Apple and Pear Marketing board in two varieties of juice to immediate success and remained a popular brand over the decades, branching out into canned fruit, pulps, and pie fillings.

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49 likes A really nice pair of jugs

49. The classic McAlpine jug which was a promotional giveaway in the 1950s with refrigerators of the same name. Now highly collectible, they can sell into the hundreds depending on colour, like this rarer green example. I think the popularity of this image had more to do with the subtitle I gave it – ” showing you my lovely pair of jugs”.

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50  likes  Holdson's Tiddly Winks

50. And finally, the classic Tiddly Winks from Holden – an entertainment staple of every games cupboard  at the batch or for rainy days.

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2014. All rights reserved.

A Sticky Business: Whittaker’s

In Andrew Whittaker, Bournville Cocoa, Brian Whittaker, Cadbury's, Chocolate, confectionery, J. H. Whittaker and Sons, J.H. Whittaker Australia Ltd, James Henry Whittaker, K Bar, Peanut Slab, Rigg & Whittaker, Rowntree's cocoa, Santé bar, toffee, Whittaker's, Whittaker's Confectionery Works on September 24, 2012 at 10.46

Presumably an advertising campaign for the Easter period showing a recent addition: that New Zealand classic hokey pokey, which is more often seen in ice cream, but reconfigured as a chocolate flavour. 

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Whittaker’s is now one of New Zealand’s most popular (and enduring) brands, having been around for over 120 years – if you count it in its most primitive initial form. I love this brand, and enjoy it regularly. There’s so many things about the product that has appeal besides it’s “home-grown” quality, packaging, and advertising.

Giving you the (sticky) finger: the only Whittaker’s advert I’ve ever found. Even then there was a company ethic with focus on local labour and supplies. Evening Post, 1932.

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However the essential one is that Whittaker’s has a truly unique flavour that comes from their personal supervision over the entire process – from beginning to end, or as they have dubbed it – “bean to bar”. It must be one of few brands still make their product on site, Sadly here in Australia, where I currently live, we get a tiny portion of the delicious range – perhaps five or so flavours of the Blocks and bars, three types of Slab, and a couple of the bags of Minis which have been recently launched. No kiwifruit, no biscuit & berry, and definitely no raspberry and white chocolate!

A portion of the block wrapper featuring J.H. Whiittaker. 

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It’s true that their fraction of the Oz market is tiny and by accounts still in the single digits (but slowly growing). So I am not criticising, except to suggest if they had a bigger selection of varieties of their deliciousness on sale, for one I would buy more. I’m rather  expressing my surprise that, although they are now NZ’s second biggest chocolate brand next to Cadbury’s, and have one of the neatest websites around, it’s an understatement to say that they have the usual thin-on-the-ground company yarn in their history section. I mean, minimal is an understatement – it’s almost nonexistent. Once I started looking into it, I found that there’s more back story there that they have skipped over in the happy-go-lucky one they present.

Tin from the Whittaker’s company archive collection, unknown era – presumably 1900s-1910s.

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James Henry Whittaker was born in 1868 in Longsight, Manchester to parents James, who was registered as a tool and model maker , and Annie. His two older sisters Harriet and Mary Ann were born in 1856 and 1858 respectively, as well as his Brother Walter who was born in Levenshulme. There is also mention of the family residing in Chorlton-upon-Medlock at this time so by all accounts they moved around the Manchester city area with regularity.

Classic Peanut Slab (which also now comes in two other versions). – photo courtesy of Viernest on Flickr.

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Following this the family moved again to Macclesfield, West Cheshire, a distance to the south where four more siblings were added; Charles Herbert (1870), Frank (1874) , John Frederick (1878 ), and Harold (1880).
Having picked up and moved again By 1881, we find James working as a jeweller’s errand boy in Warwckshire, Birmingham and family is living at 14 Burbury Street there.

The Exchange Building in Lambton Quay, Wellington, circa 1890s -which housed the home store of Rigg & Whittaker, J.H.’s joint business venture between 1892-1896.

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By 1883, or 1884 at the latest J. H. Whittaker entered the confectionery industry . It is mentioned that he worked for Cadbury’s, and as it happens that company purchased Bournbrook Estate nearby in 1878 and opened a huge Bournville factory to manufacture their cocoa and chocolate products. So we can safely say that sometime between 1884 and the following six years Whittaker worked for them and learned the trade inside out.

Advert for Rigg and Whittaker’s Christchurch store, agents- Press,  June 1892.

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At age 22, he married Leah Alice Hopkins (born 1870), at All Saints Church, Kings Heath, in March of 1890. Sometime soon after this he left Britain for New Zealand, arriving before the end of that year. Records show only one J.H. Whittaker leaving from the Liverpool Port that year. He settled in Christchurch in the South Island and immediately set to work making his own product which he sold door to door by horse and cart.

Brian Whittaker (top) and Andrew Whittaker (bottom) as children, and founder James Henry Whittaker, with portions of block and slab.

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Wasting very little time establishing himself , by 1892 he had entered into an import and agency business with John Rigg in Wellington, (not to be confused with the Hon, John Rigg, the well-known unionist who spent the majority of his life in the printing field. This one probably arrived to the country in the late 1850s and worked as an auctioneer and then later for the Wellington Council as a clerk). They were principal agents for Rowntree’s cocoa and confectionery in New Zealand – as well as Carr’s biscuits , Bottomley And Son confectionery and numerous other groceries and household wares. The former is no surprise given his professional background with the chocolate industry and this endeavour probably set him up well for what was to come both in knowledge of procuring the suppliers he would need, details of import- export regulations, and familiarity with the capital city and potential customers.

Toffee Milks are considered one of the three classics of the Whittaker brand along with Peanut Slabs and K Bars. This is the handsome contemporary version of the point of sale box with 72 units.

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The main business ran out of the Exchange Building on Lambton Quay where they were also agents for the Bank of New Zealand. their storehouses are described as ” always well stocked”. John Rigg’s Auckland business remained under his name and they established two more businesses – in Dunedin and Christchurch. Rigg & Whittaker were still a partnership in 1894, as exemplified by an advertisement for their business selling empty tin lined cases and casks on the cheap. I am assuming that these were probably the containers left over from there imported cocoa. “The rapid and complete manner in which the manufactures of the above named firms have been placed on the New Zealand market is not only sufficient comment on the ability and energy of these gentlemen, but proves that there is a market in this Colony for a really high class article, which they supply”. High class supply, superior standard product, was to become a theme of J.H. Whittaker’s business endeavours.

The Whittaker’s Confectionery Works staff in Wellington, 1930.

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John Rigg continued on in this business well into the 1920s solo, with a record of 1922 showing him importing perfumes from Europe. However sometime during 1896, Whittaker, residing in Wellington at least temporarily – had parted ways with Rigg and established Whittaker’s Confectionery.

A Kiwiana classic: top side of the Peanut Slab, synonymous with school tuck shops of the 1970s-1980s. Photo courtesy of Molly D from Dark Chocolate Diary. 

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In 1897 he seems to be back in Christchurch with the business there, so there’s a possibility that he took the Lichfield Street branch of the business with him in the deal when he and Rigg parted ways. So with the distributing manufactory in Wellington up and running, he also ran the business in Christchurch for the next 16 years, listed as being at Lincoln Road, Addington (1904).
The earliest definite records I can find of Whittaker branded product is caramel toffee, and mint toffee in the 1910s. Recently, a printed earthenware jar surfaced showing that at least in the early days of the company – they were also producing a jam line. Pretty typical for many confectioners to have a number of preserves and sauces in the early days; it just went hand in hand with the cooking processes. The jars which are known to come in two sizes, 14.5cm and 9.5cm respectively, are extremely hard to find with less than ten known to exist, so likely it was produced in small quantities – hence the scarceness of this item. Emblazoned with “Whittaker Brothers“, it turns out that two of his siblings  worked in the confectionery and importation  business with him under that name (but were not financially involved in the enterprise). One source says Walter and Charles  – but it’s likely that it was  actually Charles and Harold –  as their names appear on electoral records for the 1905-1906 years in Christchurch alongside Henry James’s. At the same time a Walter Whittaker appears in Canterbury. I was unable to find definite shipping records for any of the three to confirm what year they may have followed James Henry over to New Zealand- but they probably all came over separately and some time between 1900 and 1905.

These barley sugar tins crop up at auction every two or three years, so still quite hard to get. A similar  tin was also made for Glucose Butterscotch. I’m guessing 1950s.

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Over the first 20 years of their marriage James and his wife had a total of nine children; five boys and four girls, including twins . However it was in 1913, that he established a partnership with two of his sons, Ronald Tawhio Whittaker (1893), and James Whittaker (1894).A  curious consideration here is their age – they weren’t exactly experienced – the oldest not being more than twenty.

The modern K Bar point of sale box still has a classic design and  holds 48 units.

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This is where things get interesting because during the same period, I found that James Whittaker filed for bankruptcy . This was the same year that he had formed J.H. Whittaker & Sons in Wellington with his offspring – this is the Whittaker’s we know and enjoy today. These apparent financial woes occurred when he had now been in the confectionery business in Aotearoa in some form or another for over 22 years.

Doing classic well: Another view of the modern K Bar point of sale box. 

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I had to wonder, was this a coincidence, or whether this was deliberately orchestrated? This is the reason for my curiosity. In his sworn statement at the Supreme Court hearing of his case, he explains that his business in Christchurch had been troubled for more than five years, and one of the reasons he provided for the cashflow problem was that because business was bad – he had to pay more costs for promotion and travellers (agent salesmen) “in the north (island)”.

The design and wrappers have not essentially changed since the 1970s.

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Yet he had deliberately infiltrated the North Island and created an enterprise which became the base for the others (there’s a possibility that he may have had more shops than just the one in Christchurch). He had funneled money into another business and it had affected his available resources and viability. It was by no means a sudden event. I was able to find the 1908 act  under which he was adjudicated, Apparently it seems that filing for bankruptcy did not affect a partnership since he was filing bankruptcy for his Christchurch business, which was not a partnership. Neither of the sons filed for bankruptcy…in fact one of the sons in the Wellington partnership was listed as a creditor. I’d take a guess the whole thing was part of a long-term plan and also just happened to serve the dual purpose in neatly extracting him from a (possibly calculated) financial fix and thus nicely moving things along in the desired direction. No longer responsible for paying the salary for his two partners under Whittaker Brothers, he apparently moved the remainder of his family to Wellington to focus on Whittaker & Sons and his siblings remained in the Canterbury area for the rest of their lives.

The extremely rare Whittaker’s jam jar.  Only about ten intact examples are known. “Brothers” indicates it dates between 1900-1913. Jam historian Peter L. Henson says – “like jam maker Robert Furness of Auckland, these pots were probably imported from C.T. Maling of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Maling captured the market for the production of white pottery with transfer-printed trade labels and was a leader in domestic white ware, being responsible for supplying 90% of the jars for jam makers in England and Scotland, together with exports.”  Photo courtesy of Steve Costello.

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The Whittaker Confectionery Works was situated at Cornhill Street between at least 1913-1916 when they advertise variously for “a capable young woman, good organiser…boy for warehouse…girls for wrapping… experienced sugar boiler”. At this time Whittaker’s acted as agent for Lipton’s Tea and also for Epps’s cocoa, boxed chocolates and custard powder.
By June of 1917 the works had moved to 167-169 Vivian Street and records show that’s where it stayed until at least 1945. What happened after that date is unknown at present, since records after that date are limited.

Whittaker’s issued only five hundred units of this chocolate block featuring navigation buttons from the website. Pieces of the bar were broken up and actually used for the design of their on-line presence. 

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The Whittaker company’s rising fortune meant a move back to “the big smoke ” and that’s where J. H. Whittaker was again by at least 1927, which finds him involved in various organisations such as the City Ambulance Board, the Brooklyn School Committee, the Wellington Civic League Council , and the Birmingham and Midland Counties Association of which the last two he was president. Now in his late fifties he was nearing retirement age and seemed to settle in the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn with his wife for good; first at 40 McKinley Crescent by 1935 and then two years later at Todman St. Also in 1937 the business became a limited liability company (a flexible form of enterprise that blends elements of partnership and corporate structures). Founder J. H. Whittaker died 1947 and his wife Leah a few years later in 1954.

As well as their own confectionery business, Whittaker’s acted as agents for Epps’s and Lipton’s.

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Known products of the 1930s were chocolates, glucose barley sugar, liquorice toffee allsorts, and Mello-O-Mints. Toffee was a big thing for them even back in those days – and varieties included super cream, super nut, chocolate , rhum (sp) and butter, malt and milk, and “toffee selections” – a mix of nine varieties. What their chocolate products were specifically at the time – I don’t know as I have never seen any packaging or ads, in fact vintage Whittaker’s is extremely rare.

Whittaker’s factory in Porirua showing the very smart pod extension (below) designed by Craig, Craig, Moller / Tony Johnston – Architects. Constructed by Turnat Commercial while full production carried on unimpeded.

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It was not all fun and games working in a confectionery factory though; far from it. In 1938 Miss D. Pritchard suffered severe lacerations when she caught her hands in a chocolate machine., and in 1943 Miss C Incledon lost three fingers in a toffee rolling machine. They seemed to be constantly advertising for staff over time, if only replacing digits was that easy.

The 1960s saw fruit mixed toffees, Koff Caramel, and Karamel Bars. Santé probably came along much earlier in the piece but Whittaker weren’t the instigators by a long shot – it was almost generic being produced by Fry’s , Hudson’s, Masson’s, Griffin’s for the Sweetacres line, and Beatall at various times from the 1860s onwards. However in time, Whittaker’s made them a brand name associated with their company alone.

Three flavours of Santé – photo courtesy of Marib on Flickr.

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The Gen-Xer heyday, my time, was the 1970s to 80s and consuming what are now considered the classics: Toffee Milks, those old “tooth pullers” K Bars (orange, lemon, lime, raspberry, pineapple, blackberry fruit toffee) and Peanut Slabs. Say the words “tuck shop” to anyone of that era and their mind will likely go to these three, now iconic, products. I did have pictures of a classic 1970s Toffee Milk box as well as a vintage cast iron Santé  mould, but seem to have misplaced the pictures – which is unfortunate as any images of vintage Whittaker’s are far and few between – and they would have been great to illustrate this article.

An ad for an upcoming release that is getting hype and salivation at present. No word on what date it will be in store yet.

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Products of the nineties that disappeared along the way were Nut Block, Peanut Block, Peanut Hunks, and Sport. In 1992 the company made the beginnings of a trans-Tasman play when they formed J.H. Whittaker Australia Ltd. , making it one of a handful (Four Square, “K” Brand, Aulsebrook’s, Sharpe Bros and Glaxo naming a few) that have successfully established themselves over the ditch.

Bittersweet Peanut Slab, photo courtesy of Moira Clunie from An Auckland Vegan blog.

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In July 2011 Whittaker’s launched their impressive completely themed website by Wellington digital design agency Salted Herring, with the by-line that it was “the world’s first made entirely of chocolate” (not really, well – kind of) and launched a matching limited edition block which was comprised of the website interface elements made in real chocolate. Once the mould had been created, the dark Ghana navigation buttons were photographed and uploaded to become part of the design.

Whittaker’s Chocolate Works Fargo delivery truck 1938, courtesy of the Porirua Historical Society.

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Today James Henry Whittaker’s grandsons Andrew and Brian manage the company, with a focus on “fairness” – fair trade supplies and local employment opportunities, an idea that they were advertising back in the 1930s. The range is extensive . It comprises of all the classics I remember fondly from my youth as well as chunks, squares, bars, Slabs in eleven flavours, Santé in four flavours, Santé three packs, Slab bars in four pieces including new hokey pokey, Slab three packs, Mini-slab bags in nine flavours. There are around twenty five different varieties of blocks including an upcoming peanut butter version, as well as a brand new white raspberry flavour in store within the next few weeks.

Tin from the Whittaker’s company archive collection, unknown era – presumably 1930s.

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Whittaker’s is still made entirely domestically from beginning to end today, at their Porirua factory. In 2009 Whittaker’s was the third most trusted brand in NZ according to a Reader’s Digest survey, and by this year topped the list as most trusted brand ahead of Wattie’s and Cadbury’s. It even beat out St John’s Ambulances. Maybe chocolate is the real life saver after all.

Whittaker’s had a, now collectible, official stamp created by company Black Sheep in 2001.

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Addendum, late November 2012: The Whittaker’s company recently released some new images of vintage packaging from company archives. It gives a more complete vision of what, as it turns out, were the lids of two canisters  that I previously posted above. I thought they were flat tins, sort of like the barley sugar one – very similar to the type of flat container that tobacco was sold in. As it turns out, they were far more substantial. I presume the “boys And Girls” graphic is a POS or a section from a peanut slab box – that’s what it looks like in the character’s hand. 


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