Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

Happy Returns

In Birthday, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Cake decorations, Cakes, Caxton Printing Works Ltd, Celebration, Children's parties, Cookie Bear, Elsa Ruth Nast, Krinkle crepe paper, McKenzies stores, N.Z. Co-Op Rennet Co Ltd, Party, Party favours, Peter McIntyre Jr., Peter McIntyre Sr., Renco Birthday junket, Renco junket, Woolworth's stores, Woolworths on April 6, 2014 at 10.46

1 Krinkle Crepe Paper Wrapper 1 - Caxton Printing - 1970s - front copy

Who knows how long this Krinkle packaging design was around? Not as long as it looks I think; I guess it was issued in the early 1960s. It remained in use until well into the 1970s when they finally realised that nobody was dressing like Pollyanna any more. Note the price sticker from Woolworths stores proving it’s post 1967 for sure, but would have been purchased some time after 1972.


2 Krinkle Crepe Paper Wrapper 2 - Caxton Printing - 1970s - front edit copy

The “updated” version of the packaging design, probably mid-late 1970s, didn’t look much more modern. Note the price sticker from McKenzie’s department stores. The chain was sold to L D Nathan & Co, Ltd, who subsumed it into the Woolworths brand, around 1979 so it dates from that year or earlier.


This recent acquisition of Krinkle crepe paper wrappers is something I’ve been aiming to get hold of for ages. I’ve always liked them because the graphics were so old-fashioned; and even when they updated the classic version sometime in the 1970s – the replacement still looked twenty years out of date! However it brings back real childhood memories for me in the way that Jay Tee patty pans and associated ephemera do; you knew when the Krinkle came out of the cupboard that something good was in the offing – whether that was a school fete, Halloween, Christmas celebrations or most of all – a birthday party. 2b Boy blowing out candles on birthday cake 1964 Swainson-Woods Collection edit copy

A boy blowing out candles on a birthday cake, by Bernard Woods Studio, October 1964. Swainson-Woods Collection, image courtesy of Puke Ariki and District Libraries collection.


2c Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast 0 Little Golden Books 1973 (5)

A plate from “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast, Little Golden Books, published 1973.


I closely associate Krinkle with one of my favourite books as a toddler – “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast – published as part of the Little Golden Books series in 1973 (yet, again, looking twenty years out of date at the time. This antipodean “backdraught” issue has been an ongoing theme of my postings). 3a Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast 0 Little Golden Books 1973 edit copy

The original cover design from “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast, Little Golden Books, published 1973.


3b1 Essential birthday cuisine Auckland War Memorial Museum edit copy

Essential Kiwi children’s birthday “cuisine”, from a display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Image courtesy of and © Robyn Gallagher on Flickr


I was obsessed with the invitations, the candy baskets, and the pieces of coloured pink and green paper ruled so you could cut it up and follow the instructions to make the decorations straight out of the book. I don’t know if I actually ever cut my copy up, though. I think I loved it too much to do that! 3b Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast Little Golden Books 1973 edit (26)

A plate from “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast, Little Golden Books, published 1973.


3c Woman's Weekly Feb 12 1962 - BIRTHDAY RENCO edit copy

Birthday Renco advert from the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, February 1962.


Krinkle was made by Caxton, a major printing company founded by Peter McIntyre Sr. – an extraordinary commercial artist who did some spectacularly beautiful and elaborate images for a number of clients himself such as Tiger Tea. His son, Peter McIntyre , Jr. was also exceptionally talented; being the internationally renowned war and landscape artist who produced a number of best-selling coffee table books many would be familiar with. 3c1 Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast 0 Little Golden Books 1973 crop

Loose endpaper illustration from “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast, Little Golden Books, published 1973.


  4 Cookie Bear Birthday Card 1975 - Cadbury Schweppes Hudson - Owain Morris edit

 Cookie Bear birthday card, for Hudson’s biscuits, issued for 1975 by Cadbury Schweppes Hudson. Image courtesy of Owain Morris collection.


So yes, Krinkle makes this post a good excuse for a general birthday theme. Paper hats, crackers, streamers, blowouts and balloons abounded. Brands of cake candles were Kiddies, Dawn and Elfin (there were others that were popular – I can’t remember the names). Crepe paper brands were Fashion by Harley, Dennison, Pierrot, and Sylkette. There were a few more over the years. I actually had quite a large collection of cake toppers and decorations at one point, as well as party decorations, toys and favours- a lot of them still looked really old-fashioned at that time and I’d go to cake shops and buy them just to put on the shelf. 6a Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast - Little Golden Books 1973 candy baskets 1 further edit copy

Above and below: Party candy cups  from “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast, Little Golden Books, published 1973.


  6b Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast - Little Golden Books 1973 candy baskets 3 copy

Apart from all kinds of favours and games, the food was the main feature and included classic children’s party fare like little boys with Kiwi gravy (also known as saveloys with tomato sauce), chocolate crackles, sausage rolls, iced cupcakes or cream fairy cakes, asparagus spears rolled into buttered white bread.

6c1 Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast - Little Golden Books 1973 make candy baskets write invites copy

A plate from “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast, Little Golden Books, published 1973, showing how to make invitations and candy cups.


  6c2 Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast - Little Golden Books 1973 paper chains

A plate from “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast, Little Golden Books, published 1973, showing how to make party decorations.


Lamingtons, potato chippies with sour cream & chive or seafood flavour dip, fairy bread sprinkled with hundreds and thousands, cubes of cheese and pineapple threaded onto toothpicks and stuck in cabbages decorated with edible faces, all washed down with Leed, Fanta and other drinks from the Coca Cola Co, or perhaps Jucy raspberry, pineapple and creaming soda. 6c3 Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast - Little Golden Books 1973 invites copy

Invitation designs  from “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast, Little Golden Books, published 1973.


6c41 Renco birthday edit 1 copy

Birthday Renco boxes, and bottles still labelled and with original contents. They probably date from the late 1950s-early 1960s.


The quite un-celebratory sounding but brightly packaged Birthday Renco, which I’ve featured some images of here, was a little before my time. It was made by the N.Z. Co-Op Rennet Co Ltd., known more commonly for their junket – and they also made cheese under brands like Pixie. Nevertheless this product was around for four decades in six flavours – orange, lemon, vanilla, raspberry, passionfruit, and greengage. It was launched in the 1930s and around until the 1960s that I know of. 6c41a McKenzies Stores - party decorations - Evening Post10 June 1937 Page 6 edit more copy

 Advert for party novelties range from McKenzies Stores, Evening Post, June 1937. 


7 darian third birthday 1974 copy

Me with my Jack In The Box cake for my third birthday.


Personally, birthdays were a bittersweet time for me – I had a couple of duds .On my seventh birthday, I was allowed a rare treat – a “bought lunch” at school. We were usually allowed this once a year (or maybe twice if there was some kind of cataclysmic family event). 8 Darian 5th birthday 1976 under deck 42 Seymour Road Sunnyvale edit (1)

My fifth birthday party with my sister’s panda cake in the foreground. I remember helping to make the streamers and hats out of Krinkle crepe paper and milk bottle caps with my Mum.


8a betty-crocker-castle-cake The Betty Crocker's Boys and Girls Cookbook

A castle cake from “The Betty Crocker’s Cookbook For Boys and Girls”, published around 1965. This is remarkably similar to the one I got for my fourth birthday.


I dropped the boiling hot Big Ben pie on my leg causing a nasty burn that blew up into a huge blister, and spent my birthday party in agony, and too miserable to enjoy the number of Lego sets I received as gifts. While I sulked, all the other guests enjoyed my treasure chest cake. 9 Woman's Weekly Jan 1 1962 - BIRTHDAY RENCO edit copy

Birthday Renco advert from the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, January 1962.


10 Renco birthday four closeups copy

Birthday Renco boxes, and bottles still labelled and with original contents. They probably date from the late 1950s-early 1960s.


So as a consequence they haven’t ever really held a special place going forth; more than anything else it was always more about the cake for me. And my mum was a great theme cake maker. You never said “this year, I want…” – she decided what cake she was making for you and that was that. The first one I remember she made me, was a Jack In The Box cake pebbled with lollies; the Jack made completely from icing.

11 Happy Birthday by Elsa Ruth Nast 0 Little Golden Books 1973 (23)

A plate from “Happy Birthday” by Elsa Ruth Nast, Little Golden Books, published 1973.


12 Woolworths NZ Ltd 1960's-1970's Bon Bons Christmas Cracker Box edit copy

Box for self line party crackers from Woolworths stores, I’m estimating these date from the early 1970s.


There was a semi-circular rainbow iced in seven different colours, and then the above-mentioned chocolate treasure chest, open and filled with candy. It was downhill from there. 13 Boy's birthday party, 1964 edi lighter copy

A boy’s birthday party, by Bernard Woods Studio, October 1964. Swainson-Woods Collection, image courtesy of Puke Ariki and District Libraries collection.


14 birthday cake plastic toppers crop

These candle holders were fairly common – you’ll notice them in use on my sister’s panda cake in the image of my fifth birthday party above.


For my fourth I memorably got a grand castle cake – with green coconut grass, marshmallow brickwork, and the towers topped with iced waffle cones. My sister went missing during the party and was finally found upstairs on a stepladder in the kitchen where she had eaten most of the turrets off it. I was devastated and inconsolable! She essentially upstaged me on my special day (this sibling rivalry on her behalf was to be, like so many have probably experienced, an ongoing theme). So for the next birthday I got a cake and my sister got one as well – a panda which was bigger than mine – so she wouldn’t get jealous and ruin my cake again. So effectively she managed to turn my special day into hers. It was a sign of things to come. These days I prefer to completely ignore my birthday – it’s just easier!
a 15 Krinkle Crepe Paper Wrapper 1 - Caxton Printing - 1970s - both backs copy

The back of both Krinkle crepe paper wrappers: Late 1970s design on the left, early 1960s design on the right. Note the large range of forty different colours with evocative names, which was later much reduced.

1970s birthday party Image courtesy of Stuart Broughton (

 Snapshot of a typical 1970s birthday party. Image  courtesy of Stuart Broughton.


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


Edmonds: Taking The Cake

In Acto baking powder, Allen and Sons, Allen's confectionery, Architecture, Baking, Bird's custard, Biscuits, Borwick's baking powder, Cakes, Classics, Custard, Desserts, Edmonds, Fielder's Cornflour, Goodman Fielder, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, John Thomas Edmonds, Moa baking powder, Philanthropy, Sharland and Co, Sure To Rise Cookbook on January 31, 2012 at 10.46

I suppose that eventually I had to get around to doing a post on Edmonds. I mean, it’s so obvious a brand that I almost don’t know where to start -when I look at my collection of images I literally have over 150 advertisements, tins, boxes, and cookbook pages to choose from to illustrate an article. No doubt I’ll do at least another three posts over time on Edmonds in different categories given the volume of material I have.
Even though I’ve always been in love with the Edmond’s baking powder package design (which has changed very little from inception, that’s a big part of its charm) I’ve been putting it off .

A chemist, Ron, who worked at the Edmonds factory remembers these “Slip over” labels being glued on thousands of cans which were left overnight on long tables to dry. He kept one and donated it to Kete Christchurch. Later they were made redundant as the design was printed straight on the metal (previous picture, can probably dates from late 1960s- mid 1970s, and is from my personal collection).


This is because it  always seems almost pointless given that when people think of Kiwiana -the images that come to mind are the ubiquitous Buzzy Bees, Pavlova, Jandals, Ches and Dale, Kiwifruits, gum boots,  fish and chips,  and more often than not Edmonds baking powder is chucked in –  so well-known is it as one of  New Zealand’s most popular and enduring Brands.  In fact at one time Edmonds were so aware of this that they were even using the slogan “part of New Zealand’s heritage” on the packaging.

“Kiwiana” stamp set issued by New Zealand Post in 2008.


It’s even been featured as a stamp design more or less intended to be recognised by the font alone – just by the letter E. But I guess my modus operandi has from the outset been to cover the obvious as well as the obscure. So here we go.

Back is inscribed”Thomas Edward Edmonds selling baking powder door to door”. I am assuming this is a simple error with the middle name. Kete Christchurch. Probably the early 1880s.


Thomas John Edmonds (1858-1932), was born in Poplar, a suburb of London, and had the  previous background of having worked for Allen’s,  the well-known confectionery company which like Edmonds  has stood the test of time and is still going today.
He arrived in Lyttleton, Canterbury on the sailing ship Waitangi as a twenty year old  in 1879 having just married his wife Jane . He didn’t waste any time and immediately  established a grocery business in Woolston, Christchurch  (the site is now the south-west comer of what is now Edmond and Randolph Streets ) where he began by manufacturing sherbet.

Edmonds advertisement, Evening Post  8 March 1937.


It wasn’t long before he was carefully listening to the complaints about other products on the market such as the unreliability of the available baking powder brands (it was first invented by chemist Alfred Bird of Bird’s Custard fame in 1843 from a mix of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and cornstarch for his yeast-allergic wife).

Edmonds advertisement, Colonist, 9 November 1910.


Looking around for ideas to boost business, and thinking he could most likely do better, he started experimenting out the back of his shop to create a superior product to others that were on the market – amongst them Borwick’s, Hudson’s , Hudson’s Balloon Brand, as well as Sharland and Co’s Moa and self-named brands ( Surely it couldn’t have been any worse than what was on offer from Sharland here in my favourite story by Lisa Truttman at Timespanner – ” A jam roll death in Freeman’s Bay”  http://tinyurl.com/6pta9xt ).


A rare bulk Edmonds baking powder tin. I’ve never seen another.


Edmonds advert circa 1907, Printed Ephemera Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library (Ref: Eph-A-VARIETY-1907-01-centre]


It wasn’t long before he presented his own product with the first 200 tins going on sale before the year was out. The story goes that upon being questioned whether his powder would be as good for the job he confidently (and probably a little tartly, the way I imagine it) replied “Madam, it is SURE to rise”, and thus gave birth to an instantly recognisable slogan and subsequent “sunray” trademark which has been in use now for more than 130 years.

Tea Ohou Journal, Spring 1953, National Library NZ.


He was a man of astuteness when it came to marketing techniques; and full of innovative ideas. Initially he tackled the low demand for his product by going door-to-door with sample-size tins to spruik his product and offering to take back any that were not met with satisfaction.
Next he offered a free cookbook to any housewife that wrote in asking for a copy. The famous Edmonds  cookery book was first issued in 1907. It started life as the “Sure To Rise Cookery Book” , with only fifty pages of recipes. Only two known copies of the first edition survive making it a very rare item.

Egg powder made an apparently brief appearance in the scheme of things, in comparison to other Edmonds products – lasting only between the 1880s and 1910s. Courtesy of the NZ Electronic Text Centre.


As of 2008, with a 60th  edition issued, it has been in print for over 100 years.  At one time it was “sent unsolicited to every newly engaged couple in New Zealand” whose commitment appeared in print. A little presumptuous and risky –  but ultimately good publicity I guess,  as it has now sold well over three million copies and is the country’s bestselling book  of all time. Full of no-fail recipes for everything  from chocolate fudge to bacon and egg pie, It’s now apparently considered a sort of Kiwi rite of passage  to receive a copy from your mother when you first leave home.

The Guthrie-designed building of 1922 which has become an iconic image.


Small printed metal Acto tin, probably mid 1960s.


Eventually with his clever strategies to publicise the product, demand grew to the point that by 1912 he was moving one million cans a year, and by 1928 – two and a half million.
During the depression years he was the first to introduce a forty hour,  five day week to his workers, changing the face of employment in New Zealand irrevocably. He even helped his workers with their mortgages.

Tinted powder seems to have been a somewhat superfluous Edmonds product in the late 1940s-early 1950s, hence didn’t have a robust lifespan.


In the early 1890s he was becoming fairly established and built a large wooden shed for manufacturing in Ferry Road, not that far away from the original grocery shop. In 1922 Edmonds  replaced this building with his landmark Guthrie brothers-designed  “Sure to Rise” factory and expressed his great interest in botany with its elaborate circular gardens; hothouses on the grounds were filled with imported tropical plants were open to the public and employees alike for their enjoyment. Always at the forefront of cutting edge ideas, Edmonds prescribed to the early 20th century European “Garden City Movement” of which the main concept was that “factory owners should provide recreation facilities for their workers, and beautify the surroundings of their factories”

Large printed metal tin which probably dates from the mid-late 1960s, from my personal collection. This design was also on a cardboard box, and was still in use when I was a child in the early 1970s.


The iconic building is the one that has been featured on the covers of the cookbooks ever since. In what is considered quite a controversial and rather stupid move, it was demolished in 1990 and the gardens destroyed . So much for “part of New Zealand’s heritage”. The land to the west was bought by the Christchurch City Council the following year and Bluebird Foods Ltd donated the money required for a recreation of the gardens in 1992 – again an attraction.

The former 1929 Band Rotunda is now a restaurant honouring Edmonds’ name.

The couple were great philanthropists and the Edmonds family substantially funded or donated many landmarks in Christchurch city including parks, the Theosophical Society building in Cambridge Terrace, the Radiant Hall (now the Repertory Theatre) in Kilmore Street, and for the fifty year anniversary of their arrival they donated the Band Rotunda (now the Thomas Edmonds Restaurant) in Cambridge Terrace, the clock tower and telephone cabinet in Oxford Terrace – amongst others.

A cake baking powder tin that probably dates from the late 1950s-early 1960s. (I’m not sure what differentiates this product from Acto or the regular Edmond’s product).


Edmonds maize cornflour ad, Tea Ohou Journal, Spring 1954, National Library NZ.


Fielder’s  cornflour box from my personal collection, late 1980s-early 1990s


Apart from the perpetual baking powder product range (Edmonds , Sure To Rise, Acto , Cake Baking Powder, and briefly coloured Cake Baking Powder in the late 1940s), Edmonds have also produced custard powder (“Sure To Please”) since at least 1907 in several varieties from raspberry to banana cream, as well as being famous for their jelly in many flavours. Fielder’s Cornflour, Edmonds maize cornflour and wheat cornflour have been a range staple for many decades. The 1960s and 1970s saw instant drinks and desserts like Tang and Jiffy Jel added to the brands’ products, along with the Prima pasta range, Coat’n’Cook for baking and frying, cake and pastry mixes, and instant meals like boxed risotto.

Edmond’s Jelly box, early 1970s.  Photo courtesy of  courtesy of Mike Davidson (Kiwigame on Flickr) . Below baking powder tin dates from the early 1950s, Object number CT78.283, photo from the collection of Owaka Museum Wahi Kahuika The Meeting Place “a rest on your journey”.


Today the brand is a division of  Goodman Fielder Ltd and the company currently produces nearly 60 products from dressings to bread baking mix.

Thomas John Edmonds is now considered one of New Zealand’s top 100 most influential people of all time, all because of a couple of dud cakes.



Addendum early January 2013:

thoms edmonds band rotunda destroyed By shelby-dog flickr EDIT

Unfortunately the Thomas Edmonds Rotunda was badly damaged in the Christchurch quakes and is set to be demolished, if it hasn’t already been done. The ruins are at the least fenced off but it doesn’t look like there is any hope of saving it at all. The above photo shows the wreckage of this lovely example of public architecture – almost  like it has been sheared off with a gigantic knife. Image courtesy of and © all rights reserved by shelby-dog on Flickr.


Edmonds 1st edition 2nd printing mith & anthony 1909 2 EDIT

A 1st edition, 2nd printing published by Mith & Anthony in 1909 turned up for sale on Trade Me in December. Bidding was extremely fierce for this very rare item and it went for around the $750.00 mark. The following week a 2nd edition, 2nd printing went for around $450.00. In five years these are the only ones I have seen for sale publicly.



All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2012. All rights reserved.


Maid Me Look

In Biscuits, Buttermaid, Cakes, confectionery, Dustins Ltd, Frozen Foods, Ice Cream, Pastry, Southern Cross Biscuits on October 9, 2011 at 10.46

I have to admit that I at first dismissed the Buttermaid Cake ads I found as likely being irrelevant to the story I posted on previously in March 2011:


I immediately decided that it was unlikely a bakery from the 1920s had any relation. It wasn’t until I really examined all of them I found that the company, Dustins Ltd., was also manufacturing “Famos Pies”, almond icing, and puff pastry, ready to bake – surely what must be one of the earlier non-canned New Zealand convenience products (although since writing this weeks ago, I have found an advertisement for chilled readymade pastry for sale in the 1890s).

Buttermaid Cakes, Evening Post , November 1928 

So this is effectively part two of the Buttermaid pastry story.

Paraphrasing the Wanganui Herald’s article “Banquet in New Rooms” of 13 May 1909 : “In 1896 Mr Dustin started biscuit baking, and that business grew so much that he had to turn it into a company. Then Mr Dustin entered the catering business, and progressed so rapidly that he had to extend his buildings”.

Buttermaid Cake coupon, Evening Post, October 1927 

Indeed he did – opening quite glamorous tearooms painted with murals selling their cakes, pies and confections in 1909 (a newspaper feature goes into great detail about the stencilling and harmonic shades of sage, salmon and de nil). Two large floors offered  morning and afternoon teas, and dinners –  four courses for a shilling.

Advertisement for the newly opened restaurant and tearooms, demonstrating the fare on offer, Wanganui Herald, July 1909

Interior of  William S Dustins tearooms, Wanganui, 1909. Photograph taken by Frank J Denton, National Library of NZ Collection 

As well as a second bakery he owned named “Devon” at the same time, from 1903 Dustins American Saloon in Victoria Street offered milkshakes, ices, cream drinks and sodas. By 1914 their mini-empire also included “their Regent Rooms higher up The Avenue, where wines may be purchased in draught, in single bottles, or in case lots”.

“Employees outside the confectionery shop of W. S. Dustin Wanganui 1909”.  F. J. Denton Collection , Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and pictorial.

“Interior of the confectionery shop of W. S. Dustin Wanganui 1909”I got out my magnifying glass and was able to spot the following products for sale: Cadbury Chocolate, Kirkpatrick’s “K ” canned plum pudding, Aulsebrook’s chocolates, Huntley & Palmer biscuits, KOPS ale & stout, Tucker’s chocolate and toffee, Fry’s Chocolate,  American Baloon (sic) soda drinks. Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and pictorial collection.

As well as a confectioner, bread maker , biscuit baker and agent for various products from malt to honey, W.S. Dustin also catered for races,  A&P shows, as well as hosting concerts, wedding parties and balls in the tearooms. In 1899 he was referring to himself as “premier caterer” (eventually he catered for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York in 1927, who were later to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth  but by 1909, the year his restaurant and tearooms enterprise opened, Dustin’s Ltd were already appointed as bakers to His Excellency the Governor).

Dustins“American Saloon” ,Wanganui Herald,November 1903

He may have started baking biscuits per se in 1896, but when he arrived in Wanganui in 1879, straight off the “Geraldine Paget” -on which the skills he learned in Plymouth and Devon were put to use as ship pastry cook – he first opened business in Guyton street with an output of just 25 loaves of bread a day, distributing by hand basket delivery. From there he gradually developed his trade until  he removed to Wicksteed Street, and his tally recorded a daily delivery of 1500 loaves In 1896. By the late 1890s he was the largest bread and confectionery business for many miles around.

Southern Cross Biscuit Company sack – besides biscuits, confectionery, pastry, pies and breads the factory also produced flour.

The biscuit baking branch launched with immediate success and resulted in the formation of the Southern Cross Biscuit Factory in 1902. It went from strength to strength and within two years was baking ten types of bread, 3500 plus units a day, as well as sweets, and of course cookies. By 1907 they had purchased machinery and had branched out into manufacturing their own iced confections for sale – however I found reference to W.S. Dustin in Wanganui offering ice cream in an ad as early as 1891.

Chocolates and Petit Fours at Dustins, by Berry and Co, circa 1920. Glass plate negative, courtesy of Te Papa Collection.

Another factor in the strategic expansion of the firm was the increase of Dustin’s family – eventually to number eight children – which had compelled him to plan for the future and “give them an interest in the business, and the result was Dustins, Ltd., of Wanganui and Palmerston North.” (apart from his eldest, it seems most of them turned out to be far more interested in playing sports, as numerous photos in archives attest).

WWI  soldiers  outside Dustin’s home cookery shop, Main Street West. Courtesy of Manuwatu Memory online, Palmerston North City Library.

Such was the popularity of their product that by the 1920s Buttermaid products had spread from Wanganui throughout the lower half of the North Island under expansion of eldest son David Ernest Dustin, with many agent stores carrying their line – and several stand-alone stores (I can count at least ten) including two in Cuba Street and another in Lambton Quay. Throughout the late 1920s Dustins advertised Buttermaid stores heavily as well as seeking agents to spread their goods far and wide.

Another branch of the Dustin Bakery: Mrs Claude Dustin and Betty Fryer in doorway, 1930s. Claude must have been a grandson of W.S., since Claude his son was killed in action in 1915. Courtesy of the Foxton Historical Society Collection.

By the time he died in 1927, “W.S.”, as he was affectionately known, had become a prominent and respected member of the community associated with bringing progress and prosperity to the general area. As such he had clout in several organisations; he sat on public boards, judged competitions, and became renowned -not only as a keen and talented sportsman himself -for his philanthropic endeavours in that area.  He sponsored the Dustin Shield (rugby), Dustin Fours (rowing) and the Dustin Cup (softball, shooting). He also  accompanied the All Blacks on their first tour – as well as one in 1924 not long before his demise.

Part of a  panorama showing the corner where Broadway meets The Square in central Palmerston North, 1923. Dustins can be see to the right of the chemist store. Courtesy of Manuwatu Memory Online, Palmerston North City Library.

One of the two Cuba Street, Wellington Dustins stores can be seen with the sign showing above the group of people in the centre of the road. Courtesy of  Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 35-R2267.

In July 1930 Dustins Ltd. publicly announced that one of the Cuba Street shops (it denotes singular in the article, mentioning 181 on that street in particular) and the Buttermaid brand had been sold and was henceforth to be known as White’s. What happened between the early 1930s and the early 1950s, by which time General Foods had acquired and trademarked the brand and made Buttermaid frozen pastry one of the more popular purchases in frozen foods for some time- I don’t yet know. Although there’s an absolute wealth of information on Dustins over time (which is rare for the type of subjects I cover), White’s seems to disappear from the records as soon as they took over.

Hopefully that piece of the Buttermaid story will be uncovered in due course. As for the Southern Cross Biscuit Company, which is a saga worthy of its own post – it lived on until the Dustin Family offloaded it to Griffin’s in 1959 where it was “disappeared” by effective corporate osmosis. After all as one of the eight largest New Zealand concerns of the time, it was not viewed as a brand, so much as just a share of the market.

In My Cups

In baking nostalgia, Biscuits, Cakes, Desserts, Jaytee Patty Pans, McMeeking Ltd, vintage kitchen on March 12, 2011 at 10.46

I bought a Jaytee Patty Pans box a while ago and it just arrived yesterday. So many great kitchen memories. I think kids obsess on baking cups because it means one of several things; and they’re all good (debatable), sugary things! well that is just an assumption to explain my fixation, anyway.

My latest purchase is pre-decimal (designed with a to-retail pice of 10 pence printed on the box). Produced before 1967, I estimate late 1950s to early 1960s.

I dug through my archives and to my surprise, and maybe horror, I actually have three other slightly different versions of the box. Yes, I’ll be appearing soon on that TV show “Hoarders”. In twenty years you will remember this post when a news report comes on about an ironically malnourished body being found under tons of antique (well, they will be by then) ice cream tins, candy boxes and snack wrappers. “VICTIM SPENT FOOD ALLOWANCE ON EBAY AND STARVED UNDER COLLECTION”
I can date this one between 1964- 1967 because it came from the family kitchen and it’s pre-decimal (marked with a price of 13 pence). Mum wouldn’t have any reason to  buy baking cups before she moved into the matrimonial home.

I thought the box was empty when I bought it, especially as I had asked for it to be flattened for postage… but it actually had the red wax paper and all the patty pans still inside, unused. The fact is that smell is the strongest sense linked to memory, and every time I open it and take a sniff, whoa! – it smells EXACTLY like Mum in the kitchen making Chocolate Crackles. It transports me right back there like I am standing in the kitchen of the family home. That’s the power of nostalgia, folks!

But it does make one wonder. How much of the smell that I remember was actual Chocolate Crackles? And how much was the actual patty pans? Seems like it was the latter in all honesty. It’s sort of like finding out late in life you were adopted. It’s a unique combo scent of paper, wax and vanilla that does not smell like anything else, I wonder if they scented them specifically?


On the left post 1979, as McMeeking have taken ownership. I estimate early 1980s. On the right, I estimate early-mid 1970s as the founder is still specified. Both boxes nicked from the family kitchen in the late eighties.

Jaytee Baking Cups have been a household name since the 1930’s, when the company was founded by a printing engineer, James Thomas Williamson. Hence the name Jaytee. Since acquiring the company in 1979 McMeeking Manufacturing has been the largest supplier of Baking Cups in New Zealand with exports to Australia and the Pacific Islands. McMeeking still own it today, running the operation from Dunedin, Otago.

Because I have this information it’s easy for me to get a ballpark date on these boxes combined with the probability of purchases influenced by my parents setting up house and us children being born (the likelihood of  making cupcakes before you have squalling toddlers is pretty unlikely, after all – bake sales aside, who does stuff they don’t have to when they know they have twenty non-stop years of it in the near future?). The last image above are some modern designs from the company, produced within the last few years. You can still see remnants of the original box design as it’s morphed over the years.

OK, now let loose run to the nearest bakery and consume something in a patty pan. You know you can’t stop thinking about it now…

Addendum  mid Jan 2014: A Dunedin collector and reader of this blog kindly sent these images to me as a contribution the article. These arrived some months ago and I haven’t had time for quite a while to do all the updates I need to get around to. I’d say these two boxes date from the 2000s, and are still made by McMeeking in Dunedin. There can’t be too many things that are still made domestically these days. It just occurred to me that I’ve never seen any advertising at all for Jaytee. That’s quite unusual for a steadfast kitchen product that has been around for some decades. Both following images are courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

Jay-Tee Muffin baking cups A - Owain Morris Collection  (1)

Jay-Tee Muffin baking cups B - Owain Morris Collection (2)

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