longwhitekid

Archive for the ‘Fonterra’ Category

A Trail Goes Creamy and Cold

In Alpine Ice Cream, Apex Ice Cream Company Limited, Cornelius J Van Dongen, Eldora Ice Cream, Fonterra, Frozen Foods, G.E. Patton Ltd, Gager's Electric Belt, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, George Edward Patton, Hellaby's, Ice Cream, Lone Star Cafe, McAlpine, Newjoy Ice Cream Co, Perfection Ice Cream Co, Peter Pan Frozen Foods Ltd, Peter Pan ice cream, Prestcold refrigerators, Robinson Ice Cream, Sunshine Ice Cream, Supreme Ice Cream, Thomas Gager, Tip-Top, Wall's ice cream, Wall's Ice Cream Ltd on May 7, 2013 at 10.46

Apex Ice Cream Board recreation  copy

A recreation I’ve made of a rare metal and wood sandwich board, designed to advertise Apex outside on the footpath in front of a dairy.

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Apex is yet again a brand about which very little is known; it was Christchurch-based and lasted around forty years or so. I don’t even have a name for a founder or owner. However this almost complete lack of information  gives me a chance to delve into the lives of various names that were at some time associated with the brand and the property. a

Airds Dairy & Cake Shop Papanui shows Apex Ice cream and Ernest Adams Cakes edit

Airds Dairy and Cake Shop, showing Apex on sale as well as Ernest Adams cakes and Queen Anne chocolates, year unknown. Image courtesy of the Gordon Shields Collection via Kete Christchurch, File ref PHG25GS

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Apex Ice Cream Old Enamel  Sign 91 x 38 cm 1 edit  copy

Painted tin Apex advertising. The logo and slogan were fairly standard although the dimensions varied.

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Apex seems to have been established in 1933 at 25 Manchester St, Christchurch – but by whom I do not know. Records show the company was granted a building permit on 11th of  September that year. The builder was George Edward Patton (born 1885), whom by this time had already been in business locally for a decade; in 1923 he had founded G.E. Patton Ltd at 188 Barbadoes Street, Christchurch, not that far away (now renumbered to 194, it is next to  Henry’s beer wine and spirits). This building still stands although it looks somewhat different with a remodelled facade  and is quite dishevelled today.  a

25 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand 1

Above and below: The first  Apex building built 1933 by Patton, at number 25 Manchester Street, on the corner of Dundas.

25 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand 2

Patton were refrigeration specialists that went on to produce commercial fridge cabinets – the type for nicely displaying drinks, snacks and treats that need to be kept chilled – obviously ice cream being one product. We can surmise that Patton, through his commercial refrigeration work – had the equipment and know-how to easily set up such an operation with the machinery it needed. A photo of 1940 of the Barbadoes showroom shows their range is very well-established. They manufactured for McAlpine  (Prestcold refrigerators), amongst others and then eventually moved into purely design/wholesale products for huge businesses like Hellaby and Fonterra. They now have a number of branches all over  New Zealand as well as in Australia, Thailand and India and major international clients. a

DSC07603 Apex Ice Cream 1960s NZ edit

The original version of the sandwich board I’ve recreated at top. Image courtesy of  www.brentz.co.nz

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By 1936 Apex were offering family blocks as well as supplying bulk deliveries to dairies and parlours as exemplified in the couple of simple ads I have found in publications. This building still stands today on the intersection – now painted lurid orange and green and houses Printstop in two thirds and a cycle store in the remainder. a

G E Pattons 188 Barbadoes Street today edit

Above: The old G. E. Pattons showrooms, 188 Barbadoes Street, Christchurch, today. Below, the Pattons staff in the 1950s, courtesy of the Pattons website. 

Patten edit

It’s  possible Patton was from the Mount Somers area west of Christchurch as there is a mention in 1916 of someone by that name enlisting. He was part of the 13th C1 draft, and spent a spell serving in WWI. He married Ethel Laura Bundy (1894-1994) in Canterbury, year unknown. This may explain why there does not appear to be any marriage record – it’s indicated that they married between 1931-1945. It does not appear they  had any offspring or if so no records are publicly available due to privacy restrictions. That’s about all I know about him to date. He died in 1973, and was described as an engineer living in Opawa.a

APEX ICE CREAM STAMPS TO COLLECT Ellesmere Guardian, 1 October 1937, Page 1 edit colour copy

An advert for an incentive to buy Apex ice cream, Ellesmere Guardian, October 1937. Presumably a larger picture was made from individual stamps that were collected (probably not an image of an actual radio, but a picture of a radio star or show) and then once fully assembled you got your money. I doubt I’ll ever see one of these turn up – and if it did – the set wouldn’t be complete anyway.

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It may be worth noting that another major ice cream business of the time, Perfection, was further down the same street at numbers 300 and 304 over time, and in April 1940 Patton was also tasked with building at least one of those premises for them.a

Lone Star Cafe - 26 Manchester St courtesy Lone Star Cafe FB page

The second Apex building built 1940 by Van Dongen, Number 26 Manchester Street, directly opposite the 1933 premises on the intersection of Dundas. This became the first of a chain of 25 Lone Star Cafes. Image courtesy of  their Facebook page, and appears to have been taken in the early-mid 1980s.

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Previous occupants at 25 Manchester street, in whatever building had been there before – were both tailors (I am sure there were others). Thomas Gager is advertising an “Electric Belt” with supposed curative properties, in the late 1880s. As it turns out he fancied himself a bit of an inventor and there are a few references to his registering of patents. It seems he was in situ from at least 1882  until 1893 when there is a notice of his stock being bought for sale, after he went bankrupt – and he moved down the road to number 95. In the 1910s-1920s, Geoffrey Madden, another tailor and fitter,  is calling from the same address for men with unwanted war costumes to sell for fancy dress use.

Apex Ice Cream 25 Manchester Street - Opawa Public Library Carnival booklet 1930s edit orange

Apex advertisement from an Opawa Public Library Carnival booklet, circa 1936.

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On the 29th of May, 1940, permission was again granted to Apex Ice Cream Co. to build on the corner of Dundas and Manchester Streets, Christchurch, showing the construction was done this time by  a C. J. Van Dongen. Cornelius Jozepfus Van Dongen (b 1885) was presumably a Dutch immigrant given the provenance of his surname. He enlisted for  service  on the 5th of  August 1918, and was passed as fit on the 13th.  Details mention his profession as carpenter and residence in Tenysson Street, Sydenham,  at the time.  He was recorded as a “builder” by profession,  by the time he died in Christchurch, in 1966. The only other snippets I could dig up on his background was that he married to Ethel May Van Dongen (b 1886) who passed away in 1918. They had lived for some time in Hawkes Bay during the 1910s. They had a daughter Gladys Sybil Petronella born 1907 (later married a Francis Joseph Ashworth, 1928).  In 1923 he married a Sara Rubena Westwood Ritchie.

Apex Ice Cream tin sign from Australian site Roadside Relics edit  copy

Painted tin Apex advertising from outside of a building. Image courtesy of  Roadside Relics, Queensland. I had a question to the retailer about how this ended up in Australia – and apparently it was purchased  from the owners of  a pub named Pump in Maryborough in the 1980s-1990s, who were originally from Dunedin and had it decorated with a collection of signs they had brought with them. 

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Presumably this new Apex building was an additional premises, directly opposite 25 Manchester street on the intersection. This building was for many years, until recently, the original Lone Star Cafe  which eventually became a successful chain of twenty five venues. It was unfortunately destroyed in the 2010 earthquake and subsequently demolished. Apex Ice Cream Co. Ltd., was granted a Goods Service License under the Transport Act, 1949, Christchurch sometime between 1953-1962, showing that besides selling locally, they were by this time distributing far and wide.a

APEX ICE CREAM - CONTACT MAGAZINE Volume 3 No  2 Jan Feb 1943 Page 64 and 65 crop copy

Apex advert, from Contact: The National Magazine of the Royal New Zealand Air Force,Volume 3 No  2 Jan Feb 1943, Page 65. 

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 Over the last five years three or four hand-painted tin or wood Apex signs have come up for auction – all with similar layout and slogan – although varying dimensions. The only exception has been this red dairy footpath sign (that I recreated here with some modifications) which has been for sale from a Christchurch dealer for some time now. I’ve previously contacted him through both his website and Trade Me with personal sales inquiries for items and all times I have attempted my questions have remained unanswered  yet I noticed he’s very keen to provide answers when he auctions  five or ten dollar items so…winning sales technique there. Ergo I haven’t even bothered to contact again and find out anything about the provenance of this item. Given that apparently he is not interested in making any serious money – he certainly won’t be answering questions when none at all is on offer.

Lone Star Cafe - demolished

Number 26 Manchester Street, The original Lone Star Cafe, now a danger from earthquake damage, comes down.

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Data indicates that Apex was still running into the early 1970s at least (Christchurch Planning Tribunal/Environment Court case files are on record for 1971) – but it was eventually bought out by Tip-Top along with other companies like Supreme, New Joy, Robinson, Perfection, Eldora, Sunshine,  Peter Pan, Alpine, and Wall’s. By 1964, Tip-Top had finally achieved national distribution by gobbling up all the smaller (frozen) fish. Closed company files  indicate Apex may have changed hands in 1956, then again in 1964, which may be when Tip-Top stepped in and took over – since they were on a roll at the time buying out smaller brands in their bid to get to the top – they bought out Eldora in 1964 and Supreme in 1963. The final Closed Company Files for Apex were lodged sometime between 1964 and 1979. The only employee I’ve tracked down also commenced working for Apex in 1960 and finished up in 1964, so all the dates converge to some telling event. Unfortunately I was not able to talk to the person in question before publishing this article – but I am sure there is more to be added to this story in future. Perhaps someone trawling the web will come across this and be able to pass on some vital information that fills the gaps, like they did with the Peter Pan Frozen Foods saga.

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THOMAS GAGER TAILOR Star , Issue 5812, 29 December 1886, Page 2 edit

Above: Gager, had been just one resident business owner  in the days before Apex. From the Star, Page 2, 29 December 1896. He moved to 95 in 1893, but he was already hawking his own patented invention of electric accessories from his former address at 25 Manchester Street in the 1880s. Below, an ad from the Press, 15 November 1893, Page 7.

THOMAS GAGER'S ELECTRIC BELTS  Press, Volume L, Issue 8640, 15 November 1893, Page 7

 

Credits: Thanks to Dave Homewood, from Wings Over Cambridge,  check out their collection of great Contact magazine covers online here.  Also thanks to  Chris Newey from Foodworks online – the  New Zealand Food & Beverage Directory,  for some research pointers.

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

Addendum mid-Jan 2014: I’ve added this amazing, extremely rare image of an early piece of Apex advertising. This was sent to me by Nick Boblea, a hard-core veteran of enamel sign collecting. He has an amazing accumulation from what I’ve seen – and was kind enough to contact me after reading this article and offer a picture of this one. I’m guessing it dates from the earliest days of the brand.

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Addendum mid-March 2014: Reader Carolyn Catt kindly sent in this  image of  one of two Apex signs stashed in her garage, that she acquired twenty years ago in the Christchurch area.

Apex sign c Carolyn Catt copy smlveteran of enamel sign collecting. He has an amazing accumulation from what I’ve seen – and was kind enough to contact me after reading this article and offer a picture of this one. I’m guessing it dates from the earliest days of the brand.a

How It All Pans Out

In Blue Moon Ice Cream, cordial, Crystal Springs Aerated Water Factory, Dairy Products, Denne Brothers, Desserts, Fonterra, Frozen Foods, Frozen Vegetables, Hellaby's, Ice Cream, Pastry, Peter Pan Frozen Foods Ltd, Peter Pan ice cream, Rush Munro, soft drink, Tip-Top, Tokomaru Steam Engine Museum on April 9, 2012 at 10.46

This point-of-sale poster probably dates from the mid-late 1960s and was no doubt created for dairy (milkbar) promotion.

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Working on this project it constantly reminds me, as well as amazes me, that something that was so popular for so long – can seemingly disappear, almost without a trace. I also find it surprising that something that has been such a part of people’s lives – in this case a district’s main employer too – can fade from the memory so quickly and be forgotten within just a few years.

When you ask people about Peter Pan ice cream most of them remember it well. Yet it has taken me about a year to scratch together information for the story on the once renowned brand that shut up shop as late as the early 1980s; and although famous for their ice creams and novelty ice confections – it actually goes back much further than their two Waipukurau-based factories which were landmarks for many years. In fact the brand was started by T.C. (Thomas Clement) Denne who had quite a history in manufacture prior to that era. Actually, Denne Brothers started as a soft drink concern that went right back to at least the 1910s.

This painted tin sign probably dates from the 1950s.

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The Denne family originally hailed from Canterbury, Kent in the U.K., with T.C.’s second cousin William Henry Denne arriving to New Zealand in 1851; and T.C.’s father Clement Denne following with his wife Alice and one month old daughter Lucy aboard the “Wild Deer” – apparently in 1875. However sales records of 1873 clearly show they bought land so we can presume that William helped; he probably scouted and bought property for them at their request – or it was purchased on spec. The family settled in Mataura in the lower South Island, where we find Clement selling his land as well as a blacksmith’s business (his trade) by 1890. Several years later a smithy business in the same town is being advertised as ex a certain John Denne – perhaps Clement’s older brother (born 1829) who may have joined them and set up shop too – or just another error of details in reportage we so often encounter in newspapers of those times.

T.C was born in 1882 and apart from school notices where an Alice, Emily and Lottie Denne are also name-checked (likely sisters) the first mention of him in the media comes in 1897 when as a fifteen year old he was injured on the job in a rather nasty accident. Mataura was chiefly famous for their paper mill and still is – and it was here, presumably on his first foray into the workforce from school that T.C had his hand crushed and de-gloved between some rollers, involving skin grafts from other parts of his body to repair the serious damage.
By 1904 T.C. was located in Milton, not far from Mataura, as first secretary then later deputy bandmaster of the town’s brass band, performing with both Baritone and Euphonium Tubas. Music – particularly brass bands – was to remain a life-long love, and regardless of what lingering effects of his paper mill accident had – he did not let it hold him back in his endeavours.

This backlit perspex sign probably dates from the 1960s, likely for the interior of a milkbar or cafe.

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I believe his family probably remained in the Mataura-Milton area but we can conject that T.C. somehow moved into the cordial and soft drink industry gaining experience, possibly moving to another area on his way to the lower North Island. By 1915 he had appeared in Masterton where he had opened a factory with a depot at 169 Queen Street for both retail and wholesales; Denne’s Aerated Waterworks was producing aerated water, soda, hop ale, ginger beer, ginger ale, as well as sarsaparilla and raspberry cordials, and not long after he acquired modern technology and introduced his Fruity Lemonade sealed in a new-fangled crown seal bottle.
At the same time he was producing Denne’s Golden Malt Pure Table Vinegar from an Eketahuna set-up – and a later mention in a newspaper of 1919 states that T.C. Denne “was for some years in business at Eketahuna, and has been established in Masterton four years”.  So, likely that business existed for some time before the Masterton factory; and was perhaps dispensed with sometime after 1916 since there is no mention of it again that I can find.

Denne sells up in Masterton and moves on; Wairarapa Daily Times, 2 December 1919.

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Between 1916-1919 advertisements for Denne’s Delicious Drinks, as they were now being touted, make mention of Wairarapa as a “dry district” and he was marketing in both bottles and gallon jars the following refreshments- hop beer, dandy shandy, ginger beer, lime juice and soda, squash, and others. The Wairarapa electorate voted to ban production and sale of alcoholic drinks in their district in 1908, and this remained the status quo until it was overturned in 1946 so no doubt the hops ale, beer, and shandy although fermented – were non-alcoholic drink, and his move to the Wairarapa district may have tied in with this prohibition period since his strong ties to the Seventh-day Adventist movement would prescribe no alcohol and caffeine (note he also never seemed to offer cola drinks).
During this time he kept up his musical endeavours, having progressed to the role of conductor for both the Masterton Municipal Silver Band and the Masterton Central Brass Band by 1917.
In 1919 he quit the bands “for business reasons”, and then sold his Masterton factory to a Neil Wotton who renamed the brand Crystal Springs. A newspaper ad also shows him selling a motorbike from 270 Queen Street Masterton, perhaps an new or additional depot to keep up with demand, or- perhaps this was a domestic address.

Denne’s drink varieties for dry districts ; Wairarapa Daily Times , 23 December, 1916.

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By March of 1920 he had departed Masterton for good – being publicly presented with a silver engraved conductor’s baton as a goodbye gift – but where he went and what he was doing for the next decade is at present unknown. That is until he crops up in the paper as having started up a new company to manufacture cordials – T.C. Denne and Co, Ltd, in 1930 in Waipukurau – and the original factory (later known as the Peter Pan No. 1 Factory, unfortunately no images I know of exist) was established in Ruataniwha Street.


Tony Smith, Napier historian and collector says that there is information on Denne drinks that goes from 1938 back to 1926 that he knows of, and these one gallon stone crocks were issued in 1928 as well as 1930, but if that was in another location besides Waipukurau is unknown at present, and still leaves at least six years of the 1920s unaccounted for.

Soft drink and cordial business continued as usual until Denne started making ice cream for sale around 1938, not long after the tragic death of his first son John Clinton Denne in an accident at 22 years old, when his motorcycle hit a truck head on on a highway outside of the town the year previously. I think it’s an interesting point to consider that T.C. embarked on a major diversion from his successful tried and true formula at this time. It must have been a roaring success for by 1940 it had far usurped the drink business – so he let that go, selling that arm of the business first to a Stan Nickle, then Bert Anderson, and later D.H. Newbiggins of Hastings – according to Tony Smith, a Napier-based historian and collector who has been compiling a book on Hawkes Bay cordials, brewery and chemist bottles. I was able to find a Waipukurau based Bert Anderson who sung bass and baritone in bands so that would be the connection; but as for the other two names – no clues (Smith likely means E.J.D. Newbigin who was a well-known Hastings brewer and cordial maker from 1881). From the records it looks like Denne didn’t officially register the Peter Pan ice cream brand until 1946, however they likely started using the name much earlier than that.

The Tokomaru Steam Engine Museum have in their collection a 1937 William Sisson & Co. Ltd. (of Gloucester) model, bought from Denne Brothers, “acquired around 1967. It was going to be used as a standby generator if there was a power cut. I presume (they divested it) when the factory no longer had a need for a steam engine. As far as we know the Dennes never used it” says Esma Stevenson, curator. It must have been bought around 1940 when there was a decisive direction to go into the ice confection business permanently.
T.C. passed away in 1950 and it seems that his two remaining sons Tom Jr. (Thomas Vernon Denne 1917-1983) and Haydn ( an unusual spelling he adopted of his birth name Maxwell Hayden Denne, 1921- 2008) inherited the business. From then on it was known unofficially as Denne Brothers, and then later on as Peter Pan Frozen Foods. They well and truly took control and redirected the branding, and were beginning to expand and market the name with fervour.

This galvanized metal and wood, hand-painted  sandwich-board sign probably dates from the 1960s, for the side walk outside of a dairy, milkbar or cafe.

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There were two factories in the town that came to be known as numbers 1 and 2. Peter Pan No .1 factory was at 177-183 Ruawahine Street andthe corner of Cook Street,Waipukurau (now 2 Takapu Road). It was the original T.C. Denne & Co’s drinks building and was an expansive premises. This was where ice cream tubs and packs, waffle cones for the Trumpets and also for retail sale, and later in the early 1970s doughnuts were all made, as well as serving as “head office”. The offices and waffle-making room were on the second floor. The waffle cones were made for the Drumstick ice creams,  the slices, and they were also packed into boxes as their own individual product which were then sold throughout different shops says Pam Blackberry, who worked on that line for a couple of years in the late 1960s. This rambling establishment probably had many additions over time – records show a dispute that went to court with the local council over redevelopment in 1966. Haydn Denne lived in Cook Street opposite where No. 1 factory was until he passed away in 2008. You can see a photo of the factory in my previous post here:

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/neverbland/

A reconstructed wrapper of the popular  Treasure Tip  – an ice block with a jelly baby in it. This dates from the mid to late 1960s and obviously the same artist that designed all the posters I’ve featured so far over the last year or so.

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Approximately a kilometre further away on Takapu Road, Waipukurau was No. 2 – which was focussed on the ice confections, and frozen foodstuffs arms of the business.

As well as ice cream produced in cones, slices, Drumsticks, and a variety of pint and quart boxes in flavours like Bonanza, Cherry Chequer, Vanilla Supreme and Golden Whip – Former employees of the early 1960s onwards remember in particular the highly popular novelties Nutty Cha Chas (ice cream dipped in chocolate with nuts), Pink Elephants (pink ice cream rolled in chocolate flakes), Tutti Fruttis, Jelly Tips (ice cream coated in chocolate with a tip made of jelly ) and the popular Jolli-Lollis “which was an iceblock mix in a sachet”, says Tony Dean. “The Jolli-Lollis were like cordial mixed up in big vats then pumped through a machine into the plastic sachets and sealed, then packed into boxes and frozen, and that is how the shops got them – this was the machine I worked at, The only time I ventured into the freezer was to put the boxes of ice blocks away once they got packed, and then it was in and out fast”, recounts Pam Blackberry. “(There was a) fear of being locked in those freezers!” remembers Hazel Hori.
The ice confections were produced specifically out of the No.2 Factory and some were the Lime Ice Delite, Fruit Salad, Peter-Cream, Red Rocket, Blueberry (blackberry and lemonade flavour), Scramble, Orange Sparkle, and the Dazzle which I posted on here:

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/petering-out/

Margaret Gee was employed from 1964-1968. “I worked at Peter Pan for four years as a churn operator filling the moulds that were then placed into the brine tanks”. Tony Dean worked from the mid to late 1960s for several years and “from what I can remember the moulds in which the ice block shapes were made held about 20 items, and a stick holder was put in the top of the mould. The moulds were put in a tank of brine for about twenty minutes and when taken out were inserted in a tank of hot water for a few seconds to release the product; and were then put through the wrapping machine. The refrigerant used was ammonia”.
A Peter Pan specialty were novelty ice blocks with confectionery imbedded in them. Tony Dean recalls “the Treasure Tip, with a jelly baby in the tip – the jelly babies were inserted manually in each mould” – others were the Red Knight with a “Honey Bunny” and the Hello Dolly of the late 1960s had a “Dolly Lolly”.

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/sugary-strategies-and-delicious-devices/

There were probably many more variations perhaps capitalising on popular culture of the time.

A reconstructed wrapper of the Jolli-Lolli  – an ice block sealed in a plastic sachet and frozen.

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By 1966 at the latest Peter Pan were producing frozen foods from the No. 1 factory , and Tony Dean remembers Peter Pan had a fleet of trucks to handle a contract to distribute frozen foods around the North Island for Hellaby’s (probably most well-known to Kiwis for canned corned beef), in particular – chickens, and frozen vegetables including peas. Posters advertising products of the mid-late 1960s show frozen flaky puff pastry on offer, and a range of ready-to-cook fast foods that were probably wholesaled to takeaway businesses such as spring rolls, curry rice rolls, steak cobs, fish cobs, chicken croquettes, and hamburger rolls (not bread buns – probably a deep fried meat filled pastry not unlike the Australian Chiko Roll, given the nature of the rest of the range they had at the time) . There was also a line of syrups for milkshakes, thickshakes and sundaes, probably also coming out of the No. 1 premises given the related products.

A reconstructed wrapper of the popular Pink Elephant  – a pink ice cream rolled in chocolate flakes. This dates from the mid to late 1960s.

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Tony Dean says “The Dennes were excellent bosses to work for. On Friday nights every staff member used to get 1 litre of ice cream and a pack of frozen peas, and at Christmas time a frozen chook as well”. Augustine Dunbar , who worked 1972-1974 also recalls “they used to give us 3 quart boxes on Friday (I’m not sure if she means three separate quart boxes, or the three pint box).
“I used to love eating the ice cream straight out of the churn before it went into the containers and freezers. Also the jelly babies, the chocolate, strawberries and peanuts before they went into the production line. It is probably one of the best jobs I had”, says Tony Dean. “Finger-dipping into the ice-cream straight out of the churn I remember (well), the foul smell of the chocolate melting”, adds Hazel Hori.
The company even had their own “Peter Pan Bus” that travelled to and from Waipawa and Waipukurau to pick up staff of a morning and drop them off in the evening. The Dennes were known as fair and generous employers; and so many people from the surrounding area were employed it was worthwhile. Hazel Hori who worked there between 1963-1965 remembers: “Many “Ypuk” (Waipukurau) people spent part of their working lives at Peter Pan factory. My dad Henry Munday worked at Peter Pan for many years, my mother joined the staff in the 1970s, my brother Eric worked there too for a time , along with me – during the school holidays packing ice blocks and ice creams” – it was almost a rite of passage to do at least a short stint there first before leaving the security of the locale heading out into the wide world.

Trucks outside the No.1 Factory in Takapu Road. The part of the building that is still standing today on a mostly vacant lot – can be seen behind far left.

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Trademark records of the early 1970s show product names Country Gold, Fudgsicle, Softee, and Captain Hook products were being manufactured as well as doughnuts being produced in the No. 1 Factory, as briefly mentioned earlier.
Although their father had passed away some time before and their mother Agnes in 1957 – the traditional family faith remained strong. By 1962 the Seventh Day Adventist movement, well-known for their involvement in food product (see my article https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/healthy-curiosity/ on Sanitarium) had made the move across the Tasman to the Hawkes Bay area and assumed control of two churches to establish themselves in the local vicinity. In 1965 the devout and by now, no doubt quite prosperous, Denne family donated land for a church and a two-teacher church school. T.C.’s grandson John Denne continues that religious inheritance and is a pastor in Australia.

This point-of-sale poster probably dates from the mid-late 1960s and was no doubt created for takeaway shop promotion.

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As for the mysterious Peter Pan parlour that nobody seemed to recall seeing – after writing to twenty or more people I received a reply from the Eketahuna Museum suggesting that the mystery store may be located in an enclave to the south of Waipukurau, named Norsewood, a Scandinavian-settled town established in the 1870s (hence the name). Since the Dennes never had any relation to this town that I know of – It still left the question of who built it, and more to the point – why? Doug Ellison, Caretaker at Norsewood Pioneer Museum says:
” It wasn’t specifically a Peter Pan store but it sold the ice cream which was just about all we could get (at the time) actually. It was originally just the usual country store, that sold the stuff that any grocery would sell. There was another dairy that sold Peter Pan but it didn’t have a big sign like that. The people that lived in the house did it up to look like the old store at the front, so it would resemble when it was a thriving business – which it hasn’t been for a number of years. I don’t know who owned it at the time. The house is now empty and the building is used as storage. I think it must have been someone from Dannevirke who did a bit of painting about the place to bring it back to what it was. The heritage signs were put around a few old buildings for our festival a couple of years back so that people knew what they had once been. I don’t remember any other (local) brand for sale in the area except Rush Munro, who had a place in Hastings, about 1000 Herataunga Street East – it was called Blue Moon (Rush Munro’s is still open at 704 West, and is arguably New Zealand’s oldest ice cream brand – I’ll post on this story later in the year).

The remaining part of the far left side of the Peter Pan No. 1 Factory on  the corner of Takapu Road and Cook Street, Wapukarau -which has now been somewhat remodelled. 

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John Denne, Tom Denne Jr.’s son was managing the business for some time, but left the town for good in 1971. According to records I’ve found Peter Pan was offering redundancy packages to employees at the end of the 1970s so they must have hit a spot of financial troubles, that or behemoth Tip-Top had stepped in and major changes were afoot. Most people seem to remember the factory being open until at least the early eighties when the rights were probably sold to Tip-Top.
Jan Gosling, one of the curators at Waipawa Museum remembers “when we moved to Waipawa in 1990 the old Peter Pan buildings were still there (in Waipukurau), with faded labels of the ice cream factory (on the walls) and it always seemed a little sad. It’s funny how when things disappear or change into something else you forget about what was there before”. Sometime after that they were demolished; “there isn’t much left of that (factory) now” says Pam Blackberry. The only remains I can spot are the far left side of the structure which has been somewhat remodelled and serves as the Hatuma Engineering Supplies premises.
The original Ruawahine Street No. 1 factory’s site closer to town is renumbered and the street renamed; and the allotment now has a new, one story building, the Central Hawkes Bay Health Centre, set back on the corner of it but is a mostly unobstructed tract of vacant land on the corner where the expansive buildings of Peter Pan Frozen Foods used to be a town landmark.

Mystery finally solved – the tribute to Peter Pan Ice Cream in the small town of Norsewood, was created for fun to replicate an old town general store that originally had a sign like this when it was operating.

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Although the brand name has remained in limbo for nearly thirty years with the trademark rights renewed to Tip-Top Investments as part of Fonterra Brands Limited, it finally lapsed and was cancelled at the end of 2010, bringing the saga of the  Peter Pan brand to a close for good. Not for me though – the story still has some gaping holes such as – how did Denne enter the business and learn his trade?, and what he was doing between 1920 in Masterton and 1930 in Wairarapa? I’m hoping that I’ll find out more so stay tuned.

As usual, I have a large rollcall of people to thank for memories, images, leads, information and tip-offs: Jana Uhlirova, curator, Central Hawkes Bay Settler’s Museum, Pam Blackberry (1968-1970) and Tony Dean (1966-1973), ex-employees of Peter Pan Frozen Foods; Andy May and Donna Gwen Hoby, one time acquaintances of the Dennes, Colin and Esma Stevenson, owners and curators at the Tokomaru Steam Museum, Doug Ellison, Caretaker at Norsewood Pioneer Museum, Tony Smith , historian and collector for information on Denne drinks, Brian Turner for image of Denne crock, Jan Gosling, curator at Waipawa Museum.

Bite Size: Gone But Nut Forgotten

In Brittania Foods NZ Ltd, ETA Chicken Chips, ETA Foods, Fonterra, Four Square Supermarkets, Griffin’s, Peanut Butter, Snack Foods on January 21, 2012 at 10.46

Here’s the third instalment of the Four Square Stores promotional snap set that was an issue sometime between 1979 and 1981 (there were two other sets I know of that I have now pinpointed to being produced in the early 1960s).
I have previously posted on this item here, and here, and here on ETA Chicken Chips so many of us remember from the 197os and 80s:

I am still working my way through restoring this set digitally (they are quite damaged) and will post them in separate families of four until I get through them all. The set is missing one card from the Savlon family, “Miss Savlon”, but I’ll deal with that when I get there.

This ETA logo was registered in 1935 by Griffin’s to market “condiments, including mustard; nuts, including peanuts and almonds; confections containing nuts; and other nut products, including nut paste and nut butter”.

It seems that at some point in the 1960s – likely 1962 – ETA opened proper operations in NZ; or Griffin’s, which the brand was licensed to , opened a manufacturing facility (this seems to coincide with the Australian ETA factory in Sunshine , Melbourne being demolished in 1962 and new factories also opening that year in Baybrook , VIC and Marrickville, NSW – ergo signalling a large Australasian restructuring of the company).

This ETA peanut butter jar was found recently on a historic farm site in the South Coast NSW I was surveying, and probably dates from the late 1930s, definitely no later than 1950.

I’ve positively identified packing boxes for ETA chips in an early Woolworths NZ store in 1964. ETA actually began in 1923 – a small family company in Australia producing mustard, fruit syrup, compotes and jams. I already knew the brand was established much earlier in Australia as I have found ETA jars going back to the 1930s on historic sites  so it’s likely products were exported to New Zealand up until the time the domestic factory launched. However the ETA brand had been registered in New Zealand by Griffin’s (primarily famous for their biscuits) from 1935 onwards to market.

This point-of-sale cardboard poster would have been from a dairy late 1970s-early 1980s and is courtesy of Mike Davidson (Kiwigame on Flickr) and edited by me to bring it back closer to original form.

ETA was another one of those brands like Sanitarium, Frosty Boy, Woolworths, and many more – which although started off or remained as the same company – more or less separated their trans-Tasman concerns early on and from there developed fairly independently.
ETA seems to have remained under Griffin’s wing until recently when Brittania Foods NZ Ltd, an Indian-based company which entered into a dairy concern partnership with Fonterra starting in 2001, acquired the brand. However according to the official site the product is still being manufactured by Griffin’s to date, probably under a licensing deal.

Bite Size: Reconstituted Retro

In Cloverdale, Dairy, Dairy Products, Fonterra, Kaipara Co-operative Dairy Company, River Valley on January 9, 2012 at 10.46

Here I have recreated the label for a Meadow Maid milk powder can which probably dates from the early 1960s. They come up for sale every once in a while, maybe every eight months or so. I am pretty sure I remember my grandparents having one of these around at some point when I was a youngster. I am fairly sure it wasn’t new then, but being used to store something else; perhaps in the kitchen cupboards but more likely nails or screws in my grandfather’s workshop.  This was produced by the Kaipara Dairy Co-op which I previously wrote about in this post “The Creamy Dragon Strikes Again” back in April:

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/the-creamy-dragon-strikes-again/

Kaipara produced several products that I know of including skim and full fat milk powder, ice cream mix, malted milk, margarine and gouda – under different brand names .

I can’t see what’s on the back of the can from any of the images I have, so I sort of “imagined” the rest of the label by basing it on the design on the back of another yellow Kaipara tin with a snooty chef on it, that is in both the MOTAT and Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum ol’ timey general store collections respectively (I am pretty sure they are reproductions, it’s interesting how they both have new-looking large versions of them, I’d like to know the story behind that). The yellow can is a neat design that’s on my list to add to my collection but I haven’t been successful in yet getting one. I’ve never seen what the malted milk can looks like and don’t know what brand name it was under.

I hadn’t heard anything further about the situation with the long-abandoned Kaipara Dairy buildings since the council had ordered the removal of them early last year; and the last news item appeared in April of 2011 – in which residents were still agitating for the old factory to be turned to rubble. However it seems the factory site is still standing and an auction was slated yet again, this time for December 2011. Someone posted this clip of their interior tour in October

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqeOPTiOeAU

and it looked like it was cleaned up a little for the sale. Same as the last time, I suspect it was passed in. There’s rumbling about a community art space, which sounds good to me.

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Addendum, early Aug 2013: Finally this week an ad  turned up showing that Meadow Maid was in production from at least the late 1950s. This is the only time I have ever seen the product advertised. 

Recipe Book and Household Guide - Women's division Federated Famers NZ (Inc) - Kaipara Co-op Dairy -  Meadow Maid sml

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

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

An Elaborate Process

In Blue Bonnet Jams, Butland Industries, cheese, Chesdale Cheese, Craig's Jams, Crest Fine Foods, Dairy, Dairy Products, Fonterra, Goldpack dried fruits, H.J Heinz Company, Kraft Foods, New Zealand Milk Brands Limited, Spreads, Wattie's on December 6, 2011 at 10.46

I’m  excited to present this recreation of a Chesdale cheese ad. This is probably the most complex thing I have attempted so far and have put it off for a few months because I knew it was going to be hard. As I am getting more daring at my recreation work I felt I was ready to tackle this one from a blurry, bad quality picture. This took about two days of frustrating work to make; starting with designing the three individual paper labels for the cheese segments, then the foil wedge, then the six wedges in the box, and the cartoons of the family which I could hardly see properly. As well as all the fonts which had to be hand-kerned and often recreated from scratch.
This item probably dates from around 1958, and was in a promotional booklet for a company named Butland Industries which had a lot of other nice colourful ads in it showcasing their products of the moment. At the time their other hugely successful brand besides Chesdale was Crest Fine Foods (canned fruit, and vegetables, including baked beans and spaghetti – I think this brand fizzled out in the early 1970s). Later on they had Goldpack dried fruits – as well as jam brands Blue Bonnet and Craig’s which I remember well from childhood.

It was for auction a few months ago and I really wanted to grab it – unfortunately I had just missed the end of the auction. I would have paid more money by far than it sold for, too. I was so desperate to get hold of the imagery that I approached the seller and also the buyer to try and get better photos of the advertising pages – to no avail. Unfortunately that tack didn’t work out so well to say the least, so the next best thing was to just to buckle down and make it myself.

Chesdale Cheese ad, between 1926 and 1949. Ref: Eph-A-FOOD-1940s-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available either about the history of the Chesdale cheese brand or about Sir Jack Butland and his company. What we do know is he was born in Hokitika in 1896 but spent most of his life based in Auckland, where he started in foodstuffs as an agent – after earlier careers in banking and sales.
He came to be considered a pioneer in food manufacturing. He founded J. R. Butland Pty Ltd in 1922, NZ Cheese four years later in 1926, and Butland Industries proper in 1949. I know that Crest was launched in 1956 – and that the packaging had changed by 1961 – so this booklet dates from some time in between. I conject on the earlier side.
In the days before widespread refrigeration, traditional cheeses sweated, went oily, cracked, and quickly went stale. Jack Butland combated this problem by experimenting with additives, and found that adding amounts of sodium or potassium phosphate would make the cheese smooth textured and spreadable – and it would actually keep well, remaining moist and hygienic.

Chesdale Cheese, between 1949 and 1951. From cover of Four Square Stores promotional jigsaw puzzle envelope.  Ref: Eph-F-GAMES-1950s-05-cover. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

He was obviously already successful, but his was his big breakthrough. He sold it wrapped in aluminium foil, in an 8 ounce cardboard carton and later in disc shaped boxes as per the ad.

He was eventually knighted mainly for his significant philanthropic contributions some time before he passed away in 1982.
Chesdale was sold to Kraft in 1981 and then sold to Heinz Wattie in 1995. It currently is owned by New Zealand Milk Brands Limited. Chesdale is still in production today, however it also has an enormous market in the Middle East.
Chesdale is of course now considered an icon of Kiwiana, mostly for the famous Ches and Dale character TV commercials – of course they came much later in around 1968, created by advertising agency Dormer Beck -which I have a long story coming up on next week, so I will cover it in more depth then.

Sugary Strategies And Delicious Devices

In Dairy, Dairy Products, Desserts, Fonterra, Frozen Foods, Ice Cream, Peter Pan ice cream, Tip-Top on September 5, 2011 at 10.46

I previously wrote about the Peter Pan brand initially here in April 2011 https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/neverbland/ and then here again https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/petering-out/ in June 2011.
Until now I have had little to work with, but today came some big breakthroughs on finding information – and it seems like the brand may have been around for quite a while before Tom and Hayden Denne became famous for their ice cream. Ah, the pitfalls of research. Time and again I’ve experienced that just one missing letter can make or break, when it comes to tracking down historical data. I guess it’s not my fault that I didn’t guess Haden actually had a Y in it since the information was passed from someone else who knew them both.

I’ll post some more soon when the dots are joined – but in the meantime , here is yet another poster I have recreated from the low res photos of the 1960s Peter Pan series that someone was auctioning off on Trademe a while back.
Peter Pan seemed to have cornered the market in kitschy novelty product in their day, and one gimmick was moulded candies ( “honey bunnies” and “dolly lollies”) impregnated inside the confection such as here with the Hello Dolly product.

A friend remembers having one of them as a child, recalling a blue-coloured iceblock or ice cream –  placing the time in the early to mid-1960s. In the case of this particular product and its accompanying promo material, it would have been produced to profiteer off the back of the movie starring Audrey Hepburn which was released in 1969.

More on the Peter Pan brand and my ongoing series of recreations later in the year.

Bite Size: Blossom Dairy

In Anchor, Butter, cheese, Dairy, Fonterra, Goodman Fielder on August 8, 2011 at 10.46


The Anchor brand was born in 1886 in a dairy factory at Pukekura, created by Henry Reynolds who arrived from Cornwall in 1868. By the 1880s he was dairy farming in the Waikato and established a small dairy factory. The brand name was allegedly inspired by a tattoo on the arm of one of his workers. It has become one of this country’s longest-lived and best-known trademarks – for cheese, dried milk and yoghurt products, and even at one point dried fruit and baking powder – as well as the famous butter.

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A highly innovative and efficient approach, based on farmer-owned co-operative companies, enabled dairying to grow into New Zealand’s most important industry. The production of butter and cheese flourished and by 1920, there were 600 dairy processing factories throughout New Zealand of which approximately 85% were co-operative-based.

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anchor-butter-card-poster-smaller
The milk brands from the New Zealand Dairy Group, the original long term holders, is now owned by Fonterra, which owns, well- just about every brand that Goodman Fielder doesn’t have, it seems. So it’s fitting that GF own the butter and cheese brands. Ah, butter and cheese….Fonterra and Goodman Fielder. You know what they say about the lesser of two evils.

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Two of these cardboard point-of-sale posters were listed on Trademe last week and I’ve recreated it from a low res snapshot. I love the strong, clean graphics and bright colours. Anchor is yet another iconic New Zealand brand with a large story which I will no doubt take up again at a later date.

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

The Creamy Dragon Strikes Again

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Weekly News, Feb 29 1956.

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

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

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

Neverbland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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