longwhitekid

Archive for the ‘Goodman Fielder’ Category

The Bugle Boy of Company F: Creamoata and Sergeant Dan

In Bluebird Foods Ltd, breakfast, Cereal, Champion Flour, Chandler & Co, Charlotte Lilian Lawlor, Cream O' Groats, Creamoata, Doctor's Cream O' Groats, Fleming & Co, Fleming & Gilkinson, Fleming and Company Limited, Fleming Gray and Company, Goodman Fielder, Milk Oaties, Nestlé, Northern Roller Mills (NRM), Oatie-Nuts, Sergeant Dan, Sergeant Dan's Stockfoods Ltd, Snowball Flour, Sweet Heart O' Wheat, Thistle Oatmeal, Thomas Fleming, Uncle Toby's on July 25, 2012 at 10.46

I purchased these scraps of a disintegrating Fleming & Co “Milk Oaties” box from one of my favourite dealers . He always comes with the most incredible stuff – I have no idea where he finds it (and I wouldn’t dare to ask). I have only seen one before in the last five years that I can recall – it was whole but faded. Any of the original Fleming boxes usually sell for a competitive price since the chances anyone would keep one for decades is highly unlikely – and means they are rare and desirable examples of early New Zealand packaging.
Anyway, nobody else looking at this would bother, but I could see the potential to patch it back together digitally and restore it and so it was won for a nominal price with no interest at all from other parties. According to my database this design was definitely in production between the years 1938 to 1941 – probably a little earlier, as well as later.

Thomas Fleming (1848-1930) is now considered the major pioneer of the milling industry in New Zealand. His parents arrived to New Zealand from Scotland in 1862 with several children and another on the way.
Although he initially had jobs in other fields, such as gardener and cowboy, – around 1870 whilst visiting his brother in Oamaru on the lower west coast of the South Island, he got a job harvesting, in the wheat industry in nearby Totara.

Late 1950s- early 1960s interpretation of Sergeant Dan from a Happy Families card game set issued by Four Square.  

a

Quickly progressing to working in the company’s Kakanui Mill (another source says it was Maheno Valley flourmill, now a well-known heritage building standing as Clark’s Mill ), he had the foresight of great opportunity and had subsequently roped his brother in before the year was out to learn the milling trade with plans for great future success.
His vision was true – within three years he had been promoted to manager. In 1875 he left to manage another mill owned by a certain John Murdoch situated in Invercargill, and no more than a year later he found himself – with his new partners, the freshly formed Fleming Gray and Company – the owner of it. Not long passed before not only were they bringing some serious competition to the local industry – but they were also buying up smaller mills for their market share.

Advert from a Self Help Co-op cookbook 1939, showcasing the range of Fleming & Co products of that time.

a

By 1879 they had purchased their first major mill which was to become the original landmark of the brand. Now known as the “Former Fleming & Co Flour Mill“- it is situated on the corner of Conon and Tyne Streets. His brother in law (Peter Lindsay Gilkison, 1846-1924)  joined him in 1882 to form Fleming & Gilkinson. When the mostly wooden structure burned down in 1889 it was rebuilt as a four story brick building with improved technology, such as its own electrical generator to run the more efficient new machinery – while their other major mills in Gore, Winton and Mataura kept up the production load until things were back in order. This building still stands today:

http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=2463

Fleming & Co Creamoata Oat Mill in Gore, the Fletcher Trust Archive, 9204P-94.

a

Like the story of many phenomenal industry successes, the entrepreneurial Fleming had a keen interest in innovative technology and marketing – and took many lengthy trips abroad to investigate these aspects. With the completely modernised plant the company was now producing the whitest, finest flour on the market – not mention the most. The combined wood of the building, the heat of the machinery and production as well as the flour dust were a combustible recipe for disaster but out of the flames was borne the cement of Fleming’s empire.
By this time, having wiped out all competition – they were the only operating flour mill in the area, having eventually bought out all the others, and shut down many of the smaller ones; and oat production was relegated to Gore where it remained hereon for well over the next century.
In 1902 Fleming bought out Gilkinson who went on to establish Southland Frozen Meat Company – and became Fleming and Company Limited. , consisting of himself, his son-in-law John Rennie, who in his own right was a serious player in the industry as manager of the local branch of the New Zealand Flour Millers’ Association; and also William Fleming, (1881-1927), one of his sons.

Fleming’s advertisement for the Thistle brand oat products, September 1936.

a

In 1912 Fleming retired and sold his shares in the firm to his sons Andrew, William (and possibly another son Herbert) Fleming as well as partner and relative Rennie. Because the brand was by now a household name subsequent owners over time wisely kept the Fleming name.
However it’s the later, much-photographed lemon-coloured Creamoata Mill that gained iconic status with its mascot emblazoned on the side for all to see. Although the earliest parts of the Gore oat-focussed mill had their foundations in 1893, Fleming extensively rebuilt the newer building emblazoned with the Sergeant Dan character in 1919, probably in relation to their hugely successful new invention Creamoata being released the year previously, and the structure, now known as the “Creamoata Mill Complex”, still stands today with a Category I heritage listing.

http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=7470&m=advanced

Fleming promotion included secreting illustrated, collectible recipe cards in the boxes of Milk Oaties and Sweet Heart O’ Wheat, 1933

a

Creamoata was of course the most famous and successful of all their products, and seems to make its first appearance 1909 – it was a finely ground rolled oats product which produced a creamier variety of porridge – an instant hit for the morning meal. It was supposedly considered the “national breakfast” as claimed on their packaging for decades (debatable – many may say that title is owned by Weet-Bix which was around in Aotearoa almost as long) however over the years Fleming produced and marketed many brands including self-named Fleming wholemeal and white flours, Thistle brand rolled Oats and Oatmeal, Breakfast foods and cereals such as Cream O’ Groats, Milk Oaties, Oatie-Nuts and Sweet Heart O’ Wheat (a semolina product also popular for desserts), and the Snowball brand wheatmeal and white flours. Doctor’s Cream O’ Groats was another that was likely a short-lived product of the 1940s.

Creamoata advertisement, Evening Post, March 1933

a

The origin of Sergeant Dan is apparently well documented. By the early 1900s New Zealand writer Charlotte Lilian Lawlor was working in advertising copy and design. It wasn’t until around 1913 when she moved to Auckland to work for agency Chandler & Co, that she was eventually in a position to be handed the Fleming & Co Creamoata account – and seemingly in the very early 1920s came up with the idea of the little character to bolster sales of the product. However  as early as 1915 he appears in a newspaper advertisement with one of his signature chirpy poems, so from then on the boy soldier with a big appetite for porridge became the mascot, and was plastered on various merchandise from board games to bowls – of which there is a series of him participating in different types of sports – now highly collectable and the rarer ones going for quite high prices amongst collectors:
“Breakfast tables throughout the nation were presided over by Sergeant Dan, the Creamoata Man. With his digger’s hat, he was the picture of what a plate of porridge could do for a kid. And when you got to the bottom, if you had one of the special plates, there was Dan himself, grinning all over.”

Front of a Creamoata box circa 1950s with the more human version of Sergeant Dan as a boy scout.

a

According to the Historic Places Trust, Sergeant Dan is “as well-known an image in popular culture as Buzzy Bee or an Edmonds Baking Powder tin”. I don’t know if that is true. I don’t recall him at all to be honest – and he may possibly be up there in Kiwiana Icons for Baby Boomers but I doubt that generally he would rank into the top ten amongst thongs, pavlovas, fern leaves and the odd brand name food items that would make it in like Tip-Top, for example. However Creamoata per se was well enough known that it was issued as an eighty cent stamp by NZ Post within their “Millenium Series” under a sub-category of six “Food Nostalgia” designs.

The Creamoata  Mill Complex today is owned by a new company making stockfoods under the Sergeant Dan mascot.

a

The last Fleming family members disposed of their interests in the company in 1953 and the business was sold to Northern Roller Mills (NRM) which later became part of Champion, another older mill company going back to at least the 1890s which had become a subsidiary of Wattie’s.

An early version of Sergeant Dan, probably in the 1920s not long after Charlotte Lilian Lawlor created him. 

a

I certainly remember Fleming products in the kitchen cupboards at home into at least the late 1970s for morning porridge; in particular packets of Thistle rolled oats – with a Highlander emblazoned on it – I think it was a blue, green, pink and white print on clear cellophane wrapper.

An Australian version of Creamoata signage. Apparently this one in Carlton, Melbourne was painted owner by the new owners of the building not long after this photo was taken.

a

Production was shifted overseas under the Uncle Toby’s brand when Goodman Fielder stepped into the picture and took over from Nestlé in 2006 – up until this time the products had continued to be manufactured domestically in Gore. In late 2008 they confirmed that Creamoata was going to be off the shelves by early 2009 when stock ran down.

Fleming’s “Stirring Times” recipe booklet, 1927. Alexander Turnbull Library collection, B-K 879.

a

The only remnants of the Fleming brand remaining today, besides the mill buildings, is a line of health snack bars under the name which have been marketed since the 1980s – and at this time under the auspices of the Bluebird company.

The tennis version of another well-known Creamoata promotional  campaign – there were several Sergeant Dan sports activity plates to collect.

a

”“Now he is a full grown man, But there’s still a Sergeant Dan!
Just like Dan in years gone by – Quick of wit, alert and spry!
“I advise,” he loves to say, “Some Cweamoata every day!

 Creamoata  advertisement, probably circa early 1960s, shows Sergeant Dan has disappeared. Ref Eph-C-THORP-03, Alexander Turnbull Library collection.

a

I’m not sure what era this jingle was from – but the indication of “growing up” probably interprets the period when Sergeant Dan morphed into a more adult, realistic boy scout in the fifties and, then slipped off the packages for good probably sometime by the mid 1960s to be relegated to history. Not entirely though – Sergeant Dan’s Stockfoods Ltd now occupies the later factory and make horse and calf food under the branding of the character.

Creamoata eighty cent stamp by NZ Post within their “Millenium Series ” under a sub-category of six “Food Nostalgia” designs, issued in 1999.

a

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).

a

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.

a

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.

a

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.

a

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.

a

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

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

a

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

a

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.

a

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.

a

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.

a

Small printed metal Acto tin, probably mid 1960s.

a

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.

a

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.

a

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).

a

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

a

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

a

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”.

a

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

a
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.

a

a

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.

a

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.

a 

a

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

a

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.

a


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.

a

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.

a

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.

a

a

a

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

Ain’t No Sunshine

In Desserts, Goodman Fielder, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Sunshine, Tucker on June 3, 2011 at 10.46

Occasionally at IPONZ they will actually post a grainy, low quality scan of the product packaging which has been trademarked, and that is where I grabbed this from and recreated it from scratch.
Sunshine was a long established brand by W.F. Tucker and Co., Ltd, based in Grafton, Auckland. I’ve found advertisements going back to the mid 1890s for their baking and custard powders under “Tucker’s” – although it took a good twenty or more years for the “Sunshine”  brand to gradually come into its own. By the early 1900s they are manufacturing jelly crystals, which is what most people remember them for.


“Sunshine” jelly crystals  packaging, 1964

Amongst the fourteen delicious jelly flavours on offer from Sunshine by 1917 were “Champagne” as well as “Calves Feet” (ew! I guess aspic meals were all the rage at the time) and their 1919 announcement of their kidney flavour soup declares it a “masterpiece of flavour” (the jury is still out on that one).
By the late teens a serious product expansion was underway and instant milk puddings and soups were added as well as the twee “Fairy”, “Splendo”, and “Elfin” desserts. Eventually by the 1960s they had branched into instant rice and pasta-based meals, cereals, drinks, canned goods, dressings and spreads – with varying success.


Tucker’s “Sunshine” jelly crystals  packaging, 1909

Sometime In the mid 1970s Tucker was sold to Bluebird Foods and in turn passed to Goodman Fielder, of which Bluebird was probably already a division. Trademark records from 1974 show that classes of products were split across two companies.
Most people think of “Sunshine” and remember a wobbly gelatin confection on the dessert menu. Baby Boomers will also recall their well-known peanut butter. We were mainly a “Greggs” household so I don’t remember “Sunshine”  other than for their boxed risotto and milk powder. I was under the assumption that the brand still existed in at least instant rice meals but it seems it is now defunct.


Tucker’s “Sunshine” custard powder packaging, 1911

I’ve got a lot more stuff on “Sunshine”  so you can look forward to a couple more posts of packaging recreations in the future.

When Lactose Goes

In cheese, Co-operative Dairy Company of Otago Ltd, Goodman Fielder, Hocken Library and Archives, Huia on May 31, 2011 at 10.46

Sadly, sometimes my attempt to uncover information about a long-lost brand just simply reaches a dead end, before it’s even started. Point in case – is this packaged cheese brand. Someone was selling a box on-line a few weeks ago and I have faithfully recreated the carton design as best I can from the blurry snap.
I estimate it’s from the late 1940s to late 1950s but it looks like this brand was around for a long time – let’s face it – people starting new brands in that era wouldn’t exactly consider two extinct birds a state-of-the-art product push.
My best source ended up being an early book by Kiwiana impressario Richard Wolfe, “Well-Made NZ: A Century of Trademarks” published in 1987. I have to say that, while it is inconveniently denoted into grouped themes, and with no real index, or order either numeric or alphabetical to go by – it’s actually turned out to be a damn good resource over the years; and this is my second purchase of the same book.

Anyway, this tome told me that the only Huia brand (there were many) that was manufacturing dairy product was The Co-operative Dairy Company of Otago Ltd, Castle Street in Dunedin, and dates the logo to 1926.
The first dairy co-operative was established in Otago in 1871. By 1920, there were 600 dairy processing factories throughout New Zealand of which about 85% were owned co-operatively. the NZ Truth, 13 December 1924 discusses the company in an article quite sarcastic of tone entitled “IS THIS CO-OPERATION OR CAPITALISM?” Well, excuse me.
Fred Waite, (1885–1952, farmer, politician, and historian) was behind the formation of the Co-op and since he really didn’t take up dairying until returning from service around 1918, it cannot have existed before then, which cuts it down to around 8 years or less before it is sold off.


I found a registered trademark at the NZ Intellectual Property Office, but like all in their database, it does not give years unfortunately. It is listed under the actual company name first with no trademark, as “revoked “; and then the below logo (I guessed dated mid to late 1920s , I wasn’t far off), as “expired” under Goodman Fielder New Zealand Limited. It seems they still own the rights and it sits idle.
Just previous to WWII saw rise in popularity of a recent phenomenon – DIY shopping – in chains like Star Stores, Self Help , and Four Square to name some of the few. I can imagine after the war, with rationing restrictions loosened and an exploding demand for new products, GF took their humble Co-op purchase out of its tin milk cans and greasy paper – turning the brand commercial with processed convenience foods such as this foil wrapped flavoured sandwich spread.

The Alexander Turnbull Library has a butter packaging collection, which contains a Huia wrapper dated 1970-1971 which reads “Huia pure creamery butter. The Co-operative Dairy Co. of Otago Ltd, Dunedin. 1 lb. nett. Also ask for Huia reconstituted cream; it whips – packed in 4 oz & 8 oz tins.” It’s great an accurate date is provided, but without more of them, it’s hard to figure out the story of what happened to this brand as it was clearly passed from one owner to the next – as companies merged and changed hands on a more corporate level. GF rivals Fonterra for its trading and decimation of brands making it nearly impossible to unravel some of these stories.

And that is all. Apart from this – In an interesting turn of events that make a full circle of the brand and history – The Hocken Library and Archives is now housed in the old Otago Co-operative Dairy Company building on Anzac Avenue, North Dunedin after an 8 million dollar refurbishment recently.

a

a

a

Addendum, early May 2014: Since publishing this short article way back when – I’ve come into a few items regarding Huia cheese, which are posted below. It seems that the packaging had changed around 1960, as evidenced by the adverts below which show a different design in use. So I stand by my estimation of the date I quote above. The packet I originally posted would be from the 1950s – more the later end.

I made several mistakes with the packaging as well as the article (early days!) as noted in the comments section by a number of people. It is, in retrospect, a pretty poor effort with the focus on my recreation work. I am pretty thorough these days, and so usually things are fairly accurate (although people just love to tell you when you have messed it up). However, as far as I recall the information came from a variety of articles on Papers Past and as such contemporary reportage is more accurate than “retelling” by anyone.

That said, I am not really interested in backtracking and completely re-writing/researching this piece all over again because I know what I am like, I will read hundreds of articles and leave no stone unturned until I get the full story – a big job – and the idea is just tiresome right now. We will just have to put it down to being a not very good attempt due to lack of experience at that time and move on.

One important thing to note, which made it confusing to date the original box I posted at the top of the article is – that Goodman Fielder didn’t acquire the rights to Huia probably until some time in the 1980s. Occasionally I have to go out on a limb to fill in details when I recreate designs, and since both the Huia logos I have were registered to GF, I put their name on the box. This was wrong, very wrong. All were honest mistakes, I swear.

Huia cheese box recreation and sides CROPPED sml

Some adjustments to the box I originally posted – now with a male Huia at front instead of two females – the latter always have long, arched beaks. I’ve also corrected the company name.

a

Huia cheese box recreation red brown version copy

The Founders Heritage Park in Nelson has this red and brown version of the same box I originally posted, in their their ol’ timey general store display. This one circa mid-late 1950s. I have no idea why they produced the exact same product in a different colour variation box. The only thing I can think of is the colours were revised as a step towards the more modern look of the next design which had red in it. Perhaps at this point the long-running blue and yellow seemed a bit old-fashioned.

a

Huia Pasteurised Cheese box TOP edit prob 1950s sml

A Huia pasteurised cheese box top, likely early 1950s. Image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection. This was in a large collection of packaging items dating from the late 1940s through to the early 1970s – but the bulk was compiled between the early 1950s and early 1960s. 

a

Huia Cheese Spread - Festival Time magazine 1962 - Owain Morris Collection sml

Huia Cheese Spread advert, Festival Time magazine, 1962. Image courtesy of Owain Morris Collection.

a

Huia Cream & Onion Cheese Spread, Co-Operative Dairy Company of Otago Ltd Anzac Avenue 1960 edit sml

Huia canned cream and cheese spread advert, unknown Dunedin magazine, 1960. Note the new box design present – nowhere near as attractive as the old one. Image courtesy of Owain Morris Collection.

a

Vintage Huia Cream Tin Lid vintage add to Longwhitekid updates edit copy

Addendum, late Oct 2015: The above Huia canned cream lid, probably dates from the 1960s. I don’t quite understand how these tins worked; as you see in the early 1960s ad previous, the cream came in a regular machine-sealed, perfectly hygienic can the same as any other product. However later they seemingly changed to this design in which a close-fitting cap slipped over a tin base, seemingly not permanently sealed. Provenance of above image unknown.

The below image shows that further to this  at some time the tin had a weird flared lip added (I think the correct  description is the unfortunate term ‘flange’) which doesn’t shed any light on how it either opened, let alone stayed shut with perishable liquid in it. Go figure. Maybe someone here can enlighten us on this contraption. This image courtesy of Graeme aka thegrayman at  The Oddity, Waikouaiti.

a

Huia Cream tin lid 4ozs net Produced by Co-Operative Diary Company of New Zealand 1 edit

a

a

a

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

Pigs Sometimes Do Fly

In Goodman Fielder, Kiwi Bacon Company, smallgoods on April 21, 2011 at 10.46


…especially if they’re a bird. I happened across this ad on my interweb travels, hilarious and another instant Kiwi classic in my opinion, so I am sharing it here!
Marketed as “the taste of New Zealand”, Kiwi bacon is very much an iconic national brand – and the factories were famous country wide for their gigantic statues of the flightless recluse perched on the rooves, a point of reference for many miles around .

Kiwi Bacon Factory roof, Kingsland, photo © Geoffrey H. Short, 1988

There was a significant smallgoods factory at 317 New North Road in the Auckland suburb of Kingsland. The large fibreglass Kiwi and neon sign on the roof of the building was an urban landmark dating from around 1960. There was a time that it rotated, but it had broken down many years before I can remember it in the late 1970’s. We could always see the iconic bird from my aunt’s house below and I remember it being taken away at the end of the 1980’s when the factory closed it’s doors – it was a sad day. I believe the death knell was a fire, and the building was later restored to become office for Fairfax Publications.

a

 Image © Gae Rusk, 1983. The author described this as a  Kiwi Bacon Factory, in Christchurch. It’s been pointed out to me by an observant longwhitekid reader that this was not a factory, just a sign on top of a well-known building. There was a Christchurch branch and factory somewhere as evidenced by a trademark being registered by Kiwi Bacon (Christchurch) Ltd. It looks like that division made Kiwi sausages from the beginning of the sixties until perhaps some time in the nineties.  I’ll look into it some more, when I revisit this brand in another future post.

The official site states that the brand has been serving New Zealanders since 1932, but clearly before the characteristics were completely crystallized in the pantheon of Kiwiana, the company had already been in existence for some time. Kim Salamonson, the reference and archives librarian at Havelock North library, who also edits the blog for the Landmark Local History Group in Hastings, writes: ” Early in the 1900s an uncle of my grandfather’s, Mr. Martin, who owned the original Kiwi Bacon Co in Palmerston North, invited my grandfather, and his Family to emigrate to New Zealand , to eventually take over the Kiwi Bacon Co.”  Milton in the South Island was also a significant factory until the early 1980’s, one of the town’s main employers along with Bruce Woollen Mills. There were probably several in locations convenient to livestock produce.
a

Independent for many years, as the registry at The New Zealand Intellectual Property Office attests, Kiwi is currently a division of Goodman Fielder Commercial NZ Ltd (originally famous for their cornflour, it has become over the years a brand snaffler to rival Fonterra – having at one time or another acquired Irvines, Diamond, Frosty Boy, Mainland, Wattie’s, Ernest Adams, Hansells, and Bluebird, amongst others).
Kiwi Bacon playing cards were produced for decades as a promotional item and regularly come up on Trademe and Ebay albeit variations – I have a record of several different versions of the design and I will do a post devoted to them later in the year.