Archive for the ‘Jellies’ Category

A Match Made In Kitchens: Gregg’s and Holst

In Alison Holst, Alison's Choice Wholefoods, Cookery books, Diamond Pasta, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Gee Oh Gee drink, Gregg & Co, Gregg's, Gregg's jelly crystals, Instant Desserts, Instant Drinks, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Seameal pudding, Timaru Milling Co, Trigon oven bags on October 2, 2013 at 10.46

Gregg's - Alison Holst - Meals In Minutes recipe pamphlet late 1960s - instant pudding EDIT more copy

One of six colour product/recipe DLs that comprised Alison Holst’s “Meals In a Minute”, all featuring a Gregg’s product of the early 1970s.


Here we have two of New Zealand’s greatest food icons together; Gregg’s instant pudding and Alison Holst. Well actually, it’s debatable whether the pudding is actual food, come to think of it. I’ve already elucidated on my family’s opinions on the former here; my grandmother highly disapproved, and my mother insisted on making her own bizarre version – yet both kept the Gregg’s one in the cupboard for occasional use (why, I don’t know).

Gregg's instant pudding five pairs LIME CHOCOLATE wm copy

Note: Due to repetitive theft by those who take my intellectual property from this blog without my permission, and reproduce it as merchandise for sale on sites such as Ebay, Redbubble and Trade Me,  I have now watermarked this image. If you are interested in purchasing merch of this image you can head to my personal Redbubble store.

Anyway, let’s call it as it is – they were disgusting, in particular I remember the orange one was gross. Maybe they’ve improved now since they are still being produced today with the (pretension to) more gourmet-style flavours like Dark chocolate mousse, Banoffee, Choc-a -lot with choc chips, Strawberry swirl smoothie, Choco-fudge, and Vanilla creme.

Gregg's instant pudding five pairs CARAMEL RASPBERRY wm copy

All of these Gregg’s instant pudding boxes date from the late 1970s and were digitally recreated from just one jaffa flavour box (below left).


Gregg's instant pudding five pairs JAFFA LEMON wmj copy

It is ironic that a product designed to be so cursory in its creation has stood longer than so many others. The earliest record I have for this Gregg’s product is “instant milk puddings” of the 1930s, being produced in tandem with that eighty year old classic Seameal, a dessert that has also truly stood the test of time – as I was amazed recently to find out is still being produced today (rather like Bushell’s essence of coffee and chicory, I am not really sure who buys it, or why – but someone must). And they went from strength to strength; the range of flavours growing every decade from there and probably peaking in the 1980s. Now the range is pretty small in comparison to times gone by and definitely reflects changing tastes, or rather – those dictated.

Gregg's instant pudding five pairs ORANGE COCONUT wm copy

Like the lifespan of the Gregg’s product under discussion here, the other topic of this post has also gone the distance and more. In a career that has lasted nearly fifty years as a celebrity chef in New Zealand, Alison Holst (now Dame, thank you very much) has issued about 100 cookbooks, her first was the best-selling “Cooking with Alison Holst: Here’s How” published in 1966 a year after she started appearing on her own television show. Probably the fact that TV was pretty much in its infancy and she didn’t have a lot of competition bar Graham Kerr, had something to do with her astounding success.

Gregg's instant pudding five pairs VANILLA STRAWBERRY wm copy

That said, she may have been around for half a century – but except that I know she had some kind of pikelet mix in the 1980s and 90s, I’ve never really paid that much attention to her to be honest. All I know is that she’s tall, affable and not very drunk on television. So basically a sober Julia Child, which is kind of boring. In her article here, Aimie Cronin makes it out a number of times, to be extraordinary that Holst, for all her success and bigcheesery (yes, that is a word, because I say) is just so…pedestrian. When in fact, as well all know – in reality there’s nothing exciting about being dull and humble .

Woman's Weekly Dec 3 1973 - TRIGON GIANT ROASTIN' BAGS ALISON HOLST    (6)

One of Alison Holst’s adverts from her Trigon endorsement, Woman’s Weekly magazine, December 1973.


On the up side, it can be respected that at least she’s not some vapid attention seeking fiend who got famous and built her brand off a reality show. Holst has a solid academic grounding having graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Home Science, then studied teaching before she began lecturing in the Foods Department at the School of Home Science; all of this before stardom came around. Finally in 1997 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from Otago University.

Meals With The Family 1967 - Here's How 1966 - by Alison Holst  copy

Alison Holst’s first best-seller “Here’s How” (1966) at left, and her second book on the right “Meals With the Family” (1967). She has since published almost one hundred titles.


At this point in time – she’s now 75 years old – her cookbook sales have surpassed four and a half million units and her business continues to thrive with her Alison’s Choice line of wholefoods – a range she has had on the market through Foodstuffs NZ Ltd (Four Square, PAK’nSAVE, Pam’s, etc) since 1994. In addition she now has a mail order business , Alison Holst Online selling her books, knife sets, cookware and accessories with son Simon (whom she has co-authored several tomes with).

Woman's Weekly Dec 3 1973 - - GREGG'S JELLY CRYSTALS - ALISON HOLST edit copy

One of Alison Holst’s adverts from her W. Gregg & Co endorsement, also from Woman’s Weekly magazine, December 1973.


These boxes are from the 1970s, and in fact I only had the Jaffa one – and made the rest following the list of flavours in my database as a guide to recreate the whole range (if anything is missing, please let me know). The pudding recipe ephemera was part a set of six glossy DL-shaped slips in bright colours that were issued in a paper sheath as “Meals in Minutes” compliments of Gregg’s, and featured six different products they were producing at the time – including a drink called Gee Oh Gee which I don’t recall at all but apparently was around at least ten years. It’s an unusual format and was perhaps slipped in a magazine like Woman’s Weekly as a giveaway promo, or maybe into one of Alison’s cookbooks – it’s hard to tell what it’s exact purpose was. During this period Holst also endorsed Diamond products (pasta by the Timaru Milling Co.) and Trigon range of oven bags and the like. The same publicity shots were used for other Gregg’s ads in 1973 so that and the swingin’ fonts used are a pretty good indication of date.




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


A Sugar-Sprinkled Universe

In Canned Goods, Desserts, Frozen Foods, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, Ice Cream, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Pudding, Sunshine, Sunshine Chiffon Whip, Sunshine Jelly, Tip-Top, Tucker, W.F. Tucker & Co, Wattie Cannery Ltd, Wattie's on June 5, 2013 at 10.46

Spacetaste 100 dpi 30 x 21 cm sml WATERMARK copy

Note: Due to repetitive theft by those who take my intellectual property from this blog without my permission, and reproduce it as merchandise for sale on sites such as Ebay, Redbubble and Trade Me,  I have now watermarked this image. If you are interested in purchasing merch of this image you can head to my personal Redbubble store.

Here is a recreation of a cardboard point-of-sale poster that was sold on Trade Me a few years back, and I have redrawn it from a photograph that accompanied the auction at that time. I suppose it was intended to give housewives dessert ideas – hopefully prompted by kids pulled in by the space theme; a popular mode of advertising that more or less took over from aviation to up-sell everything from jelly to drinks to cereals, in the second half of the 20th century. I started this a couple of years back and it was when I was just changing over to using vector-based graphics so it’s a bit raggedy compared to my usual standard.
I’m taking a guess that this poster dates from around the mid 1970s, given what I know of the brands, products and logos – but mostly indicated by the font styles. Here we have three of New Zealand’s most enormous brands of the time – together in one advertisement, bouncing off each other in a friendly joust.

Sunshine Chiffon Whip (1963) W F Tucker edit copy sml

Advert for Chiffon Whip, 1963. The product was two years old at this point, and lasted well into the 1970s.


I’ve previously written briefly on the Sunshine brand here, and recreated jelly crystal boxes here, and here.

It was an Auckland-based company owned by W.F. Tucker – and in particular baby boomers will remember Sunshine well for their custard powder, jelly crystals and peanut butter which were very popular through the 1940s to the 1970s – although the company were around a lot longer than that and started using the Sunshine name as far back as the 1910s. The company did a variety of instant desserts and Chiffon Whip was launched in 1961 in flavours lemon, orange, raspberry, and eventually marshmallow.

Watties Sliced Peaches 1 lb Label recreation copy

This Watties design was on the shelves in the early-mid 1960s.


What else is there to say about Wattie’s? I know I’ve done more than several posts, such as fruit-related ones here, here, and here…and I keep saying I am going to get around to some kind of feature on what is probably Aotearoa’s biggest brand of all time. But lately I’ve been thinking …do I really need to? Books have been written and I’m not sure I have anything to add. It would depend on any new information I can scrape up. And quite frankly, looking at the archives there just may not be a lot of that – given that Wattie’s seemed to feel no need to advertise their wares or have any of their business reported on, until well after WWII, when part and full page ads for the product start to appear (I suspect their major contracts with the government suddenly ending had some bearing on this change). Apparently until that point they were so successful so quickly there was no reason to do so. Anyway, it’s a daunting task to consider writing a full article on this topic, and I guess if somebody really wants to know all about it – they could buy Geoff Conley’s book (1984) which is not that hard to find to this day.

watties can fruit -tip top ice cream - sunshine jelly sml

The original picture I redrew the poster from.


I have had a story half -prepped on Tip-Top for ages but again it’s a tall mountain to climb. However I feel there’s a lot of things that need to be set straight and expanded on. The most detailed article I have seen on the brand was a fairly brief and pretty stock standard issue from the PR department on the 75th anniversary of the brand, for one of those weekend-type magazines like Canvas – and I think quite inadequate given the iconic status of the product – and the archive of material they have at their disposal.

TIP TOP Classic  60's sign Double sided  Measures 460mm x 600mm EDIT copy

Tip-Top tin signage manufactured for dairies of the 1960s.


That’s all from me for this week. Come July it will be difficult to focus on this blog as I’ll be back to studying however you can expect briefer, probably picture-based stories and maybe some longer ones if I have time to finish up on them – the James Smith Ltd department store, Aulsebrook’s, commercial artists Alison Fyfe and Bernard Roundhill, and a couple of amazing caches of retro advertising and packaging stuff that have recently been found around the country.

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

Self-Sourcing Pudding: Sutherland’s Success

In Custard, Desserts, Fuller Fulton Stores, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Poplar Stores, Self Help Stores, Sutherland Trust on May 27, 2012 at 10.46

A reproduction I have created of a custard powder can label.  This was in use between 1938-1943 that I know of.


I’m just going to keep this story of Self Help brief , so I can do a longer, detailed one later in the year with more images. I’m going to focus on the Self Help brand of custard and jelly; I have recreated the box design of their 1936 jelly crystals from a newspaper ad, and also the label from the late 1930s-early 1940s custard powder tin.

This custard container came up on Trademe as part of a larger lot a few months ago and someone else got it. They probably only wanted the variety of Edmonds tins with it, and had no interest in this one or even knew what it was – however I’ve been able to reconstruct the design from the picture. I’ve never seen another one before since.

Evening Post , March 1942 


I do own a couple of 1930s Self Help cook books which are fairly hard to get hold of. They are quite recent purchases of mine – and as such I haven’t really gone through them yet to see what’s in there regarding ads and stuff; Apart from that examples of the early packaging are amazingly far and few between, for what was once one of New Zealand’s biggest and longest running chain food Stores – and spanning nearly half a century. Occasionally a 1949 board game called “Rugger”, which they issued for the All Blacks tour of South Africa,  pops up for auction – but they didn’t have a wide variety of promotional items to the extent of Four Square stores.

A reproduction I have created of a 1938 jelly crystal box. I have based the colours on the custard can label. The packaging was different in 1935, and had changed again in 1936. 


Self Help was started in 1922 and by the early 1940s there were around 200 stores dotted about the country; but yet again it’s another brand that is unbelievably almost forgotten today. Apart from their own brand stores they had many more that didn’t go under the Self Help name such as Poplar Stores and Fuller-Fulton’s which I covered here mid- last year :


Self Help custard and De-Luxe fruit extract. De-Luxe was another Self Help brand of the 1930s-1940s which also included jelly crystals, culinary essences, coffee, biscuits, coffee essence, and chocolate bars. Evening Post, January 1941. 


The business was founded by Ben Sutherland who attempted to create a food co-op for the workers at New Zealand Railways where he worked. After decades with the organisation he was near retirement and his concept was a bit of a gamble to say the least. He found there was little support for his idea and scant interest in the shares that were being offered.

Nine flavours of jelly crystals, Evening Post, January 1938. 


Apparently in some sort of conflict with Railways management of over this issue, he ended up leaving not long after – and branched out on his own. In just over a year later he had seven stores and more on the way. The philosophy of the Self Help stores was to sell goods to the public for as little profit as possible, which sounds pretty ridiculous now in a world of corporate fat cats that only care for high margins. As a result the brand was embraced immediately, outside of his former organisation, and became hugely successful.

 Self Help store on the west side of Main Street, Upper Hutt, circa 1950. Courtesy of  Upper Hutt  City Library collection ref P2-162-274


Eventually Self Help was one of the biggest chain stores in New Zealand, just behind Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd’s Four Square stores. Not long after Woolworths launched their first dedicated food store at New Lynn’s Lynnmall in 1963 and were in the process of taking over the country, they purchased the Self Help chain in 1971 and quickly phased it out – replacing all the stores with their own brand.

Five flavours of Self Help  Custard , Evening Post, September 1937.


The legacy lives on today in the Sutherland Trust which has distributed the equivalent of around sixty five million dollars to various charities. Although their endeavours quickly made the Sutherland family wealthy themselves – it’s a rare “feelgood story” of people that just wanted to help others have a better quality life. And it was successful in all respects and continues to be so. Thankfully every once in a while even today there are still people that have that idea in mind; instead of corporate profit margins- a better world for all.

Addendum mid-June 2012: I acquired two Self Help custard ads in the meantime, which I am adding here below. The colour ad dates from 1939, and clearly shows the packaging I recreated above, in use. The second one dates from 1932 and shows an older version of the can.



Bite Size: Refreshments Repackaged

In Desserts, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Sunshine, Tucker, W F Tucker & Co Ltd on May 13, 2012 at 10.46

I’ve recreated these Sunshine jelly crystal boxes in all six flavours that were in the range of the time (with a small amount of artistic license on a couple of the colour schemes) from images a couple of collectors have uploaded to Flickr over the last  year or so.

Once the second lot had appeared online, I became interested to know how more than two enthusiasts managed to get mint condition flat boxes for the same product, seemingly around the same time. Although it should be noted that the premium cards were cut out of the packaging and collected – the boxes were still retained by someone. For what reason they, presumably a child -would have kept them afterwards, if not for scrap-booking – I can’t imagine. Anyway what were the chances that a whole bunch of them should turn up at the same time? Unlikely.

Apparently these were for sale on Ebay Australia around five to six years ago, as far as one of the buyers remembers. Apart from that I don’t really know anything of the provenance, and why items from a New Zealand brand were being offered outside of the country. Having that background information can tell you a lot about a company and its products over time, such as was the previous owner an employee? Or maybe just a pack rat? Either way, it’s usually worth trying to follow up and see what one can find out because you never know where it will lead you next.

They may look like they date from the late 1950s-early 1960s era; but apparently these actually date from the early seventies, around 1971 (noting imperial is still used in the design, they would definitely be from before 1972). I’ve already previously discussed my thoughts on this very subject and how The Land of the Long White Shroud, as I like to call it,  was lagging behind in the post WWII years.

Things were a bit old-fashioned to say the least and the Kiwis remained very much tied to Mother England’s apron strings, whereas Australia embraced US-style popular culture in a much bigger way. That said, this design was very “American” in its approach, I think.

Kiwiana enthusiast Steve Williams says: “They were a bit behind the times as most of these pictures on the cards are from Project Gemini, and they even include a picture of Ed White who spacewalked in 1965 and died in the Apollo 1 fire of 1967″.

That gives a nice five year window at the most – but the packaging was definitely revised post 1964 anyway – as I’ve seen the set from that year, and posted a recreation  here when I previously wrote on the Sunshine brand and Auckland company W.F. Tucker and Co Ltd in June last year:


And here, an even earlier 1950s version of their box :


In the meantime I’ve gathered a lot more information as well as images but they will have to be for the future post, when I recap on the brand.

Edmonds: Taking The Cake

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

Edmonds advertisement, Evening Post  8 March 1937.


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

Edmonds advertisement, Colonist, 9 November 1910.


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


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


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


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

Tea Ohou Journal, Spring 1953, National Library NZ.


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

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


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

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


Small printed metal Acto tin, probably mid 1960s.


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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



Addendum early January 2013:

thoms edmonds band rotunda destroyed By shelby-dog flickr EDIT

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


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

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



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


A Product Shines Again

In Desserts, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, Sunshine, Tucker on September 7, 2011 at 10.46

I recreated this Sunshine jelly crystals box below quite a while back but haven’t had enough time to post it, along with quite a lot of other stuff that is backed up including a 1971 set of boxes in six different flavours.
I previously wrote about W. F. Tucker & Co and the Sunshine brand here:


Although Tucker were around for a long time, they started using “New Zealand Sunshine ” in the late 1900s as a slogan in conjunction with the company name, then dispensed with everything else around 1926-1927 when they segued into the Sunshine brand as a stand-alone name.

Trademark registry tells me this design dates from 1951 and it was still being used on these coupons for The Big Swap competition* in 1954 – although they overhauled the packaging with regularity throughout the brand’s  life span and changed it up every few years. I have pictures of other designs that date from the 1940s and I am looking forward to breathing the life back into them eventually.

I made this design from a very grainy, low resolution photocopy from the IPONZ archive which I had stashed for a long time, until I came across a colour picture included in the coupons below and thus had all the references and motivation I needed to bring it back to life.
Definitely plenty more to come on the Sunshine brand before the end of the year.

* The Big Swap competition colour coupons from 1954. I don’t know the details of what it was exactly; the ad is digitised in the Alexander  Turnbull pictorial collection but the print is too fine to read. I assume the coupons were published in various magazines and booklets, you had to collect the set (there appear to have been about 30 different designs), swapping if need be to get a full set- to qualify for entry in the cash prize. Occasionally they come up for auction, about once a year or so; but rarely a full set for obvious reasons.

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.

For Whom The Tinkerbell Tolls

In confectionery, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, McClymont Confectionery Ltd., Point Chevalier Historical Society, Tinkerbell on December 23, 2010 at 10.46

Tinkerbell Jelly. Never heard of it? Well, neither have I, ever. Occasionally I have been surprised by the stuff – well-known apparently – that has amazingly escaped me over the years of collecting, but I think I have most of it covered at this point. A Google search – general and image – turns up almost no references. I love stuff like this, a total mystery. It makes me wonder.

Was it the name, a case of bad marketing, With only a toddler level appeal? What kind of business was it, how big, and how long were they around? What other products did they have, and how did they develop the business? What was the background of the person that started it up and the history of their family? The only clue I have by squinting (something I’m very good at) at a very low resolution image of the bottom of the box, is what appears to be “McClymont Confections, Auckland”. Clearly the product didn’t last long on the shelves. Did they go bust? Was there a personal tragedy or untowards event that brought the company down?  Maybe even a corporate takeover that so often happens when they prune products that aren’t working so well. Perhaps an offshoot brand of one of the larger concerns that bought the company and tried to expand, unsuccessfully? -I guess we’ll never know.

The only thing I’ve turned up is a map dated from the early fifties  of Point Chevalier, Auckland, which shows “At around No. 1104, a factory was built c.1953 by McClymont Confectionery Ltd”. It tells us that they were around then, either starting up or had become successful enough to build premises not more than ten minute’s drive from the city CBD. This building was demolished some time in the 1990’s to build a shopping complex. Perhaps the history of Tinkerbell brand died as the last of the bricks came tumbling down.

But if you remember it, any other products they may have had in their line, or even have some information, feel free to pass it along.
Anyway, the brand is quaint and graphic is very cute, and I wouldn’t have minded it to go with the rest of my collection of still-full vintage jelly (or jello, if you’re a Yank) packages. Started at a very low price of twelve bucks, passed in at auction with no bids, I asked the seller to contact me and make an offer, but they never did. Maybe they had second thoughts about the specialness of this item, just like I did.

* This post was published as an article in the 17th issue of  Point Chevalier Historical Society’s bulletin “Point Chevalier Times”.