longwhitekid

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Longwhitekid Becomes an E-Mag

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2016 at 10.46

longwhitekid issue 1 cover sml

Hi there,
Some of you may already know who I am, and some of you don’t know me except as the writer here. I’m Darian Zam (yes, it’s my real name, before you ask) and I’m the founder of the Longwhitekid blog, and the History Always Repeats page which is another creation of mine – now with over 8,500 members and growing rapidly by the week.

You’ll probably have noticed that posting stories at this site tapered off around last March, excepting occasional themed posts around special events. So although it is true I have been busier than ever, there was something else afoot as well, which brought about this change.

Since a few people have been really curious what happened, I’ll cover it briefly, but it’s really not that thrilling – well, it wasn’t for me. A reader alerted me to the fact that a business in the U.K. named Print Express was reproducing my stuff. I approached them to sort it out and by ‘sort it out’ I asked them to stop doing it – and requested the net profit they had accrued from illegally taking my work and on-selling it. They very professionally told me I could go >insert< myself. Those were their words. It was particularly enraging because being on the other side of the world with different territorial law there was little I could realistically do about it and thought it was never going to be resolved.

I filed the paperwork for copyright infringement and at the same time notified other businesses and licensees that it was being done to them as well (power in numbers, I reckoned). It took many months before they were finally put out of business – which was probably, in reality pretty quick, actually.

Sadly it’s not an uncommon problem that, when you put your stuff ‘out there’ for people to enjoy, someone is going to take advantage of it.  I’ll just say it was disappointing as well as very frustrating – and the final thing for me in a string of similar issues over a couple of years in which I’ve seen my work taken and used by TV shows and greeting card companies. Basically it’s made me reluctant to post any original material publicly because of the incident.

What was borne of that frustration was an idea. I decided I wanted control back – and that in order to have more control over distribution of my content, I had two choices. I could give up completely or – I could try a subscription based method. So instead of quitting, I kept researching and writing – and started laying out the first edition. Maybe it was an inevitable next step – I’ve always wanted to do a magazine!

So I made the decision that after five years here, it was high time for a change anyway – and I’d start publishing Longwhitekid as an e-journal, four times a year. In order to receive it you can get them individually, or take a year’s subscription at a discount.

Issue one (April-June) will be ready to roll in a couple of weeks. So I thought I’d sound out what kind of enthusiasm there is in yearly subscriptions to figure if there is enough interest to make it a worthwhile project. If you are interested in subscribing, please notify me below and I’ll contact you with more information (comments show an email address, but only to me as administrator).

So this is unfortunately end of an era, being my last post ever. But I really hope you’ll all join me in this exciting new stage.

Best regards,
Darian Zam
Social historian

Sentiment For Sale

In Butland Industries, Christmas, Cinderella stamps, Conrad Frieboe, Crown Lynn, DIC department stores, Evelyn Clouston, Farmer's, Farmer's Trading Co., Farmers' Santa, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Four Square, Four Square Supermarkets, GHB grocery stores, Goldpack dried fruits, Goldpack Products, Good Housekeeping Brand stores, Hallenstein's, J. H. Whittaker and Sons, J.R. Butland, James Smith & Sons, James Smith Limited department stores, Maple Furnishing Co, McCall's magazine, Moggy Man, Moggy Man TT2, New Zealand School Journal, New Zealand Woman's Weekly, Newdick & Co cakes, Santa Claus, Santé bar, Titian Studios, TT2, Uncategorized, Whittaker's chocolate, Winstone Limited, Xmas, Xmas Parade on December 25, 2015 at 10.46

 

Four Square POS Sign  CHRISTMAS GREETINGS made for the  4 Square Four Square stores 1940S-1950s edit copy copy

Foodstuffs Ltd point-of-sale cardboard poster for a Four Square Xmas promotion, probably late 1950s-early 1960s. If you want to read about the history of this iconic brand and huge chain of grocery stores, I wrote about it here. Go for it. 

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Here we are back at the festive season again. I just don’t know what happened to this year; I do know that I’ve only managed to post about six times which is a marked difference from the previous years, understatement. At least a couple of those were substantial.
December the first marked five years of the Longwhitekid blog. I had a special image saved and everything, but even though I definitely had something to say on the occasion – I couldn’t make time to do anything with it.

This is the fourth or fifth annual Yuletide-themed post. Somehow I managed to gather a huge amount of Christmassy (yes, that is a term, because I say so) stuff into my file for this one; I’m not sure why that happened.  However I had a lot to choose from. So, I’ve focussed on the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s this time around -with a palette of red, blue, white and black (mostly). Inevitably, most of the images are commercially related hence the title of this article.

I’ll be back around new year with the regular article of the top fifty most popular images of 2015 as voted by my readers. It will probably be quite different since my membership went up by thousands (in part due to a mention in the NZ Herald) and some things got hundreds of likes. I sort of have an idea what the top image was, but the rest will be just as much as surprise to me as it will be to you. Until then, happy holidays and all that stuff.

Toby jug - Santa Clausa Crown Lynn Potteries Limited Portage Ceramics Trust collection edit copy

A Santa Claus Toby jug by Crown Lynn Potteries Limited, designed by Vic Lawson and manufactured between 1942-1957.  I have no idea how rare this is and if it would fetch the same kinds of prices as their other scarce ones like the Wahine (technically, the latter was mostly made by Titian Studios 1947 – 1970, before CL bought them out). Image courtesy of Portage Ceramics Trust collection at Te Toi Uku Clayworks (aka the Crown Lynn Museum), Auckland portageceramicstrust.org.nz

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1907-1960 Pt 3 1957 unknown hobbies and things to make poss Conrad Frieboe copy

An unsigned illustration from the New Zealand  School Journal, part 3, 1957. I’m guessing this is probably the work of Conrad Frieboe, who had a long career working for the Department of Education on various publications from the 1950s through to the 1970s as well as for book publishers and magazines like ‘Stitch’ ( for which he did beautiful work). Image courtesy of the  Doris Chadwick Collection of educational publications,  D233, NZ School Journals Vols 51, 1907-1960 , UoW Archives. 

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Whittaker's Sante Does Exist Campaign Xmas 2012 edit copy

Advert from Whittaker’s chocolate Christmas campaign, 2012. Sante does indeed exist, and has for a very long time in Aotearoa. Although the line has almost become a ‘brand’ in its self for this company, it was once considered pretty much generic – and everyone from ‘Hudson’s’ to ‘Beatall’ had a crack at it over time.

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DIC Santa photograph holder Owain Morris collection edit

Cover of a Christmas brochure for DIC department stores. This chain, originally named the ‘Drapery and General Importing Company of New Zealand Ltd’, was founded in 1884 by one of the Hallensteins – Bendix (1835-1905). He was also responsible for founding, earlier in 1873, what was to become Hallenstein Brothers – one of the country’s most successful brands historically, and still going today. DIC grew to at least thirteen stores around the country until it was phased out in 1991, after being taken over by rival Arthur Barnett’s. Image courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

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Santa parade  1958 along Cambridge Terrace Wellington City Libraries

Santa parade of 1958, along Cambridge Terrace, Wellington. This must be the same annual James Smiths Ltd  department stores-sponsored one that travelled the same route, which I wrote about here. Image courtesy of  Wellington City Libraries collection.

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Z Farmers Free Bus from K Rd arriving at the Farmers store with Santa on guard - Graham C Stewart from the Garth Stewart collection edit copy

Farmers Trading Company’s famous free bus from Karangahape Road, arriving at the Hobson Street store with Santa in place in his original location. Of course this building is now a boutique hotel,  so these days he is on the front of the Whitcoull’s store in Queen Street, where he’s been placed every season for quite some time now. In recent years his lascivious wink and beckoning finger have been removed because parents are weird about stuff that’s all in their head and nobody else’s. Thanks for making Santa dirty, folks. Image possibly taken in the early 1970s (this looks like one of those old green buses), courtesy of Graham C. Stewart, from the Garth Stewart collection.

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The Maple Cake tin The Maple Furnishing Co KRd edit copy

A promotional Christmas cake tin given as gifts to customers of ‘The Maple.’ Presumably this refers to home decorating institution the Maple Furnishing Co Ltd, which was on the north side of Karangahape Road, Auckland near Symonds Street, as well as branches in Onehunga and  Wellington. It had been around since the 1910s, being known for high end furniture – including designer Featherston of the famous and highly collectable chairs. You can see another 1920s picture of the business here. It was purchased by Smith and Brown in about 1970 who had a chain of over twenty stores around the country. It became Smith & Brown & Maple but only lasted until around 1979. I am guessing this tin dates from the early-mid 1960s.  I suspect it may have been done for the business by cake manufacturers Newdick & Co who were also situated close by and are known to have specialized in decorative Xmas tins to market their products. 

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Santa Parade 1969 High St Dannevirke Tip-Top Moggy Man  Dannevirke Museum

Santa Parade, 1969, High Street,  Dannevirke. Tip-Top’s ‘Moggy Man’ novelty started out as the iconic baby boomer icy treat the ‘TT2’ in the fifties – and lasted into the 1970s. I’ve previously written about the historical development of the product here. Image courtesy of the Dannevirke Museum collection.

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Vintage Christmas Decorations 1950s-1960s courtesy Gertrude Snyder Vintage Treasure In Martinborough page

Glass Christmas tree decorations dating from the 1950s to 1960s. We used to have these on our family tree and some went back to my great-grandparents who had owned them before WWII. Every year the hoard would shrink as inevitably one would get broken somehow; the wind, or the cat – or a clumsy child. Image courtesy of Gertrude Snyder, Vintage Treasure In Martinborough at facebook.com/vintagetreasurenz  or vintagetreasurenz.com

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Family around the Christmas tree from the Oamaru Mail 1965 North Otago Museum edit copy EDIT copy

A family around the Christmas tree, from the Oamaru Mail, 1965. Image courtesy of the North Otago Museum collection.

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Doris Chadwick Collection D233 UoW NZ School Journal Pt 1 &amp; 2 1957Evelyn Clouston Manger Xmas Jesus copy

Illustration by one of my favourite Kiwi illustrators, Clouston. Evelyn Maryon Clouston was born in Auckland in 1906, and had a lengthy career designing for the School Publications Branch, Department of Education in Wellington , as well as for various publishers such as Whitcombe & Tombs and Paul’s Book Arcade. She also worked for publishers in London for a spell. Image from NZ School Journal, Parts 1 & 2, 1957, courtesy of the  Doris Chadwick Collection of educational publications,  D233, NZ School Journals Vols 51, 1907-1960 , UoW Archives. 

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GHB Xmas Club (1966) GHB STORES

An advert from a GHB cookbook, published 1966.  GHB was a smaller, lesser known chain of grocery stores with a self line (tea, soap powder, etc), that existed from the 1950s until some time in the 1980s. It stood for ‘Good Housekeeping Brand’ (I don’t think it had anything to do with the magazine of the same name). They were still significant enough to issue several versions of this tome through the fifties and sixties. I get the idea it was located around the upper half of the North Island only.  Locations I know of were Auckland, Dannevirke, Pahiatua, Kaikoura, and Hawke’s Bay. Image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection. 

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F Winstone staff Christmas Childrens party lolly scramble Flletcher Trust all rights reserved Item #6351P fs 28 edit copy

Remember lolly scrambles? They’re probably a thing of the past now because everyone’s so precious about OHS issues. When I was a kid we were inevitably in Northland during the holidays – and in Waipu candy would be thrown out of a low-flying helicopter by  a rather daring, but dedicated Santa. They would never let Saint Nick do that these days, I’m guessing. Winstone staff’s children’s Christmas party, image courtesy of the Fletcher Trust, all rights reserved, ref #6351P/28. fletcherarchives.org.nz

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GOLDPACK XMAS CAKE A CLASSIC Butland - Judith Ann Field_BulletinNo7_2-1 copy edit copy

These two recipes from Goldpack are almost considered  Kiwi classics as perhaps anything out of the good old Edmond’s ‘Sure To Rise’ cookbook is. I covered the topic of the Xmas cake and pud here when I wrote about this Butland Indstries brand back in September 2012.

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Cinderellas  Xmas Christmas ONLY  1954-1980 copy edit copy

A ‘Cinderella’ issued by the New Zealand Tuberculosis Association in 1955 to raise charity funds. Cinderellas were a kind of stamp that were not official New Zealand post issue and were primarily decorative. They usually served two main purposes – fund raising or promotion. As such, they are their own special area of collecting and some can fetch high prices – such as early pigeon post stamps. Colourful and charming, they were popular during the festive season and I have a collection of Christmas ones that I will probably feature next year.

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Mcalls Xmas mag 1960s edit

Now, this one is special to me. It’s an American  McCall’s magazine – but they were sold in New Zealand. My mother was a bit of a fan, especially of the annual Christmas issues – and we had stacks of them sitting around that went back to the mid sixties. The Yuletide issue was always an amazing, over the top extravaganza; the kind of Christmas you could only dream of. The cakes, desserts and gingerbread house spreads were especially amazing, covered in Yankee candies that you could not get down under. I’m not sure of the date for this particular one, but it would be after 1964.

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NZ WOMAN'S WEEKLY XMAS EDITION magazine for December 3 1952 edit copy

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly magazine, early December edition, 1953.

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santa parade over the years 1966 nzheraldconz

One of the images recently featured by the New Zealand Herald in an article on the Farmers Santa parade over the years. This one was taken in 1966. Presumably courtesy of the Herald’s own collection.  nzherald.co.nz 

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UoW New Zealand School Journal Pt 3 1957 Conrad Frieboe edit copy

Another illustration from the New Zealand  School Journal, part 3, 1957. It looks like it’s signed ‘L.F.’ but it’s actually C.F., so definitely the work of the very talented Conrad Frieboe, whom I have already covered up near the top of this post. Image courtesy of the  Doris Chadwick Collection of educational publications,  D233, NZ School Journals Vols 51, 1907-1960 , UoW Archives. 

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Woman holding Christmas decoration made of milk bottle tops Wellington 1957 edit copy

Woman holding a Christmas decoration made entirely of  silver milk bottle tops, Wellington, 1957. Cellulosic film negative, taken for the Evening Post newspaper by unidentified staff photographer. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library collection, ref EP/1957/4948-F. 

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2015. All rights reserved.

Popularity Contested

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2  71  likes 22 shares Little Black Sambo

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

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

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

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4 44 likes Spirograph

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

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5 39 Griffin's broken biscuits

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

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6 36 likes Cadbury Bournvita bakelite Nightcap mug

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

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8 29 New Zealand Hardie banknote for ten dollars

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

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7 36  like Milk Deliver s

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

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9 29 likes chinese checkers  1 EDIT

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

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10 29 gregg's lime jelly

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

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11 28 likes Topsy Ice Cream Wrapper, mid 1980s

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

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12 26 likes Vintage New Zealand wool blankets.

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

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13 26 likes The classic Kiwi cream bun

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

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14 26 likes milkshalke makers

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

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15 26 likes Gregg’s instant pudding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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20 23 likes Crown Lynn Book Cover - Valerie Ringer Monk

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

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

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

22 22 likes Fanta bottles with original contents 1 EDIT copy

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

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23 21 likes Auckland Zoo Dragon 1970s

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

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

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

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25 21 Inside Mum's sewing kit

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

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

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

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27 19 likes A variety of labels from wool blankets

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

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

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

29 18 likes Toltoys Bug Catcher, 1970s

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

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30  18 likes School Journal Album

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

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31 18 likes Rowntrees Smarties box, mid 1970s.

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

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

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

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33 18 likes kitchen stuff

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

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34 18 likes cuisinere rods

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

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

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

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36 17 likes Sodastream bottles from the early 1980s

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

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37 17 likes Maori souvenir doll

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

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

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

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39 17 likes BANANA BASKET - Plastic Coated Woven Cane EDIT

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

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

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

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41 17 Kaiapoi blanket label

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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46 15 likes The Longest Drink In Town

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

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

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

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

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

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49 likes A really nice pair of jugs

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

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50  likes  Holdson's Tiddly Winks

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

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

Ex-mass Marketing

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2013 at 10.46

NZ catalogue of early 1960s christmas cards, wrapping paper. tags and calender samples 6 copy

From a catalogue of early 1960s Christmas cards, wrapping paper, tags and calendar samples by the En-Zed company. This design looks like the work of renowned illustrator Nobby Clark.

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Traditionally, this time of the year has been in advertising and sales overdrive, as hands-down the biggest period of the year for retailers. Yuletide adverts in the New Zealand food and drink (and associated) categories are still far and few between regardless, given the narrow nature of the specific subject matter. However in anticipation, over the last twelve months I’ve managed to scratch together these following mass marketing items of days past.

Also the three year anniversary of Longwhitekid was on the first day of December, back when I made my first post in 2010. Who knew it would last this long, and still be going strong!

As for a recap on top reads for 2013, they remained pretty similar to the previous year, with no new entries:

My piece on the number one Kiwi-established  chocolate manufacturer A Sticky Business: Whittaker’s took the top spot yet again with around 1200 people reading the story.

The following most popular pieces I have posted were as follows:

Tasteful Transformation: Tip-Top’s TT2 and Moggy Man

Power Outlet: The Force of Four Square and Foodstuffs NZ Ltd

Brands Shine On: Reckitt & Colman

The Bugle Boy of Company F: Creamota and Sergeant Dan

I really don’t understand why people are so interested in Reckitt & Colman. The others I get, but…anyway. On the down-side, it’s disappointing that nothing new I wrote made it in for the whole twelve months.

At New Year I’ll be counting down the top thirty most popular Kiwiana images as voted by my readers, so see you then. Meanwhile, enjoy the images below.

D.Y.C - Xmas Greetings 1947 - New Zealand Grocer's Review

D.Y.C vinegar ad from the Grocer’s Review, January 1948 edition. Image courtesy of Mike Davidson.

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EDMONDS BAKING POWDER CHRISTMAS CAKE - ILOTT - Press, Volume LV, Issue 16685, 20 November 1919, Page 5

Edmonds baking powder advert, designed by Ilotts agency, The Press, November 1919.

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Farmers and santa in Christchurch Tim Newman

Farmers’  Christchurch at Christmas time, 1970s. Image courtesy of  Tim Newman.

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Father Christmas promotes Whitcombe & Tombs, 1886 Turnbull

Father Christmas promotes Whitcombe and Tombs printers, 1886. Image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library, Printed Ephemera Collection, Ref: Eph-C-PRINTING-1886-01.

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Man and child shopping for Christmas presents, [James Smith Ltd], Wellington 1955

Man and child shopping for Christmas presents at James Smith Ltd, Wellington, 1955. Image taken for the Evening Post newspaper. Image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library collection, Ref: EP/1955/2799-F.

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Coca-Cola Santa Christmas Soft Drink Cans Set - New Zealand 1987

Commemorative Christmas set of cans issued by Coca-Cola in 1987, featuring various Rockwell renderings of Santa from 1940s-1950s advertising. Image courtesy of  Steve Williams collection.

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NZ Womans Weekly  9-11-1959 SOVEREIGN WOODWORK - NATIVE TIMBERS OF NEW ZEALAND

Once often seen at junk shops and garage sales: Sovereign Woodwork, NZ Woman’s Weekly,  November 1959. 

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Woman's Weekly, Nov 1974 - ERNEST ADAMS CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS   (20)

Ernest Adams Christmas puddings advert, Woman’s Weekly, November 1974.

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SANTA PARADE Wellington Santa Parade, sponsored by James  Smiths Ltd edit

James Smith Ltd Santa Parade, Wellington, 1958. Images taken for the Evening Post newspaper. Image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library collection, Ref: EP/1958/4008-F .

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Stitch Magazine december 1951 santa xmas

Stitch needlework magazine cover, of December 1951.

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Santa Queen St Whitcoull's Building

The Farmers’ Santa on the Whitcoull’s building, Queen Street, probably in the 1990s.

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Santa's grotto, James Smith Ltd JAMES SMITHS NLNZ

Santa’s grotto at James Smith Ltd, 1950s. Image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library collection, Ref: 1/2-208562-F.

 

Santatoy toys -Edward B Firth, trading as Hamilton Toy Co 1944 - Well Made New Zealand - Richard Wolfe (59) copy

Santatoy toys , Edward B Firth, trading as the Hamilton Toy Co., mid 194os.

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

Product Puzzle: UNA and the Grocers United Stores

In Associated Wholesalers Ltd (AWL), Baking Powder, Chapman Bros, Countdown supermarkets, Dollarwise supermarkets, Family Fare convenience stores, Foodmaster convenience stores, G.U.S. Stores, G.U.S. Wholessaling, Grocer's United Stores, IGA Stores, Independent Grocers Alliance NZ Ltd, J. B. Rattray, Jellishus Jelly Crystals, Magnum Corporation, Pricecutter supermarkets, Progressive Enterprises, Rattray & Sons Ltd teas, Rothman Industries (NZ), Super 7 supermarkets, Super Value Supermarket Group, Super Value supermarkets, Target Stores, UNA brand, Uncategorized, Woolworth's supermarkets, Woolworths on August 30, 2012 at 10.46

With a little help from fellow foodstuffs freak Mike Davidson, who recently uncovered a rare cookbook brochure and asked me what I knew about it, I have been able to find out a bit more about the South Island enterprise “G U.S.” , the Grocer’s United Stores – which were quite a large chain of stores in New Zealand in the late 1920s to the 1950s (that I am aware of) – and subsequently link it to my story recently on IGA, which almost asked more questions than it gave answers:

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/the-shopping-cart-cartel-iga-stores/

Top: recreation of a UNA brand baking powder label from a photo of an old can, above. The tin likely dates from the late 1930s- early 1940s.
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The only item that I had ever seen thus far at auction was a baking powder tin for the “UNA” label, which cropped up last year in a lot of old household tins, and was G.U.S. Wholesaling’s self brand. I have recreated it here.

Grocers United Stores recipe book, image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection.
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I have records in my database that in the 1930s – jelly crystals, tea, coffee, canned fruits, vinegar ,cocoa, cornflour and fly bands (which I think are some kind of fishing weights), medicines (non-specific, and possibly referring to a line including) cod liver oil, were being produced under the UNA label.

Intelligent and painstaking: Ellesmere Guardian, July 1940.
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By the early 1940s the UNA range also comprised of custard powder, baking powder, cooking oil, jam including home-made orange marmalade, lemon marmalade and lemon honey, olive oil, chocolate cake filling, coffee essence, soap, fly reels, salt, honey, floor polish, canned peas, “Six-In-One” skin lotion, tomato sauce, lino polish, Spanish cream, instant chocolate custard, and an exotic sounding instant dessert named “Sno Foam”. Cornflour , jelly crystals, honey, and biscuits of several varieties, were simultaneously marketed under the G U.S. brand in the 1940s. “Jellishus” was another brand of jelly crystals produced by the company at that time.

IGA truck being loaded and secured for delivery, showing G.U.S. Wholesaling details on it. Probably early 1960s. Christchurch City Library collection, ref HW10-Ho-137
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G.U.S. was launched in 1928 as a co-op (given that every store remained privately owned and the proprietor intensely vetted before being signed up) by E.F. and S. J. Chapman; and very quickly they had built up 15 stores. By 1948 that had multiplied to a very impressive 167 stores. Still, way behind the Self Help chain and – especially Four Square, which I covered in this article here

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/power-outlet-the-force-of-four-square-and-foodstuffs-nz-ltd/

It is true they had been left in the dust by both of those other co-ops come the late 1940s, yet somehow G.U.S. was very able to compete and build their organisation against those two industry giants over the decades – in particular Foodstuffs (Christchurch) Ltd which was successful enough during this period to finally bite the bullet and open a massive Southland warehouse in 1956. So although G.U.S. Stores are truly forgotten now, it’s quite likely that they were in actual fact the third largest chain of grocery co-op stores in New Zealand in the first two thirds of the twentieth century.

G.U.S. store on corner of Welles and Manchester streets, Christchurch city. This looks like it was taken in the 1930s, and the supermarket remained until the 1960s when it moved to Chappie Place, Hornby. Christchurch City Library collection, ref HW10-Ho-135
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To bolster their success in the 1930s, the Chapman brothers also launched a chain of stores named “Target” (no relation to the international department store chain of today), again a co-op made up of individual private owners, with the slogan “where the housewife scores!” Although not grocery orientated per se, this was dependant on the nature of the individual business – but they were more akin to the modus operandi of Woolworths, MacDuffs and McKenzies during that period – with a focus on household items as well as decorative gewgaws. Again had their own self line including butter. I had seen a picture in one of Richard Wolfe’s books and always wondered about this mysterious chain over the years; now I have stumbled over the link via the UNA tea advert I have posted here, I know.

1934 Grocers United company Picnic, Amberley Park. The use of the IGA letterhead indicates that the Hawkins shops were once upon a time G.U.S. stores. Christchurch City Library collection, ref HW10-Ho-134
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Somehow I missed a bunch of material whilst researching my IGA story a short while back which would have told me, as it turns out, that IGA (Independent Grocers Alliance NZ Ltd) was launched in New Zealand under the umbrella of G.U.S. Wholesaling, so I imagine that although there were probably a lot of new shops created, most of the stores that were part of Grocers United Stores may also have been re-branded to IGA.

The trend of the day may have been IGA, but this delivery truck still has G.U.S. details on the cab; probably late 1950s. Christchurch City Library collection, ref HW10-Ho-136
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Eventually, as the decades passed, all the stores under the G.U.S. banner were split across a few chain brands: SuperValue (around as far back as the late 1960s that I know of), Dollarwise, Pricecutter, IGA and Super 7  convenience stores (all still have branches open as far as I can see), while G.U.S. Wholesaling became known as the “Super Value Supermarket Group“.

This map shows locations of Grocers United Stores in 1948. image courtesy of Mike Davidson collection.
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The J.B. Rattray Group , who got their start in teas – particularly three very successful brands: Tiger (1890s-1980s), Gold Leaf (1890s-1930s), and Edglets (post 1940s), and established the very successful Countdown supernmarkets in 1981 – purchased the Super Value group in 1991.

Some of the UNA brand line, advertised in the Ellesmere Guardian, September 1943.
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In Alistair Pringle’s “New Worlds and Fresh Choices?” he writes : “Through its subsidiary J.B. Rattray, Magnum (Enterprises) first purchased the former Woolworths-owned, Auckland-based Associated Wholesalers Ltd (AWL)…(acquiring) seven North Island warehouses and 130 independently owned Foodmaster and Family Fare convenience stores”. This apparently occurred in 1992. Since the Super Value Supermarket Group merged with Woolworths in 1979, according to another source, presumably this was included in the deal along with the five brands I mentioned above.

A Chapman Bros’s Target Store, probably snapped in the mid 1930s. Image courtesy of Richard Wolfe and Stephen Barnett’s book “New Zealand: In Praise of Kiwiana”, 1989.
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Magnum Corporation were the owners of  Rothman Industries (NZ) at the time and acquired Rattray in the mid 1980s as a subsidiary part of Rothman. They went on to gobble up Progressive Enterprises also (which included Foodtown, Three Guys, and Georgie Pie).

Advert for Target Stores from the Ellesmere Guardian, March 1934.
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Yeah, and then there were some more mergers, acquisitions and takeovers which I could go on about, but I am going to call it a day. It’s so convoluted it’s like a set of Babushka Dolls with enterprises that fit one inside the other, inside another one – until it becomes completely confusing to the layman.

Advert for UNA brand tea for the Ellesmere Guardian, November 1933, shows reference to both G.U.S. “United” stores as well as “Target”.
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My conjecture is that – while the actual company retained the G.U.S. name, the brand had disappeared by the late 1950s, subsumed by the glitzier American offering of IGA. which in the post-war years held fresh appeal for consumers obsessed with Yankee-style convenience – over fusty personal service all wrapped up in a plain brown paper wrapper, and trussed up in string.

Power Outlet: The Force of Four Square and Foodstuffs NZ Ltd

In "K" Brand, 4 Triangle, AG Stores, Arrow Butter, Auckland Master Grocers' Association, Baker's Review, Budget brand, Central Provision Stores, Checkout Four Square board game, Cheeky Charlie, Ches and Dale, CPS Stores, Dick Frizzell, Dormer-Beck, Farmer's, Farmer's Co-op, Farmer's Trading Co., Fletcher's Stores, Food Fair, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Four Square, Four Square Stores (Australia) Pty Ltd, Four Square Supermarkets, Four Triangle, Green and Colebrook stores, Grocers' Review, Icon Products, John Heaton Barker, Kirkpatrick, Laidlaw Leeds mail order company, Ltd, McKenzies stores, Mr. Four Square, National Cash Register Co, New World Supermarkets, New Zealand Grocer's and Baker's Review, New Zealand Grocergram, New Zealand Master Baker's associatio, NZ Master Grocer's Association, NZ Master Grocer's Federation, Pak 'N' Save supermarkets, Pam's Products, Rawakelle tea, S Kirkpatrick and Co Ltd, Self Help Stores, Sir Harry Heaton Barker, Te Aroha Dairy Company, The Farmers Union Trading Company, Triangle brand, Uncategorized, United Buyers, Wattie's, Weston-Frizzell, Woolworth's Food Fair, Woolworth's stores, Woolworth's supermarkets on August 7, 2012 at 10.46

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A recreation I’ve made of a rare Australian contest poster of the 1950s.

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The Four Square brand originally emerged from a grocers’ co-op, which was established based on the concern that competition from grocery chain stores in the New Zealand market place was making business very difficult for small, independent store operators. How much truth there is to this claim is dubious since at that period of time in the early 1920s, the only specific food chain that comes to mind that would have provided any serious competition was Self Help, also a co-operative, which I covered previously in a fairly brief and superficial article of May this year here.

J. T. Hammond’s Mangatoki Four Square with sign writing done by Jack Wood, probably 1930s. Courtesy of the Puke Ariki collection.

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Between just 1922 and 1923, during the initial formation by the Auckland Master Grocers’ Association of what was soon to become Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Self Help had gone from just one store to a string of seven which must have been a frightening concept for anyone in the field looking to the near future and their prospects within.

Logos through the decades, clockwise from left: mid-late 1920s, 1932, late 1950s-early 1960s, mid 1930s-early 1940s, unknown – probably late 1940s , and 1980. From the mid 1950s the logo has remained almost the same in colour and design. a

Although a small company named Fletcher’s can probably lay claim to being the very first “self-service” style enterprise in the history of New Zealand, it had probably fizzled out by the early twenties. However in 1919 Laidlaw Leeds, a very successful mail order company had acquired the Green and Colebrook chain to become Farmer’s Co-op and they opened their twenty-ninth store in 1921. Although a general department store, Farmer’s were marketing at least flour, tea and spices that I am aware of, but hardly specific competition, however – that may have been all it took.

Colouring book produced as a competition promotion in 1954. a

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Since at the time the Self Help concept was a huge revelation in grocery shopping and pricing I can only conject that Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd was formed in direct response to Self Help’s extremely sudden success within that narrow timeframe – having pushed the situation to the edge. This allegedly pertinent issue was raised by a man named John Heaton Barker – to Auckland’s main grocers’ association, in early July of 1922. The co-op became official when it formed a company – which was registered on 1st of April, 1925. It’s first contract was with Te Aroha Dairy Company to carry their “Arrow” brand butter. Co-operatives were also formed in Wellington (named United Buyers, the same year, 1922, which became the “4 Triangle” chain) and in Christchurch (1928, which was named the “AG Stores”) . By 1935 all these co-ops had already come under the Four Square brand but were now officially renamed branches of Foodstuffs Ltd.

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Advertisement showing the white pepper and cornflour from their self line, Evening Post, March 1934 a

Seemingly well documented, the Foodstuffs legend goes that on the 4th of July 1924, two years into the co-op being formed, Barker, in position of company secretary at this time – was doodling on a pad during a telephone conversation with his colleagues and drew a square around the date. He presented this concept with the buoying manifesto that the group would stand ‘four square to all the winds that blew”.

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Above: Four Square white pepper tin from my own collection. This design was in use during 1934-1935. Below, I’ve recreated the label.

It wasn’t long before the first logos for the brand were bumped into all the stores in the form of hand-painted glass signs, with products appearing under the moniker by the end of that year. A primitive version of the formal logos we know today were going up on stores by 1929, with 4 Triangle, and AG Stores becoming part of Four Square not long after in December 1933 – as well as another co-op which had been formed in Southland (but much later down the track, in 1948) . The distinctive colours, however, were not adopted until 1931 when on a field trip to view a particular store belonging to a Mr. McInnes, the initial tangerine and yellow scheme (with green added to it in the form of the logo) was requisitioned.

Promotional puzzle showing many of Four Square’s line of products circa late 1940s. Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Manuscripts and Pictorial collection. a

By the time the early thirties co-op merger had taken place (of which the date both Fairfax’s Business Hall of Fame profile as well as Foodstuff’s own history quote incorrectly), Four Square now boasted a total of 266 stores nationwide – what can only be described as an explosive success and had far outstripped even the phenomenal growth success of Self Help – and not even bothering to mention any other competition like McKenzies, Woolworths and Farmer’s which were semi- players at best in the burgeoning grocery market at the time. In 1935 the stores bearing Four Square signage were at 285. By the post war years food groceries bearing the Four Square name had shot up to nearly 400 and climbing quickly – 700 by 1950. By 1956 there were an amazing 1000 stores nationwide.

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Promotional game produced in Australia, probably the mid 1960s. a

By some time in the 1950s Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd had decided to hop the ditch to invade our Australian cousins, as my poster recreation at the head of this post, as well as the  board game on road safety I have found above, attest. By 1980 a Happy Family promotion shows the logo for Australian chain CPS (Central Provision Stores), alongside Four Square and New World’s logos – having been added to the empire via Four Square Stores (Australia) Pty Ltd.

J. Heaton Barker’s new offices bringing everything together under one roof – Auckland Star, 8 October, 1925. a

Barker was one of two children of a family from Derby, Britain. Perhaps his father – mention is made of a John William Barker – stayed behind when he immigrated with his mother and sister in 1886; arriving in Wellington on 6th August aboard the S.S. Ionic. Perhaps he died, and they decided to leave. Whatever the story was, his mother was free to marry a Reverend John Crump seven years later. A devout Christian, J. H. Barker was seriously involved in the Baptist church throughout his life, particularly in Mount Eden, Auckland where he was an elder, and at various times a chair, treasurer, as well as president of the City Baptist Auxiliary.

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Promotional Snap set featuring many popular products sold through Four Square stores; circa late 1950s-early 1960s. a

That was much later on in his life though; originally he settled in Nelson (where he was the facilitator of the PSA or “Pleasant Sunday Afternoon’ movement which had begun in Britain, was active in the Mutual Improvement Society, and on occasion stood in for his local pastor at the pulpit, was a member of council for the NZ Accountant’s and Auditor’s Association, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, and secretary of the Foreign and British Bible Society).

Promotional Snap set featuring many popular products sold through Four Square stores; circa late 1950s-early 1960s. a

More specifically he had spent time in Richmond to the south-west of the town where he was at one time or another secretary of the Richmond Lawn Tennis Club and also the Workingmen’s Club (I think at this point we can already establish that he was quite the busybody do-gooder). In 1896 he sold up and moved to a more central location in Bronte Street, Nelson.

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In-store Disney promotion – Hutt News, December 1934. a

In an article entitled “Farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Barker” in the Nelson Evening Mail of 14th March, 1901, an interesting mention is made – of Barker’s “severing his connection with S. Kirkpatrick and Co., Ltd” in order to move. This was a popular foodstuffs company primarily famous for their jam, in particular the “K” brand, but ranged across a wide array of products from jelly crystals, canned meat and spices to coffee, poultry tonic, vinegar, honey and baking powder.

Triangle brand products – Evening Post, December 1933 . a

This is a very interesting detail to discover because Kirkpatrick play an intrinsic part in the corporate history of the canned food industry in New Zealand – passing through a number of owners and lasting into 1971 when it was finally dismantled by Wattie’s upon their acquisition of the brand and Nelson factory. In what capacity he worked for the firm is unknown (presumably accounting); but whatever it was he had achieved in just a few short years it was important enough for Mr. Kirkpatrick , the CEO himself, to attend in person and present Barker with a gold Albert fob chain for his services.

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An unusual Four Square promotional chair which was auctioned recently. Photos © and courtesy of Trademe menber cache10 (Phil). a

He moved with his wife Mattie and eight offspring to Wellington in 1902 (where he was president of the city’s Sunday School Union, president of the Sunday School Teacher’s Association, vice-president of the YMCA Cricket Club, vice-president of the Gregg Shorthand Association, and prone to giving rousing public speeches on the gospel everywhere he could, it seems).

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Four Square’s self line of preserving jar skins probably date from the 1950s or early 1960s. From my personal collection. a

In 1907 we find him managing director of Messrs. Yerox, Barker and Finlay, Ltd., a company primarily moving cash registers and typewriters. In 1908 he moved to directing the interests of the National Cash Register Co in New Zealand at 17-19 Cuba Street – and in 1911 he gained inches of press when he invented an automated telegram sorting and stamping machine, which was subsequently installed in Wellington’s General Post Office. Following that the family relocated to Auckland in 1912 (where he had a spell as a director on the board of the Auckland YMCA, and led Baptist services at various church venues).

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Rare canisters issued for the Southland Four Square Co-op’s general area centennial of 1956 crop up at auction very occasionally to be bid on competitively. a

Presumably he eventually became somehow involved in the grocery industry to bring him into the relative picture; A newspaper article of 1924, in which he is called to give testimony in a case to do with milling industry price fixing, defines him as the Auckland secretary of the New Zealand Master Baker’s association, as well as the editor of their magazine “Baker’s Review” since 1920 (he remained secretary until 1930 when he stood down voluntarily).

George Allen and staff in the Dominion Road Four Square store, Auckland, late 1940s. Photo © and courtesy of the estate of George Allen. a

Clearly from the court report he was a significant player in the supply and demand of flour and other goods for some years. Quite frankly I was surprised to find a dearth of biographical information on a major player in New Zealand industry; One of his children grew up to become well-known newspaper editor and politician Sir Harry Heaton Barker – and much more is written of his long term mayor son. Certainly at this point with his various experiences in foodstuffs, accounting, sales, administration and a clear talent for creative invention – he had everything he needed to take things to a spectacular new level.

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Advertisement showing the custard powder and tea from their self line, Auckland Star, 11 April, 1935. a

Barker, as well as also being secretary, accountant and auditor of the NZ Master Grocer’s Association – ran the Auckland branch of the food co-op from its inception until 1934 when he became director of Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd – a position he remained in until 1947 when he passed away. In 1932 he was made a life member of the New Zealand Master Grocer’s Federation, of which he had been secretary since 1923.

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Four Square brochure of 1977 showing product specials to celebrate the 21st anniversary of Four Square in Otago/Southland. Image courtesy of the Foodstuffs (NZ) Archive. a

He also launched an industry magazine, “Grocers’ Review” in the early 1920s – which later seems to have joined forces with the milling industry and amalgamated his previous work there to become “New Zealand Grocer’s and Baker’s Review“. Sources seem to indicate that this version wrapped up in 1939; what I have seen from the Foodstuffs Ltd archive (I was lucky enough to get an insider peek at their collection courtesy of a food technician friend who is part of the team, and loves retro stuff herself) show two images of a “New Zealand Grocergram” magazine so presumably that became it’s moniker. Last reference to it in public collections is in 1974 -1975 however AdMedia ran an article in 2003 that it was being revamped. Current status is unknown, with the website down – but presumably it is still running – if so making it one of the longest running periodicals in the history of the country.

Waxed cardboard pot for Four Square’s self line of honey from the Christchurch Co-op, circa mid 1970s. a

By the mid 1930s Four Square had under its own line tea, honey, culinary essences, Worcester and tomato sauces, cornflour, macaroni and vermicelli, custard powder, malt extract, butter, coffee essence, spices, salt and pepper, canned fruit, and raisins. There was also jellies, candles, soap and toilet paper under the “Triangle” brand. Later boxed chocolates, vinegar, and cordials were added (1940s) as well as mixed dried fruit, preserving equipment,  and “Rawakelle“; their brand of tea that was in the 1950s and 1960s quite popular with the public.

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Front of cardboard box for Four Square’s self line of dried cake fruit from the Foodstuffs archive collection, probably early 1960s. a

Starting with baking powder – and then a few years following custard powder – “Pam’s” was launched by Four Square Stores in 1937 to offer lower price, quality goods that competed even more vigorously with opposing chain’s lower price bracket products. Although there were several “self” lines from other stores at the time, “Pam’s”  has stood alone, lasted into the present day as a “private” brand, probably the only surviving one. I previously documented my recreation of the first Pam’s marketing campaign/product label when I wrote about agency Dormer-Beck, who were behind it, here.

Advertisement announcing merger of 4 Triangle and AG Stores under the Four Square brand, making a total of 266 stores. Evening Post, December 1933. the co-ops changed their names to Foodstuffs two years later in 1935. a

Mr. Four Square” , who has also come to be known as “Cheeky Charlie“, was a welcoming storeman figure with a big thumbs up – yet to many he always had a slightly imposing, sinister air about him (he looks like the type of guy that if you were left alone in the store room with him he might try to cop a feel). The mascot was developed sometime in the 1950s for print advertising initially – although the exact date and who the specific the creator of the character was, is unclear – one source quotes the Foodstuffs advertising department as responsible. Another states it was a son of J.H. Barker’s who came up with the concept around 1951.

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A corruption of monopoly with products instead of property, Milton Bradley-produced “Checkout” in 1959. They also did a version for the Acme chain of stores in the USA. a

He is often mistakenly attributed to renowned Kiwi pop artist Dick Frizzell who was a commercial artist in the 1960s and 1970s, but this is incorrect. Frizzell was, however, involved with the iconic Ches and Dale characters, and the fact that he has used Charlie in some of his most famous art works only adds to the confusion.

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Promotional Happy Families set featuring many popular products sold through Four Square stores, New World and CPS stores (Central Provision Stores, Australia); circa 1980. a

Another well-known contemporary artist Mike Weston, who coincidentally partners with Frizzell’s son Otis to produce humorous Kiwiana-inspired works under the moniker Weston-Frizzell, seems to recall hearing that Charlie was “allegedly a knock off of a Santa Monica supermarket character from the fifties called “Freddy Fireside” – of the Fireside Market. Although I’m still looking for evidence” . I myself was also unable to find any information to even hint at this.Today when people think of the brand they definitely think of Charlie beaming at them from shop windows and hoardings so, although a rather overused word -he has definitely become a New Zealand icon (with a few modernised features). Extremely collectable now, original Mr. Four Square cut-out signage old or newish – sells for competitive prices well into the hundreds and sometimes even the thousands.

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Interior of the Dominion Road Four Square store, Auckland, late 1940s. Photo © and courtesy of the estate of George Allen. a

Quite a few different items have been issued to promote the business over the years. Snap and Happy Family card sets were produced featuring their most popular product lines in the late 1950s-early 1960s, and another Happy Families set of 52 cards in around 1980 from which many of my age group will remember all the products – I featured some of them here, here, and here.

Four Square’s warehouse opens  in Southland, 1956.  Image courtesy of the Foodstuffs (NZ) Archive.

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Other fun items to rope in the punters and strengthen allegiance to the business were a puzzle (late 1940s), a board game with Milton Bradley – “Checkout”, around 1959. a highly desirable colouring book “Fine Things of the Future” (1954), calendars (1950s-1960s), a stamp collecting book. Recipe/household hint books such as “Homeways” was published in the late 1960s, and “Take A Tip” of the early 1970s. A cast metal can opener was issued as a complimentary gift to customers.  Very rarely the hard-to-get canisters issued for the Southland Co-op’s general area centennial of 1956 crop up at auction to be bid on feverishly; and not so long ago even a very unusual Four Square chair.

Foodstuff’s former cut-price – now “private” – brand Pam’s started in 1937 with one product; baking powder. Photo courtesy of and © Eriq Quaadgrass, eRIQ on Flickr. a

Icon Products, who partner with Four Square as well as several other brands , currently hold a license for the Cheeky Charlie character, producing aprons, shirts, tea towels and carry bags – which have been marketed through another Foodstuffs enterprise – New World supermarkets – established at the end of 1963 (the same year that Woolworths rolled out their first dedicated food store Food Fair, a New Zealand first at New Lynn).

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This classic version cut-out Cheeky Charlie signage just sold recently for around the $1000 mark or a little over. a

Although significantly less than in their heyday – today Four Square stores in New Zealand remain as 300 plus independent operators as well as a few still dotted about Australia. It is one of very few companies that has ever reversed the usual trans-Tasman power play of brands being foisted on the comparatively tiny country and marketplace of Aotearoa. Even Ozzie brands like the re-tooled IGA still can’t usurp the sheer power in numbers, well – yet, anyway.

A modern store in Waitarere using the classic Four Square colour scheme to the maximum effect; with the newest version of Cheeky Charlie, said to have been “made over” by Dick Frizzell at Foodstuff’s request recently. Photo courtesy of and © Kiwi Frenzy on Flickr. a

Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd is still comprised of three co-ops and has grown to include a slew of chain brands in its portfolio including aforementioned New World, Pak ‘N’ Save (established 1985), Write Price, On The Spot, Shop Rite, Raeward Fresh, Liquorland and Henry’s, Budget, Pam’s, and of course Four Square (and that’s just the food and drink enterprises) making it the largest retail organisation in New Zealand to date.

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Contemporary Four Square store and staff. Photo courtesy of and © the Foodstuffs (NZ) Archive. a

You have to wonder if Barker, whilst scribbling on his calendar absent-mindedly that day, ever in his wildest dreams could have comprehended he was launching an empire worth more than four billion dollars per annum.

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Neither the classic or contemporary version of Mr. Four Square -this was the in-between version with a few new touches in the 1990s-2000s. Photo of Cheeky Charlie on left courtesy of and © emilyandadam on Flickr. Image of modern Four Square logo graphics on right courtesy of and © the Foodstuffs (NZ) Archive. a

The Four Square Contest Poster is available from my online store here , as well as greeting cards for a nominal price.

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