The New Zealand Ice Cream Association
The New Zealand Ice Cream Association
1911 - 1930 Contents
1800 - 1910
1911 - 1930
1931 - 1950
1951 - 1970
1971 - 1990
1991 - 2010
2010 - now

The Beginnings of the Ice Cream Industry

Ice cream manufacturing as we now know it was certainly underway by 29 December 1911 when an article appeared in the Evening Post about the Ambrosia Ice Cream Company in Wellington:

Ambrosia it is claimed that it is made of pure pasteurised cream and free from chemicals of any sort.
There are some sixty varieties of frozen dainties which the Ambrosia Company can supply.

The ice cream is made under scrupulously clean conditions, as a reporter of 'The Post', who visited the factory, saw for himself. It is kept twenty-four hours in the ice chamber before being sent out, and being mixed by machinery is entirely untouched by hand in the process of manufacture. The Ambrosia ice cream is sent out in such a condition as to ensure its appearance on the table in first-class condition.

It is put up in lots of one gallon and upwards.

1912 - The Robinson Ice Cream Company Ltd was established at 22 James St., Arch Hill, in Auckland. By the 1930s, Robinson's had grown to be the largest ice cream business in the country.

The Marble Bar

In the early 1900's, ice cream was also sold, along with milkshakes, sodas, fruit drinks, fruit salads, coffee and confectionery, in American-styled ice cream parlours and "marble bars":

                                                          Photo: A typical Marble Bar.

"Following a trend there is no resisting, one born of modern tastes and conditions, there has of recent years sprung up in our midst a kind of glorified soft drink and ice cream cafe, which have become part of the life of a large section of the younger generation. The genesis of the business lay in the American soda fountain. With the aid of that ingenious machine and a variety of syrups, very palatable drinks were concocted and proved to be very serious, rivals to the traditional ginger-beer and lemonade of the soft drink trade. To a variety of cooling drinks were added an appetising array of fancy ice-cream, which strike pleasingly on the palate." - Dominion, 30 September 1916, on the opening of the new Marble Bar, Manners Street, Wellington.

12 October 1911 - Advertisement in the Grey River Argus:
The American Parlor
R. LOUISCH Proprietor.
TAKES this opportunity of announcing to the public of Greymouth that commencing on
SATURDAY NEXT, September 2nd, 1911,
he will provide at the Parlor the following:
Vanilla Ice Cream, Apricot Ice Cream, Biscuit Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream, Fruit Ice Cream, Ginger Ice Cream, Pine Apple Ice Cream, Raspberry Ice Cream, and Strawberry Ice Cream; also Fruit and Water Ices, the same flavour as the Ice Creams for the folk who do not care for ice cream.
The Parlor is now under different Supervision than previous years.
(Opposite Town Hall, Mackay Street)

Ice cream parlor, Stafford Street, Timaru, 1915.
- Ref: 1/2-107025-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The Le Grand marble bar opened in Gisborne in 1916, and according to the Poverty Bay Herald:

" The marble bar itself will be furnished with a marble bar counter, 38ft in length, finished in ltalian Carara white marble, ornamented with base and pedestal of New Zealand greenstone. Behind it will be an equally elaborate and up-to-date buffet, reaching to a height of 12ft, complete with all the latest fittings, with marble top, extensive mirrors, and surmounted by an artistic canopy, ornamented by massive columns and lead light decoration. The latter will depict a Dutch scene, and will be illuminated by 22 electric globes."

Marble Bar Menu, 1916. [Menus, mainly for celebratory dinners. 1910-1919].
- Ref: Eph-A-DINING-1916-01-centre. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Home-made Ice Cream

The home supply of ice, and availability of ice chests, opened the way for keen cooks to make their own ice cream.

Recipes for home-made ice cream, from an advertisement in the Wanganui Chronicle, 7 March 1913:

MADE WITH Highlander Condensed Milk.

Obtain some ice, break into small pieces and put into a bucket about two or three inches. On this sprinkle some coarse salt. Set a billy-can on this and pack between the vessels alternate layers of ice and salt. Pour the prepared mixture into the billy-can, put a lid on and cover with some ice and salt. Occasionally the lid must be removed and the mixture stirred.

Ingredients - 1 tin Highlander Milk, 1 1/2 pints water, 3 yolks of eggs, half a teacup sugar, 1 teaspoonful vanilla essence, the juice of 1 lemon.
Method - Boil the milk and water together. Beat up the yolks and mix with the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice, add to this the boiled milk and water. Put back on the fire and stir till thick. If desired thicker, a little cornflour may be added (1 dessertspoonful) when cold, freeze as directed.

Ingredients - 1 tin Highlander Milk, 25 passion fruit, 1 teacup sugar, 1 1/2 pints hot water, 1/2 pint cream.
Method - Mix the niilk with the hot water, and pour half on the fruit and sugar. Let it boil long enough to dissolve the sugar. When cool, add the remainder of the milk and the cream. Put into the freezer for about an hour.


Ice Cream Quality and Standards

                                                  Two women eating ice cream, 1914.
                                                  - Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
                                                  Women. Kidman, Ian :Photographs of World War 1914-1918.
                                                  Ref: 1/4-027510-F.

In the early part of the Century, a number of overseas food poisonings related to ice cream had been reported in the newspapers, and there had also been growing concern about adulteration and cheapening of products sold as "ice cream" with the addition of thickeners such as cornflour.

In January 1913, over 200 cases of "ptomaine poisoning" were reported in Wanganui, "practically all" traced to a single ice cream shop. "Ptomaine poisoning" is what we would now call food poisoning; acute gastrointestinal illness, in this case probably caused by bacterial contamination of the cream used, according to the Health Inspector's report.

By 1915, the government had put in place regulations to control the composition of the product sold as "ice cream". These regulations were administered by the Health Department.

1 May 1915
- A Health inspector appears to have had a field-day in Christchurch - the Press reported several food-related prosecutions, including four ice cream sellers who were prosecuted by the Health Department for selling ice cream that did not comply with the regulations.

In each case, the primary offence was selling "ice cream" with milk fat levels below the legal standard of 10%. The standard fine on conviction was 5 shillings and costs.

In another case, this one in Whangarei, the sub-standard milk fat content was said to be due to the defendants' "mis-understanding of the term 'milk-fat' which is not known in this district", and the addition of pure cream in the belief that it was pure butterfat.

12 April 1923 - a vendor, J Healey of Hokitika, was fined £2 and costs £3 17 shillings in the Magistrate's Court for selling "ice cream deficient in milk fat".

                                                      Astrella's Ice Cream advertisement, Auckland Star,
                                                      17 February 1923

Extract from an advertisement in the Auckland Star, 24 July 1923:

A NOURISHING FOOD. The once unfortunate idea that Ice cream was a mere passing luxury has been swept away by education and science to-day. Ice cream is a nutritious food, which produces health and strength, and is, at once, economical and beneficial. Robinson's ice cream contains at least 10 per cent of butterfat and sugar properties that represent the finest, invigorating vitamines for the human system.

Their claim for "at least 10 per cent butterfat" was scientifically based, as can be seen by the Situations Vacant advertisement that appeared in the New Zealand Herald on 27 November 1924:

APPLICATIONS are invited from Competent Milk and Cream Testers to fill a responsible position in Ice-Cream Factory. Other branches of the business will be taught to successful applicant. Apply personally or send copies of references as to capabilities relative to the testing of milk and cream. State wages expected. Apply Robinson Ice Cream Co., Ltd.. 22, James Street, Archhill, Grey Lynn, Auckland.

1919 - Frederick Charles Rush-Munro , originally a confectioner, opened the third evolution of his Rush Munro business at 181 - 187 Karangahape Road, Auckland, featuring cafeteria ("help yourself style" service), light lunches, soda fountain and ice cream.
More about Rush-Munro...

1919 - The Velvet Ice Cream Co Ltd., began operations in Hamilton.

                   Robert (Bob) Long (right) with family and Ice Cream truck, Mahia, ca. 1920.
                  - Tauranga City Libraries Research Collections.

1921 - Harry Muschamp Waddington began making Artic Ice Cream, initially by hand churn, in his small lounge bar and restaurant in Jackson St., Petone.

1922 - Angus Keith McDonald established McDonald's Ice Cream Co., the Waikato's first ice cream manufacturing business.
More about McDonald's ...

Ice Cream Novelties

"Novelties" are defined as separately packaged, single-serve ice cream or frozen dessert products, such as ice cream sandwiches, ice blocks and ice creams on sticks. The first ice cream novelty to be sold in this country was probably the Eskimo Pie (see side panel).

30 May 1924 - Manufacturing Licenses for the latest craze from America, the Eskimo Pie, were advertised in Wellington's Evening Post. The product had been patented by the Eskimo Pie Corporation, USA, and licenses were issued in New Zealand by C. B. Colby, Auckland.

Successful applicants were listed as Polar Ice Cream Coy. Ltd, Auckland district, and Boston Ice Cream Co., Wanganui:

                                                        Manufacturing Licenses issued for the manufacture of
                                                        Eskimo Pie, advertised in the Evening Post, 30 May 1924

Unfortunately Boston Ice Cream Co. had to relinquish their license, and Frozen Products Ltd of Wellington appears to have snapped it up. In fact the company was formed in July of that year for that specific purpose:

"to manufacture, sell, and distribute as wholesalers and retailers the confection known as "Eskimo Pie", ice cream, and any other similar class of goods, and general incidental."

18 September 1924 - Polar Ice Cream Coy. Ltd advertises that the manufacture of Eskimo Pies could be observed during the official opening of its new factory at Station Road, Newmarket, Auckland. Eskimo Pies sold for threepence (3d) each.

Frozen Products had launched their Eskimo Pie product by December that year:

                                                  Eskimo Pie advertisement, Evening Post, 16 December 1924

                   Eskimo Pie, 1931.

The Eskimo Pie proved just as popular in New Zealand as it had been in America, and naturally resulted in imitations:

14 August 1930 - In the Dunedin Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Kennedy delivered his judgment in the action brought by Charles Bertram Colby, of Los Angeles, United States, against the Dunedin Ice Cream Manufacturing Co. (Ltd.).

Colby was seeking an injunction against the company, restraining it from the manufacture of "Royalettes", claimed to be similar to "Eskimo Pies," for which Mr Colby held the patent rights in New Zealand. Justice Kennedy ruled that the patent "could confer no monopoly rights" to either the concept of ice cream coated with chocolate, nor the manufacturing process involved. "The injunction was therefore refused, and judgment was given for the defendant against the plaintiff for £36 6s costs, and disbursements to be fixed by the Registrar."

A number of other companies around the country produced chocolate-coated ice cream bars, often unmistakeable Eskimo Pie imitations:

                   Aluminium foil wrapper for an "Arctic Pie" ice cream bar, manufactured by Hawkes Bay
                   Frozen Supplies Ltd., Napier, 1930s?

                  - longwhitekid.

Home Refrigeration Arrives and the Ice Cream Industry Booms

- Riversdale Dairy, owned by the the dairy-farming Norton family, began to make Snowflake brand ice cream from a small factory/shop in front of the Norton house in Ward Street, Cobden, Greymouth. Snowflake continued as a West Coast treat for over 80 years.
More about Snowflake ...

August 1925 - Robinson Ice Cream Company supplies 54,000 blocks of Robinson's Ice Cream to the American Fleet on its visit to Auckland, and later proudly advertises the letter of thanks it received from one of the warships:

Gentlemen - The ice cream which you supplied the U.S.S. New Mexico was highly gratifying, and a more delicious cream would be difficult to find. We, as Americans, are the world's largest consumers of ice cream, and as such we consider ourselves qualified to judge your very excellent product.

- (Signed) Norman J. Goeltz, chief yeoman, U.S. Navy. Treasurer, C.P.O. Mess. P. E. Thomas, Chief Commissary, Steward, U.S. Navy.

                Photo: Looking south west from Duder's Hill, Devonport showing ships from the American Fleet.
                24 August 1925
                - James D Richardson. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-3138C.

The Robinson Ice Cream Company Ltd had been established in 1922, and rapidly grew to become the largest manufacturer in the country. According to this 6 July 1929 news item in the Auckland Star:

" The most forcible demonstration of public opinion and appreciation of Robinson's ice cream is given by the increase shown in their turnover in seven years. Seven years ago their annual turnover was £6000. This year it is £23,000 - by far the largest in New Zealand."

Here is a description of their manufacturing process, from an Auckland Star article, 15 December 1924:


Ice cream may appear a very simple thing in the matter of production - certain ingredients pleasing to the palate frozen to make a cooling delicacy. Its manufacture, however in large quantities involves a surprising number of processes and a visit to the factory of the Robinson Ice Cream Company, Ltd., besides being a unique experience, gives an excellent idea of modern methods in production.

Mr. Robinson, the founder of the business, has been connected for many years in Auckland with the making of the tasty summer confection, and with expansion of the concern has come a more and more elaborate manufacturing plant, until to-day the machinery employed embraces the latest scientific devices for the producing of ice cream of purity and cleanliness.

The firm has always had particular regard to the quality of its ice cream and an inspection of the equipment in the new factory at 22, James Street, Arch Hill furnishes ample evidence of the perfect conditions under which it is produced.

In the first stage the milk and cream are poured into a tank, from which the future ice cream is taken up by a pump to the floor above where it is received into a large glass-lined mixer. Having been mixed to the requisite degree, the product is taken on another stage. Here it is heated by steam to 145 deg. Fahrenheit and this temperature is maintained for half an hour in order to pasteurise the cream. It is then cooled down to 110 deg., afterwards passing through pipes to a strainer.

It then passes on to the viscoliser, the only appliance of its kind in New Zealand. This machine subjects the cream to a pressure of 2000lb per square inch, and thus breaks the globules of fat and gives the smoothness which is desired by all ice cream manufacturers and appreciated by the public generally.

The next process is the passage over the cooler, and it is then poured into vats, the temperatures of which are maintained at 40 degrees. Straight from there the cream is returned by pipes to the floor beneath, and is received into a batch measure preparatory to passing into the freezer, where it assumes that final form which is the delight of young and old.

From the freezer the ice cream is drawn off in cans and put into cool chambers registering a temperature of 4deg. below zero.

From here the ice cream is taken by motor lorry, train and boat to all parts of Auckland.

Throughout the whole process the transformation of the various ingredients from their original state into the delicious and cooling ice cream has been accomplished by means of machinery, no hands having touched it. Thus Robinson, Ltd., can truthfully maintain that their ice cream is produced under the most hygienic conditions.

The attainment of a product which, besides being a delicacy, is of high food value bas always been the aim of the firm.

In the course of an interview the manager, Mr. J. W. Bentley, stressed the fact that neither he nor anyone else connected with the company was a member of the deputation which waited upon the Minister of Public Health in connection with the use of cornflour in the making of ice cream. It is this strict regard to quality that has earned the firm such a flattering reputation and made their ice cream the delight of Aucklanders for a number of years. The excellence of the product and the popularity it enjoys are reflected in the fact not only that a thoroughly up-to-date plant has already been installed, but also that, warranted by the progress of the past, provision for expansion in the business has been made.

Although the factory at present has over 9000 square feet of floor space, it is anticipated that more room will be required in the not distant future, and to this end the foundations of the buildings were put down to carry extra storeys.

In keeping with the company's policy the factory is open for public inspection at all times.

By now, ammonia was the common refrigerant in commercial refrigeration plants. Ice cream was churned in horizontal batch freezers, packed into cylindrical one-gallon, 2 and 1/2, or 5 gallon cans, and blast-frozen before being moved to storage freezers.

Distribution was by van or truck, with insulated bodies, ice cream cans packed inside canvas bags for extra insulation. Sometimes frozen brine-filled containers (like large Slikka pads) were used for extra cooling.

The Zero Ice Cream van makes a delivery, Grey Street, Hamilton, 1924.
- Ref: HCL_10448 (detail), Hamilton City Library.

The growth in ice cream consumption and production was no doubt helped by the appearance of the first electrical domestic refrigerators around this time. Kelvinator, one of the first, was originally a small refrigeration plant that could be installed in an existing ice chest:

                 Kelvinator advertisement, New Zealand Herald, 2 December 1925.

1926 - The Perfection Ice Cream Company Ltd was established in Christchurch, with premises and factory at 300-304 Manchester Street:

                Photo: The Perfection Ice Cream Co. factory, 300 Manchester St., Christchurch, 1932.
                - Laurie Kench, via Owen Norton collection.

More about Perfection ...

1926 - Queen Anne opened its three-storey College St, Wellington factory, manufacturing chocolates and ice cream for sale throughout New Zealand from its chain of iconic ‘Adams Bruce' and ‘Queen Anne' shops.

                                                                Queen Anne Ice Cream advertisement, 1929.

                  Original Queen Anne shopfront, Dunedin.
                  - Chris Gregory.

More about Queen Anne ...

1928 - Israel Massey's milk treatment and vending business, the Takapuna Dairy Company, based in Devonport, Auckland, began to make Eldora brand ice cream.
More about Eldora ...

Several other significant ice cream businesses were established around this time:

Alpine (Huntly, 1928), Egmont (New Plymouth, 1929?), and New Polar (Auckland, 1929).

                 McDonald's Ice Cream advertisement, Evening Post, 25 February 1930.

                 Curly Smith with McDonald's Ice Cream delivery van, Foxton Beach, 1929.
- Foxton Historical Society: Kete Horowhenua Ref. f1999.0825

1929 - Waipukurau soft drink manufacturer T.C. Denne went into the ice cream business, launching his famous Peter Pan brand.
More about Peter Pan at longwhitekid ...

Ice Cream Manufacturers Join Forces

As the ice cream industry grew, small regional manufacturers, many family-operated, faced many problems in dealing with distribution, the dairy industry, changing technology, hygiene standards, and outdated, archaic legislation:

12 February 1927 - the Christchurch Evening Post reported that a number of manufacturers of ice cream were charged with having sold their product on Sundays. In his judgment the Magistrate said that he "was not prepared to hold that the manufacture of ice cream was a necessity."

Ice cream was not even allowed to be sold from a cart on a Sunday. In one 1928 prosecution, the judge said:

"Apparently it would be lawful for [the defendant] to sell ice creams on a Sunday if he put up an awning from his cart, and they were eaten under the awning."

The decision was made to form a national association, to help each other, and to present a united voice to the government.

The New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers Association was incorporated in 1927.

The inaugural meeting to discuss setting up an association was held on 22 July 1927 at the Frozen Products (Frosty Jack) offices in Wellington.

First members at that first meeting were W.A. (Arthur) Fisher, Frozen Products, Wellington (instigator of the meeting, and generally regarded as the founder of the NZICA); P.H. Ferguson, Robinson Ice Cream Co., Auckland; and H. Turner, Crystal Ice Cream, Dunedin.

Proposed qualification for membership: to be manufacturers of a certified output of not less than 5,000 gallons per annum. Proposed subscription: £5:5:0 per annum.

                                                                First Chairman and President, Mr H. Turner

A constitution was soon written and the Association met for the first time as an incorporated society in March 1928, at which time it had eight members. At that meeting, the first President, Mr H. Turner of Crystal Ice Cream in Dunedin, "stressed the need for cooperation amongst manufacturers with a view to mutual assistance and support in dealing with important regulations and legislation."

1929 - Within a year the Association had its first success. The Executive persuaded the Railways Department to reduce the excessive goods rate charged for rail freighting ice cream and to allow cones to be dispatched in a single consignment with the ice cream, instead of being consigned and charged separately.

The cost savings were early proof of the Association's value in representing manufacturers collectively on matters that affected the whole industry.

A Profusion of Shapes and Flavours

In February 1929 the Ellesmere Guardian reported on a new innovation - fruit ice cream.

Upon making inquiries he was informed that Messrs W. R. Cooke and Son., Ltd., had closely studied the methods adopted in America in connexion with ice cream and how to manufacture the latest novelties. As a result arrangements are now completed for serving all the leading American ice cream dishes in Christchurch.

This fruit ice cream, although quite new to New Zealand, is something that is good enough and should become very popular. Of course, no credit for originality can be claimed here, this form of ice cream now being all the rage in America, "the land of ice cream."

The introduction of this novelty to Christchurch involved the necessity for installing special plant to mix the fruit evenly throughout the cream. The machine recently installed is the latest American pattern, costing £700, and brings the total value of the modern ice cream plant operated by this firm in Christchurch to nearly £20,000.

Every reason exists for optimism in the immediate success of this innovation. It may not be amiss to add that Cooke's were the people chosen in Christehurch to supply the American Fleet while in Lyttelton with their ''national dessert'' - ice cream. All the American novelties will be produced from this new plant, and as proposed a new one will be served each week at both 'The Tudor' Tea Rooms and 'Cooke's Ice Cream Parlours' in High Street.

Patrons will be pleased to know it has been decided there will be no increase in price over ordinary ice cream.

                                                  New Polar Ice Cream advertisement, Auckland Star, 12 December 1929

12 July 1930 - The Auckland Star reported on New Polar Ice Cream's stand at the Winter Show, where they were selling "Rainbow Blocks, Polar Bars (a chocolate-coated ice cream), Ice Cream Cakes and cartons of ices":

Briefly stated, it may be said that the realm of artistic cakes has been invaded. Panelled and decorated with pure frozen cream, the New Polar pure products include ice cream wedding and birthday cakes, exact replicas of the baker's art, but more suitable for the Auckland climate. And the flavour is as good as the looks. They may be obtained in one, two or three tiers, with the appropriate greetings and decorations for the required occasion, whilst any flavouring required can be supplied on request. Social events without the New Polar cakes will soon become quite old-fashioned.

Rainbow Blocks: The novelties mentioned, however, do not exhaust the list of New Polar originalities. Take the new Rainbow Block, for instance, which when known will become absolutely de rigeur. Fashioned after rainbow cake, the ice is served between the best quality wafers. Three flavours are contained in it - vanilla, orange and strawberry. The success of this novelty has been amazing. Well over two thousand blocks have been sold at the Show, and repeat orders are keeping the staff busy with a vengeance.

23 December 1930 - An item in the Auckland Star describes a new ice cream factory under construction in Pukeiti Road, Otahuhu, for the Arctic Ice Cream Company:

The spacious, strongly cork-insulated hardening room, which will have a temperature 10 degrees below zero, has a capacity of up to 800 gallons, so that it will meet the largest emergency demands, and the mistakes of other firms will not be repeated.

Nearby in a separate compartment are the brine tank and the freezing churn.

The "Lindee" compressor, large ice-making tank, packing store and other facilities emphasise that the Arctic Ice Cream Company will be able to cope with orders on a scale not previously attempted. The building alterations were carried out by Mr. T. Clements, of Otahuhu, and the new refrigerating plant has been supplied by Messrs. Wildridge and Sinclair, Ltd.

The "Arctic" firm, whose new refrigerated van has been a striking trade vehicle in Auckland recently, is already placing a number of ice cream novelties before the public. However, one of its exclusive lines sure to enjoy distinction, is the "Popsicle", a frozen sweet in selected fruit flavours, wrapped in vegetable parchment paper, attached to a stick. This is a wonderful cooler and thirst quencher and will be extremely popular at beaches, carnivals and other gatherings during the summer.

The Arctic Company, which has the sole manufacturing rights for New Zealand for the "Popsicle," is able to supply also, a range of delicious ice cream cakes suitable for birthday celebrations and social meetings.

Photo: People eat Snowflake icecream in front of the Snowflake Riverdale Dairy Supplies Guy truck, at the 1930 Greymouth A&P Show.
Still from newsreel film, "The Greymouth Gazette", by L. Inkster, 1930.
- Nga Taonga Sound & Vision.

1931 - 1950

1800's - 1910

Sources, references and related sites:

Archives New Zealand:

Auckland Libraries

Hamilton City Libraries - Hamilton Heritage

National Library

NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers Assn. archives, and "Frostee Digest" journals, 1943-1972.

New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers' Association (NZICA) Oral History Project; held at NZICA archives and Alexander Turnbull Library.
- Shona McCahon, Oral historian.

Papers Past (National Library of New Zealand digitised newspapers database):

Queen Anne:

Robyn O'Leary - personal correspondence.

Rush Munro's:

BackBack to The History of Ice Cream in New Zealand
                         Rush Munro's

Englishman Frederick Charles Rush-Munro, having learned the skills of the confectionery trade from his father, opened the original Rush Munro confectionery shop at 161-163 Ponsonby Road, in Auckland around 1914.

By 1917, the business had re-located to 142 Karangahape Road, advertising as "Rush Munro's Soda Fountain".

Then, in 1919, the Rush Munro business moved to 181 - 187 Karangahape Road, complete with cafeteria ("help yourself style" service), light lunches, soda fountain and ice cream:

Photo: Rush Munro, Karangahape Road, Auckland, 1923 (detail).
- Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A15977

Frederick and his wife Catherine moved to the Hawke's Bay, and opened a new Rush Munro in central Hastings on 26 May 1926.

After the premises were destroyed in the devastating 1931 earthquake, they moved the business to the current site at 704 Heretaunga Street West, the shop evolving into the famous Rush Munro's Ice Cream Gardens.

Over the years the Ice Cream Gardens became a Hawke's Bay landmark and Kiwi family tradition, much-loved for its soda fountain and hand-made, batch-churned ice cream, scooped high in a peaked cone, or served in a dish with a silver spoon, in a range of natural, real fruit flavours.
More ...


Model T Ford ice cream delivery van.
 - NZICA archives, Frostee Digest.

1922 - 1958

Angus Keith McDonald established the Waikato's first ice cream manufacturing business in 1922 and then went on to build factories and branches in Palmerston North, Wellington, Hawera, Masterton and Auckland. McDonald's ice cream was a household name around most of the North Island, long before its American name-sake appeared on the scene.
More ...

Frosty Jack

Frosty Jack Ice Cream and Eskimo Pies advertisement, Evening Post, 1930.

1924 - 1967

A new company, Frozen Products, Ltd., was formed in Wellington in July 1924 "to manufacture, sell, and distribute as wholesalers and retailers the confection known as "Eskimo Pie", ice cream, and any other similar class of goods, and general incidental."
More ...

                     The Eskimo Pie

Invented by Danish immigrant Christian K Nelson in the United States in 1920, and originally known as the "I-Scream Bar", the Eskimo Pie was the world's very first ice cream novelty, a chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar wrapped in foil. It was a raging success and the invention was patented by the Eskimo Pie Corporation in 1922 and franchised to other ice cream manufacturers around the world.

Mr W. Arthur Fisher, an American engineer, came to New Zealand in 1923 with fellow American Capt. Charles Bertram Colby, as the Australasian controllers of the Eskimo Pie franchise. Manufacturing licenses were sold to several ice cream manufacturers in New Zealand, the first two granted to Polar Ice Cream Coy. Ltd, Auckland, and Boston Ice Cream Co., Wanganui, in 1924.

Unfortunately Boston Ice Cream Co. had to relinquish their license. Company founder Alick Revell's brother-in-law was killed in a car accident, so he had to return to Glenfield to help his sister on the farm with her young family, and the Boston Ice Cream Company closed.

Polar Ice Cream advertised that Eskimo Pie manufacture could be seen during the official opening of its new factory at Station Road, Newmarket, Auckland, on Thursday 18 September 1924.

A group of Wellington investors was assembled to form a company to take up a license. They secured the services of franchise-holder W. Arthur Fisher and Frozen Products Ltd of Wellington was manufacturing and selling Eskimo Pies by December 1924. The company continued to sell the popular bars around the Wellington region throughout the 1930s and '40s, along with their own Frosty Jack brand ice cream.

Eskimo Pie advertisement, Evening Post, 16 March 1927

Robinson Ice Cream Company of Auckland obtained sole rights to manufacture and distribute Eskimo Pies in the Auckland province in 1929, although the advertisement below is dated 1925, and appears to have little to do with Eskimos, or ice cream!:

Robinson's eskimo pies. 1925
Robinson's Eskimo Pies. 1925. Reference Number: Eph-B-CONFECTIONERY-1925-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Freesia Milk and Ice Cream Company, based in Gisborne, manufactured Eskimo Pies between 1926 and 1928.

Eskimo Pie advertisement, Poverty Bay Herald, 8 November 1926

Crystal Ice Cream Company of Dunedin was manufacturing and selling Eskimo Pies by 1928.

Robinson's Eskimo Pie advertisement, Auckland Star, 25 January 1930

Eskimo Pie advertisement, Evening Post, December 1931

Tip Top Ice Cream Company Auckland picked up the license to manufacture the product and use the famous name, probably when they took over Robinson's in 1953.

It became a mainstay of Tip Top's novelty range, and after 90 years, the Eskimo Pie is still going strong.


1925 - 2010.

The Norton family, dairy farmers near Greymouth, established The Riversdale Dairy in 1922, and began manufacturing Snowflake brand ice cream around 1925.

Demand was so great that in 1928 a new, larger factory was built:
Photo: Delivery vehicles outside the new Riversdale Dairy - Snowflake factory, 1928 (detail).
- Owen Norton collection.

Snowflake ice cream was a part of West Coast life for over 80 years, one of New Zealand's longest continuously operating ice cream businesses, and one of the last to source milk from its own dairy herd.
More ...


Photo: Perfection Ice Cream factory, 1932

- Laurie Kench, via Owen Norton collection.

1926 - 196?

Perfection Ice Cream Co. was established in 1926, and became Christchurch's largest ice cream manufacturer.

Perhaps their biggest claim to fame is the invention of Kiwi favourite, the Joy Bar.
More ...

Queen Anne

1926 - 1995?

Legendary baker, Ernest Adams, and his business partner Hugh Bruce, were the men behind the famous Queen Anne chocolate and ice cream brands, manufactured in Wellington, and distributed through their nationwide chain of Adams Bruce and Queen Anne shops.

The Queen Anne brand was synonomous with luxury treats for 50 years, and still is in the minds of many who grew up with memories of their chocolate boxes, ice cream sundaes, cones and milkshakes.
More ...


Photo: Eldora Ice Cream delivery van, 1950s.
- Massey family.

1928 - 1964

A small family-owned ice cream brand that grew out of the milk treatment and vending business set up by Israel Massey in Devonport, Auckland.

At its peak, it distributed as far north as Whangarei, and as far south as Hamilton.
More ...

Peter Pan

- bjubes, TradeMe

This was made by the Denne family in Waipukurau, Hawke’s Bay. Their home was over the road from the factory on Takapau Rd, SH2. They sold to Tip Top in 1970s but the name stayed around. If your family had a deep freeze in 1950s Waipuk you had to have a Peter Pan birthday cake!

- Louise Lawson.

Copyright © The New Zealand Ice Cream Association (Inc.)
PO Box 9364, Wellington,
Telephone +64 4 385 1410.
Design by FoodWorks