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


The Frigidaire Effect


Electric refrigerators, freezers and milk shake machines were allowing even small retailers to offer a range of chilled and frozen dairy treats:


                 Photo: Frew's Dairy, 17 Victoria Rd, Devonport, ca. 1930. William Frew owned and operated the
                 business between 1927 and 1939. It became one of the first Auckland Tip Top Milk Bars in 1938.
                
 - Devonport Historical Society and Museum collection.

Commercial "automatic electric cabinets" by Frigidaire had been available since 1927:

                                              Frigidaire trade advertisement, Auckland Star, 28 September 1927.

- The NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers' Assn. had arranged a bulk purchase price for refrigerated cabinets for Members - this may explain the above reference to "a reduction in cost".

In 1930, Frigidaire had synthesized Freon, a synthetic refrigerant (chlorofluorocarbon or CFC) leading to the development of safer, smaller, lighter, and cheaper refrigerators.

By the late 1930s, the free supply of a refrigerated cabinet was part of the ice cream manufacturer's distribution deal, to lock the retailer into their brand.

In February 1938, Peters Ice Cream was advertising in the NZ Herald,

"100 new retailers required for our next season 1938-1939. We supply you with Electric Automatic Cabinet free of charge. Book yours now to be assured of our Agency."

1937 - Peters Ice Cream Co. (N.Z.) Ltd in Auckland commissioned the country's first two automatic refrigerated ice cream transport trucks, built by D. McL. Wallace Ltd.


                 Peters Ice Cream built NZ's first mechanically refrigerated truck, 1937.
                
 - The Frostee Digest, NZICMA archives.


Timeline: the 30s


1931
- the President of the Ice Cream Manufacturer's Assn. expressed regret at the Napier earthquake catastrophe, and sympathy to member company Hawkes Bay Frozen Supplies Ltd which had suffered heavy financial loss. the company was not required to pay its 1931 subscription.

1932 - New Zealand's annual ice cream production is reported to be 600,000 gallons (2.7 million litres) in newspaper coverage of the annual NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers' Association conference.



                 Photo: Royal Ice Cream truck amongst the crowds gathered at Taieri to see Kingsford Smith and
                 his pioneering aircraft "Southern Cross", March 1933.
                
 - E. A. Phillips collection, Hocken Library.


1933 - Apex Ice Cream Co. began operations from its factory at 25 Manchester Street, Christchurch.
More about Apex at longwhitekid ...


1933 - Peters Ice Cream (NZ) Ltd, who already operated factories in Auckland (Newmarket), Hamilton and Whangarei, purchased ice cream factories in Rotorua and Whakatane from the Arawa Dairy Company Ltd.

Peters was established in New Zealand in 1930, probably an offshoot of the Australian (NSW) company of the same name.

More about Trans-Tasman ice cream brands.


                 Peters Ice Cream Newmarket factory, 10 Teed St, Newmarket, with delivery trucks, 1936
                 - Auckland Star advertisement.



October 1935 - The Robinson Ice Cream Co. Ltd opened their Grey Lynn factory extension,which doubled the area and resulted in the largest and most modernly-equipped ice cream factory in New Zealand. Their 1936 product range listed Robinson's Pure Ice Cream, Eskimo Pies, Snow Ice, Rainbow Blocks, and Real Fruit Ice Cream.

The '30s saw the country's first Labour government, a new wave of socialism, and increased recognition of worker's rights.

In 1936 the Ice Cream & Related Trades Union was registered, and by November of that year, negotiations over pay and conditions had already broken down and were before the Conciliation Commissioner.

An Award was finally agreed by March 1938 (for employees of ice cream manufacturers within a 25 mile radius of Wellington), the main features of which were a working week of five and a half eight-hour days in summer, and four and a half eight-hour days in winter. Minimum weekly rates of pay were: - lce Cream Maker, £6; Assistant Ice Cream Maker, £5 5s; ice cream storemen, £5; general hands, £4 10s; youths under 17 years of age, £1.

1937 - The New Zealand Herald published an article on 6 November titled "In an Ice Cream Factory - The History of These Tasty Delights", "Specially Written for Boys and Girls by OLGA P. MEYER":

Ice-cream really begins as milk; really good creamy milk, to which is added a certain amount of sugar and gelatine.

Each morning fresh milk is mixed with these other things, and put into a big tank where it is pasteurised (which means heating gradually up to 145 degree Fahrenheit to destroy germs). The tank has what is known as a water-jacket; that is to say, it really has double sides, between which water circulates. When the water is heated, and the required temperature for pasteurisation reached, cold water is turned on until the mixture in the tank is about 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

This mixture is called "raw mix," which then passes into a "viscoliser," which is a machine working under pressure of three thousand pounds to the square inch, and which splits up the little fat globules, giving the mixture its smooth texture.

In pipes the "raw mix" then passes into a cooler, where an intricate system of piping is surrounded by water, and from here, still in pipes, the mixture is passed into an aging vat. Here the water-jacket has an ammonia coil in it too, and as this cools it more than water alone would, the temperature quickly falls from about 60 degrees to 42 degrees.

From twenty-four to seventy-two hours the "raw mix" remains in this vat, and from here it passes into a churn where it is whipped up, and flavouring added if desired.

It is an interesting fact that from the time the milk is poured into the first tank, until the mixture reaches the churn, it travels all the time in enclosed pipes.

From the churn it is put into cans of various sizes, holding from one gallon to five gallons, and then it is placed in very cold rooms to harden. The temperature of these rooms is from zero to ten degrees below, so you can imagine how chilly that would be!

After about ten hours of this, the icecream is ready to go out into the van for delivery to the shops. These vans are specially made, and have very thick cork-lined walls, to keep out any heat that might penetrate and soften the ice-cream.

I think everyone knows what happens to ices after they reach the shops!


1939 - Max Simon established Newjoy Ice Cream Ltd, in premises at 381 Cumberland St., Dunedin.


Ice Cream, The Health Food



                 Peters Ice Cream advertisement, Auckland Star, 19 December 1936.

Ice cream's health-giving properties were a major selling point, especially as the country emerged from the Great Depression. Ice cream, as a dairy product, was considered to have a high food value, and claims were made that it was “extremely valuable … in some of the most serious forms of illness and in convalescence.”

1937 - In a world first, the first Labour government, in an effort to improve the health of young New Zealanders (and use up surplus milk), had introduced a scheme to supply free milk to schoolchildren.

In what could have been an even more popular public health breakthrough, it was proposed in December 1938 that instead of milk, ice cream be given free to children in schools. Unfortunately for our grandparents, this far-sighted idea wasn't taken up by the government, but at the time the Evening Post reported:

Mr. W. R. Nicol. chairman of the Wairarapa Milk Committee, favours the proposal and considers that the supply of ice-cream would be well worth trying as an experiment. He pointed out that it would cost about £3000 to provide the necessary equipment to enable milk to be supplied to the school children under the desired conditions, whereas it should be possible to handle ice-cream much more cheaply than that.

He intended to discuss the matter with Mr. J. Robertson, M.P. If the proposal is adopted there is no question as to its popularity with the children.

In making the suggestion in the first place, Mr. Russell said ice-cream had a richer food value than milk, it was readily digested, children liked it, it was easy to store and distribute, and there was no waste.


The Modern Milk Bar


10 October 1935
- The original Tip Top Milk Bar, was opened at 36 Manners St., Wellington, by Len Malaghan and Bert Hayman's company Health Foods Ltd., selling only ice cream and milkshakes (see sidebar).

The Evening Post reported that it was "Wellington's first milk bar", following the popularity of this type of business overseas.

" Milk and ice cream are basis of almost all the many varieties of drink obtainable at the bar, which is equipped with modern electrical devices for the freezing and mixing of the drinks. It is anticipated that the milk required for it will be between 200 and 300 gallons a week."

The term "milk bar" had been in use for some time, and by the mid-30s, most milk bars were following the fashion for serving flavoured milk as a cold, healthy drink. Other earlier "milk bars" such as the Oasis in Auckland promoted hot milk drinks rather than cold.

However, it seems likely that the Tip Top Milk Bar was the first shop in New Zealand to sell only ice cream and milk shakes.

Tip Top's claim to be the first in Wellington was disputed at the time by Gates Ltd Lounge & Milk Bar, which had already operated in Wellington for over 20 years, however, Gates did not sell the combination of milk shakes and ice cream that came to define the American-style Milk Bar as we now know it.



                 Photo: Health Foods (NZ) Ltd. Tip Top Milk Bar, Courtenay Place, Wellington, ca. 1936
                 
- Dominion Post.

The instant success of the business led to expansion. A second Tip Top Milk Bar was opened on Lambton Quay in March 1936, managed by Bert's brother Gordon Hayman and his wife.

In May, Health Foods New Zealand was registered with a capital of £15,000. It acquired the Wellington shops and Bert's shop in Dunedin, and began to expand into other areas.

By the end of 1937 there were six Health Foods (NZ)-operated Tip Top Milk Bars in central Wellington, two of them in Cuba St.


                 Advertisement promoting Wellington's Milk Bars, Evening Post, 19 January 1938


Tip Top milk bars were also opened in Eastbourne, Upper Hutt (1937), Blenheim, and around the lower North Island.

The Sunshine Milk Bar in Nelson acquired the Tip Top agency for Nelson Districts in 1936, and the Black & White Milk Bar at 108 Cuba St, Wellington, was taken over by Health Foods in December 1937.

In July 1936 the Tip Top Ice Cream Company was registered as a manufacturing company, and a factory was opened on the site of the Co-operative Dairy Producers Freezing Co. Ltd's cool stores on Waterloo Quay in central Wellington.

May 1938 - Tip Top Ice Cream Company Auckland Limited was launched, with Tip Top Ice Cream Company (Wellington), Health Foods (New Zealand) Ltd, and Len Malaghan as major shareholders.

A factory was built at 20 Dunkerron Avenue, Epsom, and the first Auckland Tip Top Milk Bar was opened by Health Foods (Auckland) Ltd. that year at 53 Queen St:


                 The first Auckland Tip Top Milk Bar, lower Queen Street shopping feature,
                 NZ Herald, 28 September 1938


With the arrival of the Second World War however, both Wellington and Auckland-based chains of Tip Top milk bars began to struggle with distribution and staff problems, and the milk bar side of the business (Health Foods (NZ) Ltd) was wound down in the early 1940s.


                 Photo: Sunshine Milk Bar and ice cream factory, 1941. Proprietor Ralph Thomas at rear in factory.
                 Sunshine had held the Tip Top agency for Nelson Districts since 1936, but decided to produce their
                 own and set up a small factory in 1941.
                 
- The Nelson Provincial Museum, Kingsford Collection, 154357/6
                 - Permission of the Nelson Provincial Museum, Nelson, N.Z., must be obtained before any re-use of this image.


Ice Cream Goes to War


1939-45
- The outbreak of war had a profound affect on the ice cream industry. Key ingredients - milkfat and sugar - were considered essential to the war effort, and supplies were severely restricted. This forced manufacturers to re-formulate, cut back on output, reduce product ranges and restrict distribution.


                                              Robinson's Ice Cream advertisement, NZ Herald, 14 November 1941.


Wartime rationing of petrol and tyres led to enforced "zoning" for all ice cream manufacturers - Christchurch's three main manufacturers, Perfection, Apex and Top Notch, agreed to divide the city into three areas to reduce mileages.


                                                                    Apex Ice Cream advertisement, RNZAF
                                                                    "Contact" magazine, September 1944.


1942 - The Rationing Controller, Mr Thomas, confirmed that 50% sugar rationing had been applied throughout the Dominion. All ice cream permits were to be issued directly from the Rationing Controller’s office.

Despite the restrictions, it was conceded that ice cream had its uses. A good serving of ice cream was said to lift a soldier's spirits and suppliers of ice cream to military camps were allowed extra sugar, for that use only, to meet a military camp standard of 3/5 lb sugar to the finished gallon of ice cream. Supply to military camps was limited to a maximum rate of 2 gallons of ice cream per man per year.

With the sugar shortage, manufacturers looked for substitute sweeteners, such as malt:


Ice Cream in Battle Dress!

                   Frosty Jack advertisement, Evening Post, 2 November 1942.


Some used golden syrup, and some used honey.

But by January 1943, manufacturers were getting desperate:

Representatives of the ice cream industry waited on the Minister of Industries and Commerce (Mr. Sullivan) recently to place before him the serious position of the industry in consequence, of the severe cut in sugar supplies. It was stressed that it would require only 260 tons of sugar to enable the industry to produce sufficient ice cream to enable the 6000 odd small shopkeepers to carry on, for these shopkeepers depended on ice cream to supplement their small return from distribution of staple commodities such as bread, milk, butter, etc.

The Minister stated that he fully appreciated the value of the industry, and the difficulties confronting it, and wished he had sufficient supplies to grant the request, but he was being pressed from all directions for increased supply. The housewife wanted more sugar for jam-making, and he could not increase the ration of one without the other. The difficulty was principally shipping, and until shipping was available from present urgent war requirements he could see no way out of it, although every step was being taken to overcome the problem.

The Government eventually gave in to lobbying by the industry and amended the ice cream regulations to allow the use of saccharine, although by the time the legislation was in place, the war had ended.

1942 - From May of this year, American forces began to arrive in New Zealand, on their way to the war in the Pacific.

The New American Ice Cream Company was established in the early 1940s by Christopher Montague Peck, a dairy farmer with a town supply contract for the South Auckland region. He had surplus milk and cream and began making ice cream, securing contracts to supply Pan American Airways, who at that time were servicing Auckland and the Pacific with flying boats, and American troops based in New Zealand.

He also established the New American Milk Bar, an American-style ice cream parlour on the corner of Teed Street and Broadway in Newmarket, Auckland, to provide the thousands of GI's stationed in the city with a taste of home.


                 Photo: American servicemen and women enjoying milkshakes and ice cream sundaes, 1942
                 
- US National Archives.


December 1943 - under wartime rationing regulations, the Government reduced the minimum butterfat content required in ice cream from 10 per cent to 8.

And while you might have expected them to have more important issues to attend to, the bureaucrats had time to clamp down on pricing and serving sizes:

The Price Tribunal announced today that a retailer commits a breach of the Price Regulations if he charges more than 1d, 3d, or 6d as the case may be for the customary 1d, 3d, or 6d retail measure of ice cream, the prices to be inclusive of cone. The retailer also is not entitled to reduce retail measure below the volume or weight supplied on September 1, 1939.

The retailer also is not entitled to reduce retail measure below the volume or weight supplied on September 1, 1939. The Tribunal added that the New Zealand Standards Institute was at present enquiring into the question of fixing standards for retail measures of ice cream.

The products known to the trade as "ice cream novelty lines" have been dealt with separately. Following the operation of the higher rate of sales tax, increases have been authorised in the maximum prices of 3d, 6d, and 1s ice cream novelty lines to 3 ½d, 6 ½d, and ls 1d respectively. The 1d novelty lines, including ice blocks, however, are to remain unchanged at 1d each.



                       Photo: American servicemen ordering sodas and sundaes at the American Red Cross Cecil
                       Club in Wellington
                       
- US National Archives.


Production grew from 4 to 10 million litres per year during the 1940s, due to the demands of US servicemen stationed in the country, and the growing availability of refrigerators and commercial deep freezers.

4 July 1944 - The Auckland Star reported on the Peters Ice Cream AGM:

Satisfaction with the year's operations in the face of wartime difficulties was expressed by the chairman, Mr. R. G. Rainger at the annual meeting of Peters Ice Cream (N.Z.), Ltd., today.

Mr. Rainger mentioned that the presence of large numbers of visiting servicemen had been reflected in increased sales. But for the reduction of 50 per cent in sugar supplies, and 33 1-3 per cent in butterfat, the company could have supplied a much larger market.

The absence of novelties had resulted in a saving in costs.

And ice cream wasn't only being supplied for the home front.

In September 1941, it was reported in the press that the National Patriotic Fund Board was due to take delivery of an ice cream manufacturing plant which had been constructed at General Motors' works in Petone, to be shipped overseas for the use of New Zealand Forces in the Middle East.

It will have a double purpose - the cooling of drinks besides the provision of ice cream. The equipment decided upon is capable of producing 250 to 300 gallons of ice cream for an eight-hour working day, and a greater quantity if required.

Besides the manufacturing plant, the equipment includes a specially-built refrigerated truck to enable the ice cream to be transported to the hospitals and the forward areas. The truck has already been completed. It has been built for heavy duty and incorporates some interesting features designed to make it a reliable and serviceable unit under the difficult conditions in which it is to operate.

It's success was reported in the Evening Post in December 1943:

Besides having a pie factory and a bakery at Maadi, in Egypt, the New Zealand troops have their own ice cream factory.

Sergeant J. J. Winstanley, of Wellington, who is in charge of this factory, is at present home on furlough, being one of the party who returned recently. In an interview he gave details of the factory's output and described the great pleasure of the men at being able to obtain a wholesome high quality ice cream made by their own plant.

Sergeant Winstanley left New Zealand with the Third Reinforcements and took part in the various campaigns up to the Battle of El Alamein. Making ice cream was his civilian occupation, and when the ice cream plant and ingredients supplied for the troops by the National Patriotic Fund Board arrived he was placed in charge of the factory.

It has been a full-time job in every sense of the term, for the daily output of Sergeant Winstanley and his three assistants has been built up to approximately 250 gallons, seven days a week. Their working day has been from eight to ten hours.

" It was an eye-opener to me to see what a small plant with few men could do," he said, referring to the volume of production. "The factory was opened by Lady Freyberg on July 3 last year, and in ten months we produced 50,000 gallons of ice cream." The ice cream is delivered in a refrigerated truck to the New Zealand general hospitals. It is also supplied to two rest homes for New Zealand officers and nurses in Cairo, the New Zealand Forces Club, the Lowry Hut, the officers', sergeants', and men's messes at Maadi Camp, and the huts conducted by the Y.M.C.A. and Church Army.

Hospital patients are supplied free, and in the clubs and canteens, where the ice cream is sold, the charge is on the basis of sixpence worth of ice cream for about 2d. A small charge is made for the ice cream supplied to the messes, and this is met from regimental funds.

All the ingredients are supplied from New Zealand through the National Patriotic Fund Board. The ice cream is tested from time to time, and as evidence of its high quality Sergeant Winstanley produced a certificate from the Deputy Director of Medical Services, Middle East. The New Zealand factory was the first to receive supplies of and use New Zealand dehydrated butterfat.

Sergeant Winstanley said that the icecream was particularly appreciated by the patients in the New Zealand hospitals. There had been cases where patients had been unable to eat ordinary food but had been able to take some ice cream.

Jim Winstanley had been captured by the Italians in Benghazi in November 1941, spent 6 weeks as a Prisoner Of War, and was then liberated. After a period convalescing, he was seconded to run the new ice cream factory that had been installed at Maadi Camp - he had worked for Frozen Products (Frosty Jack) before the war. The factory started manufacturing on 3 July 1942, producing around 7000 gallons a month.


                 Photo: Sgt Jim Winstanley at the Maadi Camp ice cream factory (inset), 1943
                 
- Frostee Digest.


In 1943 a "mini ice cream factory" was manufactured by H. W. Clarke, refrigeration engineers in Wellington, for shipping with American forces to Guadalcanal, and another went to New Zealand forces in New Caledonia.


                                                  Wellingtonian J. McDonald operating the churn,  NZEF
                                                  ice cream plant, New Caledonia, 1943.
                                                    
- Frostee Digest.


And in November 1944, Tip Top ice cream mix was supplied to Camp Tui, a beach rest centre on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where an ice cream plant had been installed for the use of RNZAF (air force) servicemen on leave from the fighting.


                 Photo: Tui Club, Guadalcanal
                 
- Arthur Manz Collection, via Jenny Scott.


1945 - A pint (600ml) carton of ice cream sold for 1/4 ½ (one shilling, fourpence ha'penny), and a quart for 2/9.

1945 - On the recommendation of the Wellington Medical Officer of Health, the Petone Borough Council resolved to ask all municipal bodies to prohibit the sale of ice cream in cinemas throughout the country. The problem was that ice creams in cones were being scooped and handled by cinema staff at the same time as they handled packaged items, confectionery, money, etc..

The debate over hygiene standards covering the sale of un-packaged ice cream in cinemas and "composite shops" continued for several years, highlighting different approaches by central authorities (the Health Dept.), and local body health inspectors.

The NZICMA argued that such sales should be permitted provided there were hygienic conditions at the point of sale and adequate facilities for washing hands.

1946 - The Food and Drug Regulations 1946 was published, with definitions for Ice Cream, Milk Ices / Milk Blocks, and Ices.


                 Ice cream shippers, advertised by A.C. Taylor & Co. Ltd., Christchurch, 1947.
                
 - The Frostee Digest, NZICMA archives.

1947 - Apex Ice Cream set up an 80-quart Vogt ice cream churn on their stand at the New Zealand Industries Fair held in Christchurch, and wowed the crowds by producing ice cream for four hours a day, filling sixpenny cartons at the rate of 1800/hr.


                                                  Apex Ice Cream, NZ Industries Fair, Christchurch, 1947.
                                                    
- Frostee Digest.


1948 - Sugar rationing ended.

After the war, manufacturers were torn - they wanted to maintain the quality of ice cream but there were concerns that, if the standard was raised to 10% milk fat again, the Government's price control system would not allow them to recover the true costs of the additional 2% butterfat.

Much of the 1950s were taken up with negotiating various issues under the proposed new Food and Drug Regulations and it wasn't until 1961 that the minimum fat content was increased back to 10%.

New Zealand's iconic Joy Bar was invented in 1948 by the clever people at the Perfection Ice Cream Company, Christchurch.
Read the Joy Bar story here ...


                 J. H. Brown 'The Silver Bell' - Music & Radio Dealer & Confectionery, advertising Clarke's Ice Cream,
                 "Bombs", "Slices", "Cartons", "Cones". Main St, Upper Hutt, January 1948. Photographer: Leo Morel.
                 
- Upper Hutt City Library Heritage Collections. Ref. P2-164-276.


November 1948 - For the first time, Massey Agricultural College included a section on ice cream manufacture in its ten day Market Milk technical course.

1949 - Ice cream was added to the NZ consumers price index (CPI) basket of goods and services. A 'slice' of ice cream was priced around 3 pence (85 cents in today's terms).

Frozen Products Limited, Wellington applied for a Trade Mark for the term "Ripple Ice Cream".

1949 - Tip Top (Wellington)'s Len Malaghan was behind the company's first refrigerated trucking operation which became Refrigerated Freight Lines Ltd.




1951 - 1970

1911 - 1930



Sources, references and related sites:

Archives New Zealand:
http://archives.govt.nz/

Devonport Historical Society and Museum collection.
www.devonportmuseum.org.nz

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography:
www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/5m29/1

Mudcakes & Roses, April 2008 issue, Tasman District Council

NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers Assn. archives.

Papers Past (National Library of New Zealand digitised newspapers database):
http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/

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

The Early Tip Top Story, Tip Top archives

Tip Top Ice Cream Co.:
www.tiptop.co.nz


BackBack to the Resources page

Apex


Apex Ice Cream advertising sign, 1950s?
- longwhitekid.

1932 - 1960

From a tiny factory in Peterborough St., George Gourley built Apex into one of Christchurch's big three ice cream brands.

In the early days, their main trade was supplying picnics, parties and socials.
More ...

                Tip Top Ice Cream Co.

Albert Hayman and Len Malaghan

In 1935 two friends, Albert Hayman and Len Malaghan, opened a milk bar in Manners St, Wellington, the first shop in New Zealand to sell only ice cream and milk shakes.

Malaghan was already a qualified dairy factory manager by the time he was 18, making cheese and butter at the Tapanui Co-Operative Dairy Co.. He was given the opportunity to train under visiting American ice cream manufacturing experts, and then spent four years as manager of the Dunedin Ice Cream Manufacturing Company, makers of the Royal Ice Cream brand.

Hayman was one of his Dunedin customers, owning a shop in the Octagon.

Out for dinner one evening, the partners are said to have overheard a fellow diner describe their meal as "tip-top", and an ice cream brand name was born.

The original Tip Top Milk Bar, 36 Manners St
Photo: The original Tip Top milk bar, 36 Manners St, Wellington, 1935.
- The Early Tip Top Story, Tip Top archives

The new milk bar was officially opened by J. A. Murdoch, Minister of Agriculture and Chairman of the Dairy Control Board, which ensured that it received plenty of publicity:


- Evening Post, 10 October 1935.

The new milk bar took Wellington by storm, and a second was opened in Lambton Quay in March 1936. This was followed quickly by one in Dunedin, and at least four more in Wellington.
Tip Top Milk Bar, Manners St
Photo: Tip Top milk bar on the corner of Manners and Cuba streets, Wellington, 1930s. Photographer: Gordon H. Burt.
- Alexander Turnbull Library. Reference: F-117867-1/2

For the first year of business, "Tip Top" ice cream was supplied by Len's old employer, Royal, of Dunedin. In July 1936 the Tip Top Ice Cream Company was registered as a manufacturing company and a factory was opened on the site of the Co-operative Dairy Producers Freezing Co. Ltd's coolstores in central Wellington.

In May 1938 Tip Top Ice Cream Company Auckland Limited was incorporated into the growing ice cream business. Due to distribution difficulties and World War II, this was operated as a completely separate company to the Wellington Tip Top. The Auckland factory was located in Epsom.

The war also impacted on the company’s chain of milk bars, closed down due to loss of staff to the armed services.


The manufacturing side of both businesses went from strength to strength however, and Tip Top's first novelty ice cream on a stick was launched in the early 1950s, a choc-coated vanilla ice cream called Topsy, reputedly named after one of Len's favourite cows.

In 1953, Tip Top Wellington opened a new factory in Johnsonville.


Photo: Tip Top Johnsonville factory, 1966.
- Tip Top archives.

In 1960 the Wellington and Auckland businesses were merged as General Foods Corporation (NZ) Limited.

In 1962 Tip Top built what was at the time the Southern Hemisphere's largest and most advanced ice cream factory in Mt Wellington, Auckland.

By 1964, Tip Top had achieved national distribution.


Tip Top is now New Zealand's largest ice cream manufacturer, producing around 50 million litres of ice cream each year, and responsible for iconic Kiwi products such as TT2, Toppa, Trumpet, FruJu, Jelly Tip, Choc Bar, Joy Bar, Memphis Meltdown, Paradiso, and Popsicle.


Tip Top favourites - Rocky Road, Jelly Tip, Fruju, Choc Bar.
- Tip Top

                               Newjoy


Brian Simon with Newjoy refrigerated ice cream truck, early 1950s.
 - Simon family collection, via Shona McCahon.

1939 - 1961

After having made Phantazzi ice cream in Invercargill for several years, Max Simon moved to Dunedin in 1939 and established Newjoy Ice Cream. The business distributed around the Dunedin area, and by rail as far as Invercargill and Oamaru. The company has one very particular (and controversial) claim to fame ...
More ...

                         Sunshine

1941 - 1954.

Sunshine Ice Cream Co. grew out of a fruit & vegetable shop-turned milk bar in Trafalgar St, Nelson, run by Ralph and Irene Thomas.


Photo: Sunshine Milk Bar and ice cream factory, 1941 (detail).
- The Nelson Provincial Museum, Kingsford Collection, 154357/6
- Permission of the Nelson Provincial Museum, Nelson, N.Z., must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

More ...

Copyright © The New Zealand Ice Cream Manufacturers Association (Inc.)
PO Box 9364, Wellington,
NEW ZEALAND.
Telephone +64 4 385 1410.
E-mail: info@nzicecream.org.nz
Design by FoodWorks