The New Zealand Ice Cream Association
The New Zealand Ice Cream Association

1971 - 1990

Phantazzi, Newjoy, Manda & Deep South

- the Simon family legacy

In 1928, a World War I veteran and jobless Max Simon (pronounced See-mon) began making ice cream in a garage at the Appleby Hotel in Invercargill, where he was boarding with his sister.

This grew into a successful business, operating as Phantazzi Ice Cream.

Max's 'factory' was only 15 feet by 8 feet in area. Ice cream mix was prepared in a jacketed copper, used for both heating and cooling. There was no refrigeration, so he had to use ice and salt in a hand-operated churn, packing the ice cream into tin cans, and storing in ice and salt for sale the following day. Later he would take it in the Model T Ford that he purchased for £14 to store in a freezer at Miller's Bakery.

His success may have been too much for one of the other local manufacturers. Max was building a new factory around 1934 when he was approached by Dunedin's Crystal Ice Cream, who are said to have threatened to put him out of business if he didn't sell up to them.

Around 1935, Phantazzi built a new factory, and in 1936, there was evidence of the company's expansion northwards when Phantazzi Ice Cream Dunedin Ltd was registered, as a coolstore and distribution centre.

Max eventually sold the business to Southland Ice Cream Co. Ltd., and the factory was closed down, later to be re-commissioned and used by Sunkist Ice Cream.

Max moved his family to Dunedin in 1939, where he established a new ice cream business, Newjoy Ice Cream Ltd.

He bought a site, built a house and set up operations in an old brush factory next door at 381 Cumberland St., not far from the Cadbury factory.

                 The Newjoy factory , 381 Cumberland St. Brian and Max Simon with delivery vehicles.
                 - The Frostee Digest, NZICA archives.

                 The Newjoy factory and delivery fleet.The delivery vans were Bedford and Bradford
                 makes, not refrigerated. Refrigerated truck at right.
                 - Simon family collection, via Shona McCahon.

The family lived right beside the factory, and Max's son Brian Simon remembers having to shut the window when small leaks from the old Lipman ammonia compressor filtered into he and his brother's bedroom.

The factory had two beautifully-made, glass-lined steel 200 gallon vats that Max had purchased from the U.S., with counterbalanced lids. These were used for making up the mix, and heating it up to pasteurisation temperature. Milk, milk powder, sugar, Glyceryl Monostearate (GMS, emulsifier), and gelatine (stabiliser) were added and mixed together with an agitator. As it was heated up, blocks of butter were added.

                 Brian and Max making up a batch in one of Newjoy's glass-lined mix vats, ca. 1960.
 Homogeniser nearest camera.
                 - The Frostee Digest, NZICA archives.

The heated mix was pumped to a Weir homogeniser, then cooled through a pipe heat exchanger, then further cooled in a circulating pipe arrangement in a cooling vat.

Mix was held overnight for churning the next day.

The operation had two continuous Vogt freezer churns, fed by batches of mix; freezing the liquid mix, and with stainless blades scraping frozen mix off the inside cooling surface of the barrel of the churn, and whipping air in, to an overrun of 140%.

Newjoy purchased their continuous churns around 1948, and Winston Gourley from Apex Ice Cream in Christchurch came down to show the team how to run them.

They also had a cutting and wrapping machine, and a carton-filling machine.

Newjoy ice cream carton, ca. 1950s.
- richman12.

The flavour range was quite limited - vanilla of course, and raspberry ripple, orange ripple, chocolate ripple, and occasionally passionfruit ripple. Flava-Tru flavour essences were sometimes used, and these, with associated colour powders were added prior to churning.

The boys helped pack "sixpenny blocks" (later "sevenpenny blocks"!) in the factory, adding lids and attaching wooden spoons.

Bulk (scooping) ice cream was packed into 2 1/2, 3 and 5 gallon (tin) cans.

The ice cream blocks were packed tightly into wooden boxes lined with corrugated cardboard, and sometimes in canvas bags, for sending by (un-refrigerated) rail as far as Invercargill and Oamaru. Cartridges containing frozen brine were sometimes used to supplement the insulation.

When he turned 17 (in 1951), Brian left school to work full-time for the family business, and with his drivers licence, and later HT licence, helped out with deliveries.

Not long after that, Newjoy purchased the South Island's first refrigerated truck, a brand new 8 tonne Foden:

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

Whites Light Metal Industries in Auckland built the insulated body, installed the refrigeration unit, and drove it down to Dunedin. After they received this, Newjoy began distributing for Birdseye, freighting frozen foods from Birdseye's Christchurch operation to its Dunedin coolstore. They also did some distribution of ice blocks for Royal Ice Cream.

                 Newjoy Ice Cream refrigerated truck at summer show, Dunedin, circa 1950s.
                 - Simon family collection, via Shona McCahon.

Newjoy stakes a particular claim to fame in the history of ice cream in this country. It may have been the first company to make all-time Kiwi favourite, Hokey Pokey ice cream.

In a 2010 interview with Radio NZ, Brian Simon recalls making the first Hokey Pokey ice cream at Newjoy in 1953, using broken Crunchie Bar pieces from the Cadbury Fry Hudson factory just down the street (Brian's interview at 00:15:45):

“I was 18 and working in my father’s ice cream factory Newjoy Ice Cream Co., and we thought about different flavours (we could produce). I was reading in an American magazine about what they were making there and one was candy ice cream, and I thought “well, we’ve never had one like that in New Zealand”.

We had two Dutchmen working there during the daytime and then when they knocked off, they walked up the road to Cadbury’s to do the night shift. One day I asked them – “what are you doing there?” and they said “Oh, we’re making Crunchie Bars”. So I said “do they have any broken Hokey Pokey?”and they said “yes, they’ve got quite a bit” and I said “well can you put me in touch with the man that I can talk to about buying some?” So we got some and I started sprinkling it into the ice cream.

And that’s how we first made ice cream with Hokey Pokey in it and it became quite popular. Our opposition at the time was Crystal Ice Cream in Dunedin and they started doing it too – and it just sort of blossomed from there.”

                 Newjoy Ice Cream sign outside dairy, Half Moon Bay, Stewart Island, October 1956.
                Brian hand-painted this sign while on his honeymoon!

                 - Simon family collection, via Shona McCahon.

Newjoy also had 40 ice cream moulds and a brine tank for making ice blocks, stick novelties and chocolate bombs - each mould with 24 specially-shaped cavities. It was a very manual process, filling the moulds, freezing them firstly in calcium chloride brine, then in the blast freezer, at -30 degrees C.

When they were frozen hard, the moulds were dipped in hot water to loosen and remove the shaped products, some also needing to be dipped in hot chocolate and re-frozen, before wrapping each one individually by hand in paper bags.

Newjoy Ice Cream menu board                                                  Newjoy Ice Cream menu board, Tyrell & Holmes, 1958
- D. R. Murray, Built In Dunedin

Joysticks were a long choc-coated ice cream in a cardboard packet. Jaffa Beauts were orange-flavoured ice cream "bombs" dipped in chocolate, sold in couplet cones. Robin Hoods were similar to Jaffa Beauts, but made with vanilla ice cream,.

Brian remembers some of the staff: Kees Hocks, Dennis Croker, George Chittock (can wash), Bert Campbell (foreman), Spencer Dyer (office and salesman), George Hanley (driver and later Invercargill depot manager), Jim and May Leader (and their daughter).

                 Newjoy Vanilla Ice Cream pint carton, around 1960.
                 - Simon family collection, via Shona McCahon.

                 Newjoy Neapolitan ice cream carton, 1 pint, around 1960.

By 1960, Newjoy operated five refrigerated trucks and several delivery vans, distributing throughout Otago and Southland.

In 1961, Max decided he had "had enough", and sold the Newjoy business to Crystal Ice Cream. Bill Haig took over the operation, and Brian continued to work for the business for a while. Laurie Haig and Jim Stevenson were also involved in the business at this time.

The factory was eventually closed down, and most of the equipment ended up in the Crystal Ice Cream factory, in King Edward Rd, which was sold to General Foods (Tip Top) in 1964.

The Cumberland St factory site is now a New World supermarket.

Max Augustus Sedgely Simon passed away on the 25th of March 1974.

Brian and Jeanette (and their two young children, Linda and Barbara) went farming at Mokotua near Invercargill for three years, but finding the life too quiet, Brian sold up and bought a house back in Dunedin, with the intention of moving back up and starting a new ice cream business. Meanwhile he found an old laundry in Leet St., Invercargill, and decided to convert that into an ice cream factory.

So Manda Ice Cream was born.

They started without a blast freezer, so ice cream was churned and packed off into 'sevenpenny blocks', quarts, pints, 1/2-gallon, 2 1/2 gallon and 3 gallon cardboard packs, which were immediately loaded into a small, second-hand refrigerated van for transport to Invercargill Milk Supply for freezing and storage.

The business started to boom, and they bought the land either side for expansion, and built their own freezers. Then they purchased 5 acres in Rockdale Road to build an even bigger factory, taking only ten weeks from starting the earthworks to producing ice cream, and losing only one day's production in the change of premises.

Manda grew significantly, with several trucks and depots in Central Otago and Dunedin.

Newjoy Ice Cream menu board                                                  Collectible Manda sticker, 1970s.
- Steve Williams.

One of Manda's most popular products from the '70s was Kiwifruit Ripple ice cream, a very true-to-natural flavour, and with Kiwifruit quite new to the market, probably ahead of its time. Making it meant staff had the unenviable job of peeling frozen kiwifruit by hand, and one remembers coming up with a method of dunking them in hot water to loosen the skins, just like tomatoes.

Around 1978, in what was surely a unique diversification for an ice cream business, Brian built an Olympic-size ice skating rink next door to utilise his surplus winter refrigeration!

In 1978, Manda amalgamated with local bakery Millar Lange, and the Simon family sold their shares soon after.

In 1982 Millar Lange sold out to Goodman Fielder, who at that time owned Tip Top, and some of the equipment, including Manda's Italian 10-lane Derby novelty machine, was moved up to Auckland.

In the late '80s, United Dairy Foods (makers of New American brand ice cream) took over and re-commissioned the old Rockdale Rd Manda factory. They also appear to have acquired the Manda brand, perhaps when Millar Lange sold to Goodman Fielder, and continued to produce Manda products from this factory, and their Tokomaru operation.

Newjoy Ice Cream menu board                                                  Manda Ice Cream 2 litre label, late 1980s.
- Owen Norton collection.

We don't know when the Manda brand was finally discontinued, but United Dairy Foods' ice cream operations were sold to Tip Top in 1997, so it is likely that Manda disappeared around that time.

After quitting their Manda shares in 1978, the Simons set up a coolstore business, called Deep South. After a while, Brian's son Paul suggested that they get back into the ice cream business, this time, just in a small way.

So in 1979, Deep South Ice Cream started up, intially with an old second-hand Creamery Package Manufacturing Company churn bought from Bruce Hastie (Blue Moon Ice Cream), in Havelock North. Later these were replaced with two reconditioned Vogt churns from Martin Bros., Louisiana.

                 Deep South Rockdale Rd Invercargill factory interior, undated. Homogeniser at left, blue
                 ice cream churn (with horizontal stainless barrel visible), flavour tank nearer camera,
                staff filling ice cream into cardboard bulk packs,  freezer door at rear.

                 - Simon family collection, via Shona McCahon.

It wasn't long before the business became more than "in a small way", and eventually it overtook Manda in size.

Deep South opened a brand new export-accredited factory in Hornby, Christchurch in September 1999, the only manufacturer at that time, besides Tip Top, to operate two factories.

If any proof of Brian's ice cream-making ability was needed, it was certainly provided with the establishment of the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards in 1998. By 2007, Deep South had won the Best In Category for Standard Vanilla Ice Cream at the Awards six years running, and a further two Best in Category's for Premium Vanilla Ice Cream.

Newjoy Ice Cream menu board                                                                             Deep South Vanilla.

Quite an achievement, as vanilla is the most difficult of flavours to score well with, there being no other flavours, colours or textures to hide defects.

In 2007 Invercargill-based sheep milk processor Blue River Dairies took a shareholding in the business, and the company became Deep South Ice Cream (2007) Ltd.

Newjoy Ice Cream menu board                                                  Deep South Hokey Pokey 2 litre, 2008.

In December 2010 the Simons sold Deep South to Christchurch business consultants Mike Killick and Alex Hopkins.

In 2013 the Rockdale Rd Invercargill factory was closed down, with the loss of 11 jobs, to consolidate production at Deep South's Christchurch plant.

Although the end of an era, it still wasn't the end of the Simon story.

In 2015 Brian returned to the ice cream business at 79 years of age, cranking up the churns at the Rockdale Rd plant for Christchurch-based company Dairyworks.

Brian was an on-site advisor to Dairyworks which in January of that year started producing ice cream in Invercargill, pumping out 3000 2-litre containers a day. The ice cream was sold around the South Island and soon went nationwide.

                  Jeanette and Brian Simon with Dairyworks 2 litre pack, Southland Times, 16 May 2015
                 - Credit: Southland Times, John Hawkins, Fairfax NZ

In a twist of fate, Dairyworks purchased the Deep South ice cream business in 2016, and discontinued its own ice cream brand in favour of Deep South.

Then in 2019, Dairyworks was acquired by Synlait Milk, and in October 2020, Synlait sold the Deep South ice cream business to Motueka-based Talley's Group.

As at 2022, the Deep South ice cream brand is still going strong, with nationwide distribution.

References and related sites:

Deep South Ice Cream

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.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

OUR Heritage (Otago University Research Heritage)

The Simon family.

The Southland Times.

BackBack to Ice Cream Brands from the Past.
         Brian & Jeanette Simon

              Jeanette & Brian, 1955
              - Simon family collection,
                  via Shona McCahon.

Brian's father Max was an ice cream manufacturer, so Brian grew up with ice cream, and joined the family business, Newjoy Ice Cream in Dunedin, at age 15, working there for 10 years.

He then went farming for a few years and in 1963, with Jeanette, founded the Manda Ice Cream Company in Invercargill.

In 1979 the family sold the Manda business and factory, and soon afterwards started up a new Invercargill-based business, Deep South Ice Cream.

Deep South opened a brand new export-accredited factory in Hornby, Christchurch in September 1999, the only manufacturer at that time, besides Tip Top, to operate two plants.

It could be argued that the Simons were the country's best ice cream makers of their day - under their management, Deep South won the Best In Category for Standard Vanilla Ice Cream at the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards six years running, and a further two Best in Category's for Premium Vanilla Ice Cream.

Brian was President of the NZ Ice Cream Manufacturers' Association from 1986-1988.

               Brian & Jeanette Simon

In 2003, Brian and Jeanette Simon were awarded Life Membership of the NZICA for their long association and contribution to the industry.

In 2010 the Simons sold Deep South.

Brian was still making ice cream in 2015 at age 79, re-commissioning the old Rockdale Rd factory, consulting to, and producing ice cream for Christchurch-based company Dairyworks.

Sadly Jeanette Alison Simon passed away on the 15th of February 2020.

Help Us Tell the Story

Newjoy advertising, Lambert's Four Square, St Clair, Dunedin, 1955 (still from film).
- Nga Taonga Sound & Vision.

If you can fill in any gaps in our history of Phantazzi, Newjoy, or Manda ice cream, please drop us a line:

       Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

Who invented Hokey Pokey ice cream? There are several stories, and a lot of speculation.

One story says that Hokey Pokey was first sold as a commercial ice cream flavour by the Meadow Gold Ice Cream Company of Papatoetoe in the 1940s. Except that we don't believe the company existed until the mid-'50s!

Another says that Tip Top Ice Cream Co. (Auckland) was the first to make it, around the same time, although again, the story is not well documented, and anyway, sugar rationing raises serious doubts that a product like this could have been launched during the war years.

A third story has Peter Pan Ice Cream in Waipukurau making the first Hokey Pokey ice cream in the mid '50s.

However by far the strongest claim for "invention" of the flavour is made by ice cream industry legend, Brian Simon.

In a 2010 interview with Radio NZ, he recalls making the first Hokey Pokey ice cream at Dunedin's Newjoy Ice Cream Co. in 1953, using broken Crunchie Bar pieces from the Cadbury Fry Hudson factory just down the street (Brian at 00:15:45):

This version also reinforces the historical claim that Dunedin is the "home" of Hokey Pokey.

Since 1868, Dunedin had been home to the very successful Hudson & Co. biscuit and confectionery company.

As early as 1892 a Christchurch confectioner, Edward Hill, was making a confectionery product called Hokey Pokey, as advertised in the South Canterbury Times and Timaru Herald, sold “one penny a lump”. Hill had spent eight years working on the steam pans at Hudsons in Dunedin before leaving to set up his own business, so it's possible that he learned how to make Hokey Pokey, or something like it, at Hudsons.

However, a New Zealand patent lodged in 1896 is the earliest definitive proof that we have of the name 'hokey pokey' being used in this country for the confectionery product that we also know as honeycomb toffee or cinder toffee.

On 14 March 1896 a handwritten application for the patent of a recipe, the invention for a confection to be known as Hokey Pokey, was lodged by William Hatton, a manufacturing confectioner from Caversham, Dunedin, at the New Zealand Patent Office.

He submitted his application under the Patents, Designs, and Trademarks Act 1889, along with a detailed recipe for producing “Hokey Pokey” from a mixture of sugar, glucose, water, and baking soda.

Whether Hudson & Co. already had Hokey Pokey in its product range, or whether at some point it acquired Hatton's business, or his skills, or just his recipe, we're not sure.

By 1930, Hudson became Cadbury Fry Hudson, and by 1953 the company was making Crunchie Bars in Dunedin, and that was when Newjoy started to put broken pieces of Hokey Pokey into ice cream.

Whoever invented it, the love affair has gone on for at least 50 years now.

Where else in the world would they give an ice cream flavour its own postage stamp?

As much a part of our summer as pohutukawa, jandals, and L&P, Hokey Pokey ice cream has become a Kiwi cultural icon.

Crunchy, gooey honey-comb toffee pieces in vanilla ice cream, a taste experience all of its own.

Much Moore Hokey Pokey Ice Cream, winner of the special "Best of Hokey Pokey" category at the 2012 NZ Ice Cream Awards.

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