Ice Cream and the Great Kiwi Summer

 – By Ellen Pullar, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Communications Advisor

It has been a cracker of a summer so far! If you’re anything like us you’ll have been flocking to the corner dairy or soft serve truck for icy treats to stay cool (conveniently there are two dairies and a gelato stall on Taranaki St, on the same block as Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Wellington, but I digress…). Ice cream has been a quintessential part of the kiwi summer for generations — it’s up there with jandals and stubbies. And, did you know, according to the wise and wonderful Aunt Daisy, it’s good for your health?

A few items from the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collections that document our nation’s longstanding adoration of ice cream follow.

A Sporting Topical (1928) 


This newsreel was made by Lawrie Inkster. The Greymouth-based Lawrie Inkster and his wife Hilda were prolific makers of home movies and newsreels. Their films document family and social life, leisure activities and public events in the region during the 1920s through the 1940s, with much warmth and energy. Here we see a group of young women, smartly dressed in the flapper style then current (including cloche hats and stylish headbands) perched on a sand dune, enjoying their ice creams.

Ice cream is wholesome fun for everyone! The youngsters enjoy it too. Isn’t she positively angelic, amongst the daisies?


The farmers need a break from their strenuous work.



And the animals mustn’t be left out either.




Watch the full film of A Sporting Topical here.

The Greymouth Gazette (1930)

The Greymouth Gazette is another one from Lawrie Inkster, who must have been an ice cream fan! This newsreel shows scenes from the Greymouth A&P Show.

The crowd enjoy a Snow Flake.


As does this monkey, a star of the festivities. He hisses when people attempt to take the ice cream from him.


Watch the full newsreel here.

Powdered Sunshine (1952)

Directed by Robert Steele, a notable figure in New Zealand’s independent film industry from the 1940s through the 1970s, Powdered Sunshine is a promotional film made for the Anchor Dairy Company, showing the production of milk powder in the Waikato. According to the film, it’s your patriotic duty to support the New Zealand diary industry by buying ice cream and using milk powder in a range of home-cooked desserts.

Ice cream being made at the factory.


An ice cream sundae, replete with pink wafers and hot chocolate sauce, is prepared at home.


A superimposed shot, showing some of the range of desserts — in addition to ice cream — that can be made at home, using Anchor milk powder. The desserts are showcased rotating on a glossy Lazy Susan, and are beautifully presented on doilies.


The desserts are so delicious that our hostess attracts an unexpected hungry visitor. Animals and ice cream is getting to be a common theme, perhaps meant to suggest how natural and wholesome kiwi ice cream is?


Advertisement for Tip Top Super Sundae (1975)

To wrap up the moving image examples, here is an advert for Tip Top’s Super Sundae, which continues the animal theme. This advert was directed by none other than Roger Donaldson.

This sun-drenched couple are enjoying their chocolate and passionfruit ice cream…


Then a cut to a long shot reveals that they are doing so while on horseback.


Radio Advertising

The Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection contains some fabulous audio records of the place of ice cream in our national culture.

Click below to listen to a jingle for Gaytime ice cream sung by Dinah Lee in 1964, followed by a fantastically catchy Tip Top radio commercial also from the 1960s.

[Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection. All Rights Reserved. For re-use information please contact]

Aunt Daisy

Even our beloved Aunt Daisy had opinions on ice cream. Maud Ruby Basham, known affectionately as Aunt Daisy, had a radio career spanning five decades, during which she established herself as an expert in household management. She dispensed countless nuggets of advice on this subject for her daily show targeted towards women, broadcast by 1ZB in Auckland.

In her show from 12 December 1958 Aunt Daisy promotes Slikka Pads, then a novel invention, which enable one to keep food cold while it’s out of the refrigerator. She comments on the usefulness of the Slikka Pads when buying ice cream if not heading home immediately — you can buy it at lunchtime and it will stay cold while you’re out and about until evening. In typical Aunt Daisy stream of consciousness style, this segment progresses into a more general meditation on the wonders of ice cream, which she assures her listeners is healthy because it contains no starch.

[Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection. All Rights Reserved. For re-use information please contact]


Well, if she says so, I better have another scoop!


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