The New Zealand Apple Song

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In 1940 New Zealand was drowning in apples. The war meant export orders could not be shipped, so there were a million cases of excess export apples to be eaten domestically.

The power of commercial radio was enlisted and this song, written by Ivan Perrin, was the winner in a nationwide contest to find a song to promote apples – an early example of the power of a catchy jingle:

Any time is apple time
Whether you’re 9 or 99
Here's a healthy golden rule
Take an apple each day to school
Munch it, crunch it
Call for more
Crunch it, munch it
Eat it right down 'til you reach the core
Any time is apple time
Whether it's wet or whether it’s fine
Don't neglect this daily rule
Take some apples with you to school.

A version of this song sung by the children of Lyall Bay School was played every morning on the commercial network radio stations during the "children's session," which young listeners would have heard before heading off to school – no doubt with several apples in their bag!

There was also a national Apple Pie baking contest – with the finals in Wellington judged by (who else?) beloved radio personality Aunt Daisy.

This particular version of "The New Zealand Apple Song" was recorded by Theo Walters' Personality Band, well-known entertainers  of the 1930s and 1940s who often appeared on the radio. It is thought the uncredited vocalist could be Jean McPherson, New Zealand's "Sweetheart of the Forces" during World War II.

Image: Cole, Edward, active 1930s: New Zealand apples, the Empire's star turn. The Dominion of New Zealand [1930s?]. Ref: Eph-E-FRUIT-1930s-01. Alexander Turnbull Library

Catalogue Reference 29134

Year 1940


Songwriter: Ivan Perrin
Performers: Theo Walters' Personality Band
Macquarie 78rpm disc recording

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Whakamahia ai mātou ngā pihikete ki te rapu māramatanga ki te āhua o tō whakamahi i tēnei paetukutuku, ki te whakapai hoki i tō whai wāhi mai. Ki te rapu kōrero anō pānuitia te kaupapahere tūmataiti.