In search of the
The first New World/Four Square store opened in 1963 and the Foodstuffs-owned supermarket chain, as the company’s Facebook page proudly proclaims, has been “tempting taste buds” ever since.
Take a look at a modern supermarket, with its fluorescent lights and big boxiness, and the first store in Stanmore, Christchurch, seems fairly quaint in comparison (although the window-sized sale posters are still in use today). But while the buildings may have changed markedly, many of the same Kiwi brands are still available.
Promotional imagery from inside the first stores shows shopkeepers in white aprons talking to ladies in smocks, who, being dutiful, smiling housewives, are stocking up on products from Chelsea, Chesdale, Choysa and Kelloggs.
Fast forward to 1989, and New World’s double page spread in the New Zealand Herald declares its 23rd birthday with neon blues, reds and greens and a dazzling cheerleader (mathletes may notice this birthday celebration would mean New World was founded in 1966, rather than 1963, but what’s a few years between friends). Like many ads of that era—and of previous eras—it was all about the coupon and, of interest to grocery taxonomists, it seems that tea towels, face cloths, rubber gloves and glasses were all categorised in the variety/hardware section back then.
On the company’s 25th birthday, two archetypal humans of the time show off their impressive bouffants, with “valued customers” receiving a commemorative anniversary key ring (it’s not clear what the unvalued customers received). And undoubtedly from a similar epoch, a glamorous shopper shows off her trolley in the car park (eagle-eyed bogans may notice the remnants of some classic car park ‘rarkies’ over her right—and very well-padded—shoulder).
Further on into the years we see evidence of a less restrictive time with cigarettes on sale at the Silverstream branch, the arrival of stateof-the-art point-of-sale technology, and a still from a TVC showing that most glorious of retro treats—fizzy drink in a glass bottle— being delivered. Ahhh, those were the days.