Michael Fowler’s His­toric Hawke’s Bay

The scoop on clas­sic Bay ice e cream

Hawke's Bay Today - - DIGEST - Michael Fowler (mfhis­tory@gmail.com) is a char­tered ac­coun­tant and her­itage of­fi­cer at the Art Deco Trust. Michael Fowler His­toric Hawke’s Bay

One of Hawke’s Bay’s clas­sic brands of ice cream was Blue Moon — and many can still re­call the orig­i­nal busi­ness started by Mr Delaney, which had its 1938 be­gin­nings in a small dairy in Here­taunga St East.

The busi­ness was moved to a shop across the road in 1941 by the next owner, Wil­son Hazel­wood (1912-1991). When Tom McAv­inue (1894-1965) bought the dairy in 1947, he ex­panded it to in­clude an ice cream gar­den and gold­fish pond, mak­ing the ice cream at the back of his shop.

A com­pany sep­a­rate to the Blue Moon Dairy and ice cream gar­den was formed in 1949 to ex­pand the Blue Moon ice cream man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness. It had 17 share­hold­ers, with Ed­win Bate as chair­man. The com­pany sec­re­tary was Harold Carr.

The Blue Moon Dairy was sold to Bruce Hastie in 1957, and he im­me­di­ately in­creased the open­ing hours and added new prod­ucts, such as sun­daes and milk drinks. Bruce later added a cof­fee bar, one of the first in the area.

In ad­di­tion to in­creas­ing the prod­uct of­fer­ing, Bruce at­tributes his suc­cess­ful busi­ness to “clean­li­ness, cus­tomer ser­vice and well-trained staff”.

In 1962 Bruce had a visit from Harold Carr, who wanted to know if he would like to buy into the man­u­fac­tur­ing ice cream busi­ness of Blue Moon.

“Yes” said Bruce, “but only if I buy the whole com­pany.”

The share­hold­ers agreed to sell him the whole busi­ness. The man­u­fac­tur­ing side of it soon ex­panded, so Bruce bought a sec­tion in a newly de­vel­oped in­dus­trial area in Have­lock North, with street frontage to Karanema Drive. He opened Blue Moon’s ice cream fac­tory there in 1966. Agents were ap­pointed in Gis­borne, Manawatu and Taranaki for his prod­ucts.

Bruce him­self cre­ated new ice cream flavours (of which there were 30), such as Turk­ish cof­fee, dam­son (plum flavoured), and co­conut ice and cherry. Other prod­ucts in­cluded soft-serve ice cream. Cho­co­late bombs were made, and ice blocks un­der the brand Star Pops.

The ice cream mar­ket was ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive, es­pe­cially from Tip Top and Peter Pan, so he en­sured he had a top-qual­ity prod­uct. Ice cream was sold in one, two, four, five, 10 and 16-litre packs.

An­other wing to the build­ing was added to pro­vide more re­frig­er­ated space (the area is now oc­cu­pied by Acme Sup­plies).

In June 1976, Hawke’s Bay hosted its first and only ice cream con­fer­ence at the DB Te Mata in Have­lock North (now Mary Doyle Life­care). All the big play­ers were there, in­clud­ing Tip Top Ice Cream and Wat­tie’s.

Have­lock North Mayor Jeff Whit­taker opened the con­fer­ence, which had three Hawke’s Bay rep­re­sen­ta­tives: Rush Munro, Denne’s (Peter Pan Ice Cream) and Blue Moon. (Rush Munro’s is the only one re­main­ing.) One of the top­i­cal is­sues was the de­cline in sales of bulk ice cream. A strat­egy the con­fer­ence came up with was to pro­mote ice cream par­lours to en­able growth of cone sales.

In 1984 Bruce Hastie was pres­i­dent of New Zealand In­de­pen­dent Ice Cream Man­u­fac­tur­ers and vicepres­i­dent of New Zealand Ice Cream Man­u­fac­tur­ers. It was also in 1984 that he re­ceived an ap­proach from Devon Dairy Prod­ucts in Tau­ranga to buy the busi­ness. The Have­lock North fac­tory would ser­vice the lower North Is­land and Devon’s Tau­ranga base the up­per North Is­land. Bruce sold but, sadly, Devon’s new ven­ture ended within a year and the Blue Moon brand dis­ap­peared.

Thanks to Bruce Hastie and Steve Man­ning (Lick This Ice Cream Par­lour, Napier) for the in­for­ma­tion in this story.

"Bruce added prod­ucts such as sun­daes and milk drinks and later a cof­fee bar"

PHO­TOS:BRUCE HASTIE

LEFT: The beaut ice cream Blue Moon pro­duced took a whole lot of lick­ing in Hawke’s Bay for decades.

ABOVE: The Blue Moon ice cream fac­tory was sit­u­ated in Karanema Drive, Have­lock North.

COOL BUSI­NESS: This is one of two Blue Moon trucks that ser­viced Napier and Hast­ings.

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