New Zealand Dairy in the Curd Old Days

I love to collect, always have. In my case it’s less the object and more the data, my house & budget too small to procure & store an archive of items. I guess this is why my collections are modest, mostly a city of smurfs, over 1000 fromage etiquettes & NZ dairy treasure: milk bottles, cheddar crates, cheese tins, milking cups, vintage cheddar hoops, butter pats…

I’m not alone, there is quite the community of dairy antique geeks, but not so many vocal dairy collectors in NZ that I’m aware of(?), although  I’m confident they’re out there across NZ & we’re yet to cross paths. We’ve alot to swap notes on, NZ’s dairy history was and continues to be a big deal – without the industry what would identity of Noo Zeeland be? It’s with relief this is acknowledged by the NZ National Dairy Museum. We’ve a fair bit of dairy heritage archived in museums & libraries across the country, which I’ve managed to kinda curate in my own way, via my New Zealand Dairy in the Curd Old Days pinterest page. I’s like to see more permanent dairy exhibits in NZ, but then a geek like me would aye.

Here are some of my favourites…

Nellie with Clover the cow, circa 1890


Pihama Dairy Factory 1919 – 1920

The ‘1 ton cheese’ made for the Dunedin and South Seas Exhibition in 1925-26.


Dairy factory workers loading cheeses on to the high shelves in the store room. Each cheese weighed more than 80 lbs. – East Tamaki cheese factory, ca 1955.

At Wright Stephnson’s department storee cutting a 500 lb cheese made by the Rennet Cheese Company, Eltham, circa 1968


About Curd Nerd

Put it in my belly, especially if it's smelly.
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4 Responses to New Zealand Dairy in the Curd Old Days

  1. I’m glad I didn’t have to turn the 1 ton cheese. Or the 500lb. Or even the ones that weigh over 80lbs. Amazing photos!

  2. Lucy from Life and Cheese says:

    I love how grubby the all look! Not like sterile cheese making today. I wonder what Food Safety would say about the fella smoking a durry while stacking the cheese- priceless!

  3. Jim More says:

    I live down in Southland and my family made cheese crates for various dairy factories in the south island. One of the Dairy factories was across the road from where the crates were made
    The factory was the Hekeia dairy factory at Longwood. My family was More & Sons of Riverton.
    I have more about what goes into making a cheese crate if required.

    • Curd Nerd says:

      I have a NZ cheese crate with a label ‘Momona’ printed on it. I currently use it as a piece of furniture in my living room for drinks and cheese plates etc… Be great to receive your info re cheese crate construction!

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