New Zealand’s Oldest Ice Cream Turns 90
31st October 2017
Zara Hubbard, Rush Munro’s Shop Manager
New Zealand’s Oldest Ice Cream Turns 90
New Zealand’s oldest ice cream maker and a Hawke’s Bay icon is celebrating 90 years in business.
Rush Munro’s Ice Cream is proud to be using the same trusty recipes that its founder Frederick Rush Munro created 90 years ago.
Rush Munro’s General Manager Tom O’Sullivan says the celebration is an exciting time in Rush Munro’s history.
“Most people who were raised and live in Hawke’s Bay have fond memories of the iconic Rush Munro’s Parlour with the fish ponds and gardens. We welcome people to share their stories and get excited about an ice cream that represents everything Hawke’s Bay.”
The Rush Munro’s story began in 1926, when English born founder, Frederick Charles Rush Munro set up shop, with his wife Catherine in Hastings.
The business has always been privately owned and had two other owners John Caulton and Alastair McSporran before local grower and exporter John Bostock bought Rush Munro’s in 2001.
Over the last decade John Bostock has helped successfully spread Rush Munro’s ice cream throughout the country into supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and ice cream parlours and has played a big role in growing the iconic Rush Munro's brand.
“We are very proud of Rush Munro’s history. The ice cream represents Hawke’s Bay with many of the ingredients being fresh produce from local suppliers. It is 100 percent natural and we still use the same recipes that were crafted by Frederick Rush Munro 90 years ago,” said Mr Bostock.
Mr Bostock says the strawberries come from the Strawberry Patch, the chocolate is made by Silky Oak, the coffee is Bay Espresso and the manuka honey comes from Arataki Honey.
“We ensure that we use local suppliers where we can. The heritage is important to the Rush Munro’s brand and we are proud to only use real fruit and natural ingredients.”
Rush Munro’s Factory Manager, Graham Copp has been making the Rush Munro’s ice cream for the past 13 years and says the recipes are fundamentally the same, just tweaked slightly.
“There are just six ingredients in Rush Munro’s Ice Cream including milk, cream, sugar, egg yolk, gelatin and whatever the natural flavour is whether it be strawberries, chocolate or Feijoa,” Mr Copp said.
A unique point of difference for Rush Munro’s is that the ice cream is still batch churned and has been for the past 90 years.
“The batch churning means we can only make one batch at a time, so it takes longer. We also do everything by hand without a lot of machinery. So we physically pour all the ingredients into the ice cream. For example we peel the bananas, pulp fruit and make all our own syrups. There is certainly a lot of love that goes into Rush Munro’s,” Mr Copp said.
There are currently 27 Rush Munro’s flavours, but it’s the trusty traditionals, which are still the big sellers.
“Vanilla Bean is the most popular, then Maple and Walnut, Passionfruit, Hokey Pokey and Feijoa.”
As part of the 90 year celebrations, Rush Munro’s is running a competition where Hawke’s Bay residents can create their 90 Year Birthday Flavour.
Rush Munro’s is celebrating its birthday on the 19th November at the garden parlour and in the lead up to the party the ice cream maker has plenty of fun activities planned - including a week where 90+ year olds eat for free, 90 litres of ice cream will be given away and there will be 90 cent discounts on ice creams.
(left to right) - Paul Jones, David Keys, Lloyd Singleton
A 70-year love affair with Rush Munro’s
Three friends who enjoyed Rush Munro's ice cream together at primary school, still make weekly trips to the Garden Parlour, more than 70 years on.
Not much has changed in that time, except they've switched bikes for family vehicles. At 75, Lloyd Singleton is the youngest of the group - he and friends David Keys (78) and Paul Jones (79) have been mates their whole lives.
Through primary, high school and their working years a Rush Munro's ice cream cone has been a well deserved "treat" - one they have enjoyed more in retirement than ever before.
Each Tuesday afternoon at the same time, whether summer or winter, you will find them around a table in the garden - shooting the breeze, with ice cream cones in hand.
"We come so often now we only have to ask for 'the regular' and the girls know our order," said Mr Singleton, who rarely strays from his favourite rum and raisin.
"David's a strawberry man and Paul hasn’t changed from hokey pokey since he was seven years old - the flavours taste the same as they always did.”
The friends played cricket together, and later golf, but eating ice cream is one pastime that’s endured throughout the years.
A trip to Rush Munro’s Garden Parlour held different memories as they aged, but the surrounds and the ice cream itself remain much the same.
“We have all been here with our children, and I bring my grand daughter comes to Rush Munro’s every time she comes back to Hawke’s Bay so there’s quite a strong connection for us,” said Mr Jones.
“Lots of great memories, it was a real treat when we were young, I would ride down with my parents, it really was something special and it still is.