Family celebrates local lolly invention

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Lolly royalty coverged on the Oamaru lolly plant where 60 years ago, their father, grandfather and great grandfather, Charles Diver, made the first pineapple chunks.

Amongst the line-up of family members who gathered in Oamaru on Friday to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Charles Diver’s invention, was his daughter Nancy Bell (nee Diver) of Oamaru, and her two brothers, Peter and John.

Peter Diver carried with him his father’s recipe book, which includes a list of ingredients for pineapple chunks.

The youngest member of the family group at Friday’s celebrations was one-year-old Charles Diver who joined the rest of his extended family to sample the latest offering of the sweet treat.

The 60th anniversary of Diver’s invention also marked a special milestone for the manufacturer of the iconic Kiwi sweet.

Under the branding of Regina, Rainbow Confectionery launched a new lolly range, including Pineapple Chunks.

Although Diver’s recipe has been ‘tinkered with a little bit” in order for the 2013 Regina Pineapple Chunks to contain 15 per cent pineapple juice, Rainbow Confectionery sales and marketing manager for the new Regina range Simon Williams, said the spirit of the original chunk lives on.

“New Zealand’s affection for unique home-grown lollies is never more evident than when we lose a few,” he said.

“So our mission is to make lollies for Kiwis by Kiwis and bring back the fun.”

The bags carry a picture of Diver and a few lines of how the sweets came to be, plus the words “Made in Oamaru”.

Charles Diver worked at the Regina Confectionery Factory in Oamaru as a confectionery chef and floor production manager until he retired in 1972.

His invention came about when he was told to devise a use for the daily waste from the production run of marshmallow at the factory and he invented what is now known as Pineapple Chunks.

Mr Diver died in Alexandra in 1994 aged 83 years.

By Jacquie Webby