Famous postcard image started life in Oamaru


You may have seen a photo of two lambs in a field of daffodils, which is on postcards, magnet sets, greeting cards and more.

It is now 40 years old and, in that time, has been printed more than one million times.

What you might not know is, 40 years ago, two Oamaru men ventured out to take the picture and, with that determination, created a classic Kiwi photo. It was in 1973 that Ron Meldrum set out with Colourview founder Len Johnstone to take a photo for a postcard.

Lambs were chosen as the subject of the photo, and the journey to take the perfect photograph began.

The lambs were scrubbed clean and, over several days, about 120 photos of the lambs were taken, Mr Meldrum said.

“It was quite a long process. We had at least three and probably more big sessions with them.”

Inspiration struck when a daffodil-covered paddock was found, and with some literal Kiwi number eight wire ingenuity – using wire to prop up some of the daffodils – the right picture was taken.

The pair talked to the lambs, clapped their hands and did everything they could to capture the right moment, he said.

Both he and Mr Johnstone had taken photos, but Mr Johnstone was the one who had the honour of taking that final photo on the day, Mr Meldrum said.

Mr Meldrum said he still sees the postcard in stands to this day.

Seeing it gave him a sense of pride, not in the efforts he and Mr Johnstone went through to take the picture, but from the fact the photo came from Oamaru, he said.

Colourview still makes the postcards today, along with magnet sets, placemats and greeting cards bearing the image.

Production manager Mark Smillie has been working with the iconic postcard for about 35 years.

In that time, he has been involved with the card being printed at least one million times.

The card was among the business’s most popular postcards and had seen a lot of imitations over the years, he said.

“That’s not bad for a couple of lambs,” he said.

“They’ve actually earned more than a lamb would at the freezing works.”


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