From a dairy factory at Pukekura, Waikato, Henry Reynolds launched his Anchor butter. The brand name was allegedly inspired by a tattoo on the arm of one of his workers. It would become one of this country’s best-known trademarks.
New Zealand’s temperate climate is well suited to dairy farming. Its potential as an export industry was suggested in 1882 with the success of the first shipment of frozen meat to Britain. The same technology could be used to export butter and cheese. A highly innovative and efficient approach, based on farmer-owned co-operative companies, enabled dairying to grow into New Zealand’s most important industry. The production of butter and cheese flourished as New Zealand established itself as ‘Britain's farmyard’.
Henry Reynolds arrived in New Zealand from Cornwall in 1868. By the 1880s he was dairy-farming in Waikato and established a small dairy factory. The recipe for this butter came from an American, David Gemmell, who was farming near Hamilton. Reynolds was impressed with both the taste and longevity of Gemmell’s product. When Gemmell announced that he was moving back to the United States, Reynolds asked him to delay his journey for six months to help him establish his dairy factory. Gemmell agreed, and the rest is history. The Anchor brand quickly established itself as a market leader and became synonymous with the New Zealand dairy industry. The company’s butter, milk and cheese are familiar items in households here and around the world.