Welcome to my retro tour of New Zealand, Family Kiwidutch were there in December 2011 – Janurary 2012 and after weeks in Christchurch taking care of the house we own there (damaged by the recent spate of earthquakes) and catching up with family and friends for Christmas, we are now heading to the north of the North Island to see more family and friends.
Because I’m familiar with an iconic Kiwi product and we are passing “close-ish” by, I’m keen to see the place that quite literally made it’s name with the unique product it produces.
This is why we have arrived in the small town of Paeroa … “World famous in New Zealand” as the adverts always cheekily proclaimed, for their product called “Lemon & Paeroa” , or the nick-name by which Kiwi’s affectionately know it: ”L&P“.
O.K. First you need to know that Lemon & Paeroa is a fizzy soft drink. The “lemon” bit is of course self explanatory, the “Paeroa ” bit is not only the name of the town but also refers in this instance to the naturally sparking mineral water that was found in Paeroa in 1904.
In 1908 Robert Fewell and Frank Brinkler bought the land where the spring originated and started a company called the “Paeroa Natural Mineral Water Company” and bottled the spring water. At some point after 1915 lemon was added to the sparkling mineral water and the newly flavoured drink went on to become a New Zealand icon.
The company went through various ownership changes from 1915 until eventually it was bought out by Coca Cola who still make the product today.
I have to admit that I have mostly preferred my L&P as a mixer rather than straight up, but that said, it’s great on a really hot day when you want something to quench a thirst and it’s brilliantly excellent added into both alcoholic and non-alcoholic party punch bowls.
Even if you found a Kiwi who’d never tried the drink (um…does one exist?) then chances are high that they would still instantly recognise it and it’s distinctive brown yellow and red bottle.
Naturally it’s no surprise to find a few mega-sized examples of the towns most famous product around town, there are two that I know of … we saw both but traffic obscured the other one and I couldn’t get a good shot of it without leaving the car in said traffic.
Considering that at this point the rain was hammering down, I have to confess that I took the far easier option and wound down the window and did a few point and shoot’s of the other one from the dry comfort of the van’s passenger seat.
I still like to have a Lemon & Paeroa every now and again for old time’s sake, and I do miss it if want to make my favourite party punch recipe, so I’m delighted to have finally visited the place where New Zealand’s iconic “Lemon & Paeroa” was born.