60 years of pineapple chunks

Pineapple chunks were first made in Oamaru 60 years ago.

They were made by Regina which was bought by Nestle. It has been operating as Rainbow Confectionery since Nestle pulled out.

 . . New Zealand investors Ray White, Patrick Betty and Rod Thornton bought the factory and breathed new life into the business, adding new technologies and investing in new plant, including machines capable of producing jellybeans, the only manufacturer in New Zealand to have that facility.

It has now brought back the Regina name, celebrating sixty years since Regina employee Charles Diver first made pineapple chunks at the Oamaru factory. They are believed to be the first oblong-shaped, pineapple-flavoured, chocolate-covered marshmallow lollies in New Zealand.

They came from finding a use for pineapple marshmallow left over after making chocolate fish.

”Diver’s recipe has been tinkered with a little bit for the 2013 pineapple chunks to contain 15% pineapple juice and no artificial flavours or colour,” Regina sales and marketing manager Simon Williams said. . . .

Some of Regina’s success was due to a chance conversation at a Rotary meeting.

The company manager happened to mention he had trouble sourcing moulds to make the sweets. A fellow Rotarian was a dental technician who made moulds for false teeth and could easily make them for sweets.

Regina was an institution and Rainbow has been operating in the same building on Thames Highway at the northern end of Oamaru which is part of State Highway 1.

Seven Sharp paid the factory a visit this week.  the reporter pronounces Regina with a long e sound to rhyme with cortina, locals have always pronounced it with an i sound to rhyme with miner.

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