Alice Neville has spent four months scouring one very long Ministry of Health list of exposure events to bring you 10 very good dairy names.
Pandemic life has prompted many of us to take up new hobbies or develop quirky interests. For me, cross stitch, but also an unhealthy obsession with the Ministry of Health’s locations of interest page.
Yes, as Toby Manhire wrote last month, the frequently updated list of exposure events has become “a regular part of the Covid click carousel for journalists, concerned citizens and assorted other tragics”. That’s me!
And so to dairies. Back in the depths of level four, supermarkets, service stations, chemists and dairies were basically the only places open. And among all those essential services were some lovely dairy names. I kept note of them and, even as restrictions loosened and Covid continued its insidious creep across the country, flooding the LOIs with strip clubs and tourist attractions and bars and barbers, I looked out for the humble dairy.
So here we have it, the 10 best dairy names to ever feature in that ignominious list. Before we get into things, it’s worth stating the obvious: having been a location of interest at some point does not mean these dairies are somehow tainted by Covid. Most of their potential exposure times were months ago, and visits to dairies, supermarkets and the like are so low-risk the ministry for the most part has stopped bothering to add them to the list at all.
If anything, you should be supporting these businesses even more than usual, because they’ve been working damn hard to keep us fed and hydrated and supplied with all the good stuff we like during the tough times. Thanks to all the dairies, but especially these 10.
10. Pepe’s Dairy (Whangārei)
There’s nothing whacky about this name, I just find it pleasing. Say it out loud, I urge you. Pepe’s Dairy. If you could go past Pepe’s Dairy without being drawn in by its charming name to buy a bag of sour coke bottles or a mango Fruju, your heart is cold.
9. Kwiki Mart (Northcross, Auckland)
I don’t know if this dairy is named after the Kwik-E-Mart of The Simpsons or if it’s just a happy coincidence, but I like it. I am now embarking on a kwick kwest to replace all qu- words with kw-, and you can kwote me on that.
8. Galaxie Dairy (Mt Eden, Auckland)
This dairy could be named after the awesome Ford Galaxie car, or it could be inspired by Galaxie 500, who I’m not cool enough to have heard of but who my co-deputy editor Catherine McGregor tells me are “excellent late-80s indie rockers”. I’m listening to them as I write this and she’s not wrong. Fellow Spinoff music nerd Matthew McAuley reveals the band’s founder is originally from New Zealand, so it seems entirely plausible he’s come home to run a dairy in Mt Eden.
Another theory is that Galaxie Dairy’s owners once frequented Auckland 1960s “club of a thousand dances” The Galaxie, where teenagers did literal shoeys of lemon gin! Take me back, or maybe just take me to the Galaxie Dairy on View Road to buy some lemon Sparkling Duet that I can mix with gin in my sneaker to sip from while sitting in the front seat of my Ford Galaxie and listening to Galaxie 500.
7. Top of the Town Dairy (Te Awamutu)
I don’t know if this dairy is at the literal top of the town or is making a bold claim about its status among the dairies of Te Awamutu, but either way I’m into it. Bold. Confident. Top. Of. The. Town. Not to be confused with Top of the Town Dairy, Motueka, or the Top of the Town restaurant at Auckland’s Pullman hotel (now an MIQ facility).
6. Cracka Jack Dairy (Glen Innes, Auckland)
In North American slang, crackerjack means exceptionally good or of marked excellence, which makes this dairy’s name as bold and confident as old mate TOTT above. I don’t know if the -a spelling is to avoid a potential lawsuit from Frito-Lay, which owns the Cracker Jack brand (it’s an American popcorn-peanut mix often considered to be the world’s first junk food), or just for a snazzy twist, but either way it works.
5. Julie Ann Dairy (Avondale, Auckland)
A dairy with a human name is a bit like a dog with a human name: always a good idea. Julie Ann, the dairy. “Pleased to meet you, my name’s Julie Ann and I’m a dairy.” In all seriousness I hope this dairy is named after someone’s mother or sister as a loving tribute, or perhaps after Green MP Julie Anne Genter but they just forgot the e.
4. Peter Pan’s Superette (Tauranga)
I have a theory that the further north you are in the country, the more likely a dairy is to be called a superette. I have no idea where I got this idea, but my theories about regional specificity tend to be well founded so I’m going to presume it’s 100% fact.
Which brings us to Tauranga, which is inarguably in the northern half of the North Island, and Peter Pan’s Superette. I’ve always had a feeling there’s something slightly sinister about Peter Pan, but Peter Pan’s Superette is an incredible name for a dairy and would also make a great name for a band performing at Rockquest 1996. If you believe in dairies, clap your hands!*
*not my own joke, thank you Spinoff colleague Natalie (yes, the Natalie)
3. The Mad Dairy (Hornby, Christchurch)
Welcome to the top three and our sole South Island entry (sorry Te Waipounamu but you’ve had heaps less Covid than up here, which on balance is probably a good thing). The Mad Dairy is in the Christchurch suburb of Hornby and boasts MAD, MAD PRICES! It has its own Facebook page, which sadly has been quiet since 2015. It’s not clear whether The Mad Dairy has any connection to either The Mad Butcher or The Mad Chapman, editor of The Spinoff.
2. Othello Superette (Clover Park, Auckland)
Othello Superette is either a modern-day update of Shakespeare’s classic play set in an Auckland superette that has just received a controversial amount of Creative NZ funding*, or a dairy in the South Auckland suburb of Clover Park. It’s the latter, of course, and just a great name for a dairy. I initially presumed the owner of this place was a huge Shakespeare fan, but on further research discovered the street it’s on is Othello Drive, a fact that may or may not be relevant to the naming of said dairy.
*not true and also not my own joke, thank you Spinoff colleague Calum Henderson.
1. Skinny Handy Dairy (Papatoetoe, Auckland)
When this appeared in the locations of interest back in September, it was about three weeks into lockdown and I was just starting to lose it, so Skinny Handy Dairy tickled me. Skinny! Handy! Dairy! Say it with me. It’s nonsensical and yet, somehow, it makes perfect sense. A quick Google search reveals this dairy is actually called Handy Store and is sponsored by the Skinny mobile and internet provider, which is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the name – what is a dairy if not handy? Reasonable explanation or no, it’s still number one in my eyes.