TM2002_103.jpg Die (about 1940s). Collection of Puke Ariki (TM2002.103).

Taranakians had fairies in their washtubs and a tiki in their baths after World War Two thanks to the enterprise of some old army mates. When Ted Burbery, Walter Rail, Phil Stokes and Jim Hastie arrived in New Plymouth after serving in the Long Range Desert Group they used some of their Government Rehabilitation scheme money to buy Crusader Soap Products, a soap factory on the banks of Waiwhakaiho River near Devon Street.

None of the mates had any idea how to make soap but they soon learned and the modernised factory found a ready market for their "Fairy Wonder Soap" washing powder and "Tiki" bath soap.

This heavy bronze die was used to shape bars of soap which were made using tallow from the Waitara Freezing Works. The factory also sold soda crystals to dairy factories and they ground down bones collected from local butcheries to make fertiliser.

While Phil and Jim moved off to other jobs as New Zealand recovered from the war Walter and Ted kept the factory going until the mid-1950s when competition from Lever Bros forced them from the market. 

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