Hawke’s Bay icon and NZ’s oldest ice cream maker, Rush Munro’s, is blowing out 90 candles this month, still using the same trusty recipes that were created by founder Frederick Rush Munro.

An English-born immigrant, Frederick set up shop with his wife Catherine in Hastings in 1926. The company has remained privately owned ever since, with only two other owners at the helm before John Bostock purchased the business in 2001. It is mainly thanks to Bostock if the brand has increased its presence in supermarkets, cafés and restaurants throughout New Zealand.

“We are very proud of Rush Munro’s history. The ice cream represents Hawke’s Bay with many of the ingredients being fresh produce from local suppliers,” he said. “We ensure that we use local suppliers where we can. The heritage is important to the Rush Munro’s brand, and we are proud to only use real fruit and natural ingredients.”

All 27 ice cream variants are 100 percent natural and contain only six ingredients, including milk, cream, sugar, egg yolk, gelatin and natural flavours. “We also do everything by hand without a lot of machinery,” said factory manager Graham Copp.

As part of its celebrations, the company is running a competition where Hawke’s Bay residents can create their 90 Year Birthday Flavour. Additional activities at the garden parlour include a week where 90+ year-olds eat for free, 90 litres of ice cream to be given away and 90 cent discounts on ice creams.