It’s funny how the brain works when it’s relaxed. While the Big T and I were away, we got to talking about cheese … as you do.

New Zealand is the world’s top dairy exporter (1)— and the eighth largest dairy producer (2), so cheese is pretty much a staple of our national diet.

When we were little kids, there were four kinds of cheese in New Zealand; Mild, Medium, Tasty and Colby.

It may be that there were also places one could buy Camembert and Brie, perhaps even Stilton or Feta; but NZ-made, mass-produced cheese pretty much fell into those four categories.

Or Chesdale.


1960s Chesdale Cheese advertisement. Image: Longwhitekid

Chesdale is a locally-made processed cheese much beloved of children. It used to be sold in blocks and in little circular containers of six individually wrapped wedges. Later, both of these were replaced with packages containing individually-wrapped slices.

Chesdale is a New Zealand institution; helped enormously by the fact that it had a great TV advertising campaign featuring two dancing cartoon farmers (called Ches and Dale naturally). The jingle was so memorable that I suspect anyone who has lived here for a while (and certainly anyone who was here between 1968 and 1975 when the ad played) would be able — without hesitation — to sing it.

We are the boys from down on the farm,
We really know our cheese.
There’s much better value in Chesdale,
It never fails to please.
Chesdale slices thinly, never crumbles, there’s no waste,
And boy it’s got a mighty taste.
Chesdale cheese.
It’s finest cheddar. Made better.

— Chesdale cheese jingle; Robert Jenkins and Terry Gray.

There is even a tale (perhaps apocryphal) that a NZ trade delegation to Ireland sang the Chesdale jingle at a function because it was the only NZ “folk song” they all knew. (3)

And if the catchy tune wasn’t enough, inside the packaging there were “Skintees” — temporary skin transfers. These were THE currency of playground cool and led us to drive our mothers nuts begging for Chesdale to be included in the weekly grocery shopping.


Chesdale “skintees”: skin transfers from the 1960s. Image: Flickr, Steven Williams

The Chesdale campaign ended in the 1970s, but — according to the Big T — the imagery didn’t disappear. He reckons that Ches and Dale just grew up and morphed into the two old men who featured in a series of advertisements for Mainland cheese during the 1990s and 2000s.

Terry Procter and Kevin Corcoran; the actors who appeared in a series of Mainland cheese commercials. Image: Stuff, Marlborough Express, 28/08/2012.

Actors Terry Procter and Kevin Corcoran who appeared in a series of commercials for Mainland cheese. Image: Stuff, Marlborough Express: 28/08/2012

I think he might have something there. Funny how the brain works.

(1) NZTE: Food and Beverage, Dairy

(2) Wikipedia: Dairy Farming in New Zealand

(3) New Zealand Folk Song, Chesdale Cheese





“We are the boys from down on the farm …”

7 thoughts on ““We are the boys from down on the farm …”

  1. lol, as soon as I saw the picture in my reader I thought this must be a Su post! Brings back memories! Chesdale was such a treat when I was a kid. don’t think I would go near it now! I love those mainland adverts too. Your right they may be old wiley chaps but they may well be the “new ” Ches and Dale! Thank you for the flash back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe. I know what you mean about processed cheese now. I have to confess a sneaky liking for the bacon-flavoured Chesdale slices which my in-laws used to buy until quite recently. I had to tell myself it wasn’t really food … but a slice of that between two bits of soft bread — ah!

      Liked by 1 person

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