Call for national day to honour iconic lolly

Checking out a display on Charles Diver, the Oamaru man who invented Pineapple Chunks, are his...
Checking out a display on Charles Diver, the Oamaru man who invented Pineapple Chunks, are his daughter Nancy Bell and great-grandson Charles Diver. Photo: Supplied
Family of the Oamaru man who invented Pineapple Chunks are calling for a national day in his honour.

Charles Richard Diver’s granddaughter Linda Wilson has applied to international organisations Days of the Year and National Day for November 22, Mr Diver’s birthday, to be "National Pineapple Chunks Day".

"The reasoning behind it is to get recognition for New Zealand and Charles Diver for the creation of Pineapple Chunks," she said.

"Australia has already tried to steal the creation of them – and Pascall has changed the name to Pineapple Lumps.

"I also really like the idea of a small regional business getting more attention and support, especially when employment is provided in the town."

Mr Diver invented Pineapple Chunks in the early 1950s while working at Regina Confections, now known as Rainbow Confectionery, in Oamaru.

Mrs Wilson’s application for a "National Pineapple Chunks Day" to Days of the Year had been declined, the organisation stating it did not have a "significant following", but her application to the National Day organisation was still pending, she said.

Last month, the Oamaru Public Library honoured Mr Diver with a new display – a collection of memorabilia from family, the library, Waitaki Museum and a member of the public. The display has now been moved to the Waitaki Museum, where it will remain until the end of February.

The display coincided with a Diver family reunion in Oamaru, which went well, Mrs Wilson said.

"While the numbers attending were small, partly due to concerns over Covid … a third of attendees were young people keen to get together and learn about their family history."

Mr Diver was born in Oamaru in 1910, but was raised at Enfield. He was one of 13 children – six boys and seven girls – in the Diver family who were well known in Enfield through their father John, the manager of the local dairy factory.

As part of the reunion, family members visited the old Diver house in Enfield, across the road from The Fort Enfield Tavern, and the rugby field, where many of the Diver boys played rugby.

Mr Diver was a talented sportsman. He played rugby for the Athletic Rugby Club and North Otago, and once trialled for the All Blacks.

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