Our heritage

Anchor has been around for more than 130 years and has from humble beginnings turned into a household name today.

Henry Reynolds, who founded Anchor, arrived in New Zealand from Cornwall in 1868.  An entrepreneurial farmer, he first established a small dairy factory at Pukekura in the 1880s, with the aim of making quality butter.

Henry bought the latest machinery and supplied himself with fine milk from the Waikato. Now the only thing missing was some good branding. And so the story goes, he chose a tattoo on the arm of a sailor who worked on a farm supplying him, as his logo. This is how Anchor was born in 1868.

Henry’s first year’s production of butter may have only been 45kg but his Anchor butter was recognised for its quality and soon went on to win a gold medal at the Melbourne Exhibition in 1888. It wasn’t long before business had grown and by 1896, Henry had eight factories around the Waikato.

Over the years the cherished brand went from strength to strength and Henry decided to sell Anchor to the New Zealand Dairy Association in 1896, which later became part of Fonterra Co-operative in 2001.

Anchor has long strived to set the standard in dairy and is known for its high quality in other markets. As early as the 1920s, 80 to 90% of NZ dairy experts were destined for the UK

During the 1950’s Anchor spearheaded the push into new markets and lent its name to an increasingly wide range of products including milk powders, butters, cheese, casein and UHT long-life milks.

Today the Anchor brand is on over 160 products in 80 countries around the world.

If New Zealand dairy industry pioneer Henry Reynolds were alive today he’d be proud that the Anchor brand he registered on 3 November 1886 has become an internationally recognised name with a strong heritage of quality and nutrition.