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Sharland Group records

Identifier: MSS-Archives-97/4

Scope and Contents

The material in this collection was found on the site of the abandoned Taniwha Products Ltd factory at Westfield, in Otahuhu. The factory was closed in 1979 and left vacant for many years before being demolished in November 1997.

The collection includes account books, ledgers, correpsondence and pharmaceutical formulae and recipes for products relating to the buisness activities of Sharland and Company Ltd, and the Union Oil, Soap & Candle Company, which became Taniwha Products in 1957.

The records do not represent a complete record of either company’s affairs but are rather a set of random rescued volumes.


  • 1882 - 1977


Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted

Biographical / Historical

The records in this collection relate to the Union Oil, Soap and Candle Company and Sharland and Company Manufacturing Chemists.

Both of these companies were founded in the 19th Century. James Cragg Sharland (1819-1887) was a pioneer in New Zealand’s pharmaceutical industry and one of the country’s first manufacturing chemists. He settled in New Plymouth in 1847 and established a business as a chemist, druggist and general merchant. The business failed in the 1860s due to war in Taranaki, prompting a move to Auckland and the subsequent establishment of Sharland & Company. The enterprise flourished and, with the help of James'sons, William and Frederick, expanded into several premises, including their Apothecaries Hall in Shortland St. The family built a substantial home at 21 Princes St in 1876 which is now one of the merchant houses, owned by the Auckland City Council.

Entries in 1899-1908 The Cyclopedia of New Zealand: industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical:facts, figures, illustrations (p.292), notes the following Sharland related enterprises:

Sharland and Company Ltd., Wholesale and Manufacturing Chemists and Druggists, Lorne Street, Auckland.

Sharland, Frederick Caddy, Pharmaceutical Chemist, Ponsonby Road, Auckland. Telephone 357. The business, which Mr. Sharland now conducts, was purchased from Mr Blomfield, who established it in 1881.

Sharland, William. Pharmaceutical Chemist, Shortland Street, Auckland. Telephone 104. Mr Sharland is chemist by special appointment to his Excellency the Governor.

In March 1929 Sharland and Company merged with Young’s Chemical Company but kept the Sharland name. In the mid 20th Century the Company had a large factory located on Talyors Road, Morningside.

The Union Oil, Soap and Candle Company was formed in the 1880s and had an oil and tallow works on a six- acre site near St Ann's Bridge, Westfield, Otahuhu. They were best known for their 'Sylvia' Starch, Taniwha Soap, ‘Toraline’ washing compound ‘Britannia’ Sperm Candles and Sylvia’ wax candles but also manufactured ‘Austral’ food for pigs and poultry. The Comapny became Taniwha Products in 1957 and by 1975 was part of the Sharland Group which also included the Dunedin jam and canning firm St George Company and McLeod Brothers Ltd.

Taniwha Product's Westfield factory was closed in 1979, and remained vacant until it was demolished in November 1995.


2 metres (2 folders and 15 volumes.)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Mr and Mrs A. and P. Squire of Remuera in January 1997.

Related Materials

See also Sharland family papers. MSS & Archives Vault 114.

Processing Information

The Account books and other records in book form have been preserved in their original bindings. Due to the size of some of the post bound volumes they are stacked loose on shelves rather than in boxes.

Inventory of the records of Sharland and Company Ltd, 1882-1977.
Kay Stead
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand