From Eau de Cologne to Rat Poison: Kempthorne Prosser and Co.’s New Zealand Drug Company Limited, 1869-1918.
Wilson, Simon Shield
The first pharmacies opened in New Zealand in the late 1840s and early 1850s. These pioneering pharmacists mixed most of the medicines sold in their shops themselves. There were however, a number of finished products and raw ingredients which had to be imported. These products were sold to New Zealand pharmacists by British firms that specialised in colonial trade. These firms ensured that New Zealand pharmacists could acquire anything they needed. However, the length of time it took for goods to arrive in the colony made this solution far from perfect. This thesis examines the first forty nine years of the history of ‘Kempthorne Prosser and Co.’s New Zealand Drug Company Limited’ a New Zealand company which developed as a solution to this problem of distance. Using a range of sources including the first New Zealand pharmaceutical journal Sharland’s Trade Journal, and ‘Kempthorne and Prosser’s’ own archives, this thesis explores the nature of the firm’s pharmaceutical business and the extent to which New Zealand developed its own pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. It argues that ‘Kempthorne and Prosser’s’ business was primarily that of an importer and wholesaler. Products were bought in bulk from overseas manufacturing firms and sold in small quantities to New Zealand retail pharmacists. The thesis further argues that ‘Kempthorne and Prosser’ played a leading role in New Zealand’s pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, but that this industry was small, never coming close to competing with the volume of products imported from overseas.
Advisor: Trapeznik, Alexander; Brooking, Tom
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Pharmacy; Manufacturing; Kempthorne; Prosser; Dunedin; Business; Pharmaceuticals
Research Type: Thesis