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March 2024

CATCHING UP WITH – Catherine Campbell, Mr (Mrs) Whippy

In this edition of Catching Up With – an occasional column that talks to the people who make up the jigsaw that presents game day at the Bay Oval, we chat with Catherine Campbell. Many of the Bay Oval fans would have conversed with Catherine who holds the Mr Whippy franchise for Mount Maunganui.


Catherine was born in Manurewa and worked for the BNZ and did data entry at NZ Steel and a variety of other work. Marriage to husband, Steve, saw a shift to Ohope - then on to Mount Maunganui, which gave her two children expanded opportunities after showing outstanding talent in age-group golf.

How long have you been a Mountie (lived in Mount Maunganui)?
Twenty years.
What do you love about the Mount?
There is such a vibe here, there is always something going on, all different ethnicities and not one person is the same. I always like asking people where they are from, (not being nosey) just curious where people come from.
Tell us about some of your children’s achievements in Golf.
Both Alanna and Shaun have represented New Zealand in Golf. They both received golf scholarships in the USA, with Alanna at Iowa State and Shaun starting at Kansas and now at Creighton, Omaha in Nebraska.
When did you buy the Mount Maunganui Mr Whippy franchise & why?
I bought the franchise six-odd years ago. I love doing my job, you never know who is going to come to the van so you have to always give nice first impressions. I always get return customers which is a good sign that you don’t get many grumpy customers, and everyone walks away happy
How many years have you catered for the crowds at the Bay Oval?
I have been a regular at the Bay Oval for 6 years and love every minute of it
What do you enjoy about working at the cricket?
Love working at the cricket as it’s the best atmosphere and fun. One minute you are waiting for customers, the next minute the line doesn’t stop for 6/7 hours. It’s such a good buzz and the adrenaline just kicks in,
It’s such a safe place, for parents to be able to find their spot for the day and kids can just wander around the oval without getting into too much trouble. Parents often let the kids come up with their Eftpos cards to get their own ice creams, which I think is a good thing.
Tell us about a typical day dispensing Mr Whippy products at the Bay Oval.
We always need to be at the ground some three hours before the ground opens to the public, and can’t leave until the last spectators have left which makes a long day, but fun. So in the morning, while waiting for the public to be let in, I get the van sorted, stock it, and then I will go and have a yarn to other vendors.
Then the crowd starts coming in, and once they all find a spot you wait half an hour, and then it’s all on as the kids start coming up and the line doesn’t stop all day. When the television people come and put you on the big screen, this brings more customers too. I don’t get time to go to the loo so that’s a long day. On the big days, I do have a helper and it's usually, head down bum up, until the end of the day.
Who have been your best crowds (in terms of fans' enjoyment and numbers?)
They are all pretty good, the Pakistan and Indians are so passionate about their cricket, but I think the Barmey Army is so much fun - after a five-day test they are all buggered after five days of drinking.
You get to know them and you get to know where in England they are from. We have good yarns with them and they are very regular customers every day. It’s rather a sad time when the test is over as you just enjoy the banter and fun they bring to the ground.


Have you had any well-known people stop off at Mr Whippy at the Bay Oval?
I’ve had Simon Bridges, Christopher Luxton, Paul Goldsmith and Lloyd from the TV3 AM show. I am sure I have had more, but you get so busy then it’s too late once they go - and you go gee that was so and so, but then they are gone
What is your biggest seller at the cricket games?
When there are lots of kids, nothing goes past a whippy spider (ice cream and fizzy) going over the counter like hotcakes. The adults tend to go for Hedgehog Flakes (Ice cream chocolate dip and nuts) and in the afternoons Sundaes and Choco Cups. My recommendation is to put any ice cream choice in a tub, especially on hot days.
We have been told you are a cricket watcher when not dispensing Mr Whippy.
Yes, I have really got into the cricket since coming down to the Bay Oval, I used to go to Eden Park back in the day and loved it. I am actually sitting watching the Aussies and Black Caps now on the telly as I write the answers, hoping we get the win, fingers crossed – oh dear another loss.
Who is your favourite team?
I think the poms are fun to have at the ground and I would love the Aussies to come here. I love all the banter that the crowd give to each other.
But I will always cheers on the Black Caps. They are really nice people and just normal human beings, they don't think they are better than anyone else. I always look after their kids with a free ice cream once I work out whom they belong to, saying thanks for all the sacrifices that the families have to go through while dad is out in the field. I also look after the groundsmen with a free ice cream or two, as they do hard yards as well.
Any favorite players?
No, they are all good.  I’m liking the look of Sears and Ravindra, such good young guys.
Where can Mr Whippy addicts find you outside of games at the Bay Oval?
Usually, during weekdays I go around the commercial buildings, then at weekends in the winter, I’m down with the rugby and netball and doing street runs. You can always call me 027 360 1676 if you need a Whippy and I will let you know where I will be.
Can’t wait for the 2024-2025 season. Bring it on. I believe that the Poms and the Barmey Army are coming back.

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