Ron & Audrey Cowell were both born in the United Kingdom. They decided to settle in New Zealand in 1949. Ron found employment with New Zealand Industrial Gases in Dunedin and that would be their town for life. "We never wanted to live elsewhere."
1963 saw the grand opening of the Cowell's Coffee shop at 119 Stuart Street, Dunedin. With business going well the Cowell's opened a second shop in St Andrew Street in 1966.
One of the popular items on the menu was the Cowell's Pavlova. Over the coming years the pair perfected the recipe and slowly but surely, the popularity of their pavlova grew.
By 1972 the sales of the pavlovas had grown and the Cowell's established their first dedicated pavlova kitchen in Bath Street, Dunedin. For a time they also baked cheesecakes from this location. 1976 saw a move to a brand new kitchen in Vire Street as the Bath Street building was demolished.
From 1978 - 1981, Cowell's Genuine Pavlova kitchens were opened in Wellington, Auckland & Hamilton, all under license and all using the same Cowell's recipe. Now all four licenses are owned and operated out of the Dunedin site, still in Vire Street.
Audrey Cowell is semi-retired and still oversees aspects of the Cowell's Genuine Pavlova New Zealand operation.
"Pavlova was something everybody had on special occasions, especially family occasions. Our product made it easy and avoided the multiple disasters that people often told us they had when baking pavlova" - Ron Cowell.