A melting icecream on a summer's day in Dannevirke was simply the best when scooped by John (Tonka) Turner and his team at the Tinkerbell Dairy on High St.

But now, after 29 years in business, Tonka has closed the doors on the iconic dairy.

For many in Dannevirke, the Tinkerbell was the place to go for the best and biggest cone icecreams and tasty mince pies.

Trevor Bennett was a Tinkerbell customer for 50 years.

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"Ever since I came back to Dannevirke in 1966 as a 19-year-old, the Tinkerbell has been part of my life," he said.

"I'd buy my smokes and TV Guide there and I've had wonderful service there over the years."

The Tinkerbell had a number of owners over the years, Mr Bennett said, but he was always impressed by the high school girls Tonka employed.

"They were nice kids, always friendly," he said. "The Tinkerbell was a nice, happy place and my weekly visits were always a pleasure and never a chore."

Mr Bennett said he was surprised to see a note on the door of the dairy announcing it was closed.

"It's quite sad," he said. "Dannevirke has lost Foster Brook, which replaced Cawseys Books and Toys, also an icon.

"Sadly, that seems to be the way things are going.

"Everyone knew the Tinkerbell had extra-big icecreams and the dairy was a regular stop for travellers as well as locals."

Lyn James of Palmerston North said: "An icecream stop at the Tinkerbell was part of our holiday experience."

Tonka said he had plenty of people tell him they always stopped for their icecreams at his dairy.