Our Story

Hello!!! Lisa here from Denheath Desserts

I wanted to tell you a bit about our story, who we are, how we started and where our journey is now.

I'm proud that Denheath began as and still is a family business. Denheath House, a country café at the old post office in sleepy little Pleasant Point, South Canterbury, was the home and birthplace of the uniquely different, light and fluffy ‘Denheath Custard Square'.

From left to right: our son Majick, Lisa, Donald, our youngest son Bingle, Donald, and our daughter Keesarla.

The original owners were Dennis and Heather (hence the name Denheath) and I was lucky enough to work for them after school while in my mid-teens.

My Mum, Carol, fell madly in love with the Denheath Custard Square and was convinced that Denheath House was worth buying on the strength of Heather's 'Denheath Custard Square'!

My Dad wasn't so sure, but Mum was always a very persuasive woman, and in 1996 my parents, purchased Denheath House. Just so she could get her hands on the very special custard square she believed so passionately would be something she could make even more famous.

As a family, we ran the cafe for 3 years. People started coming from far and wide to sample our fluffy, high rise, melt-in-your-mouth, rich and creamy, custard-filled squares.

Even TV and radio started to take notice of Denheath's unique custardy goodness. And pretty soon we all realised Mum had been totally right about the potential of the 'Denheath Custard Square'.


Carol our Founder and Guiding light
Mum Carol Anne Rutland 31/10/45 - 14/07/2000
Our Guiding light

In November 1999 at the age of 53 Mum found out she was terminally ill. Donald (My husband and best friend) stepped in and took over the country café business and trademarked Denheath for mum while she was still here. Mum was able to finish work, sort out her affairs and have some real quality family time, before she passed away in July 2000. At the time Donald was a working professional musician and we'd recently had our first baby together (Majick). So, handling the arrival of a new baby, the loss of my mother and taking over the business made it a strange time - desperately sad, super busy, scary and exciting all at once. But mum had handed us down a mission to continue her dream to get Denheath national and international. She knew it was an amazing product and she had faith that we could achieve her dream for her.

With huge support from Donald's parents, older children, our children and the Denheath family we have been able to grow Denheath Desserts since 1999. In 2001, We moved from the country café into a purpose-built kitchen facility in Timaru.  And in 2007 we built an extension on to the kitchen, telling each other Build it and they will come. And In 2013 we started to export.

Initially in 2000 we started as a single product company. A big unique fluffy custard square, the classic Kiwi treat that started it all. But since then we have developed other decadent flavours and other custardy goodies with our unique fluffy custard like profiteroles, our world first E-square (or profit-a-square) and mum’s awesome cheesecakes.
We now supply foodservice and retail Denheath Desserts nationwide and export overseas. Our iconic gourmet Original Vanilla Custard Square is our hero product. A product that once you taste you love. We were handed down an exceptional unique recipe.

Donald is the brains in the business, innovative in his approach, with a unique enthusiasm and vision and drive that is catchy.

I have a real passion for food, baking and cake decorating, especially sugar flowers.
We also have the memory of Mum, she is our guiding light. Her belief in the Custard Squares started it all. We now have 3 children together Majick, Keesarla and Bingle who all help out in the family business. (Bingle is 6 and says he is the 4th boss.) I think grandma Carol would be proud of them.

My mother had a dream that Denheath and her Custard Squares would become nationally and internationally known and we are continually working hard to make it happen for her.
If we were corporate enough to ever write a mission statement, achieving her dream would be it.

Thanks for taking the time to find out who we are

Custardy Hugs Lisa 

Our History

Denheath House, Pleasant Point

From Post Master to Mastering Custard

Beautiful, old Denheath House is the birthplace of the Denheath Custard Square. It started out its life as Pleasant Point's Post Office, opening nearly a hundred years ago in 1912.

When the Post Office closed it was bought by a couple called Dennis and Heather who renamed it Denheath House.

The Denheath Custard Square

A Legend is Born

Heather was an accomplished weaver and more importantly, for this story anyway, a wonderful home baker.

Heather used to do her weaving downstairs which attracted passers-by. And Pleasant Point being the friendly place that it is, Heather would always offer her visitors some home-baking when they called in. Very soon Heather was getting so many visitors that she decided to turn Denheath House into a teahouse offering her scrumptious baked goodies.

The word spread, more and more visitors came and the most sought after product was the fluffy, high-rise square of coconuty goodness, that was the forerunner of the Denheath Custard Square.

When Heather and Dennis eventually sold Denheath House, they decided that Heather's old notebook full of recipes, and the right to use them would be included in the purchase. 

The Templeton Family

Taking Kiwi Custard to the World

The Templeton Family (that's us!) are Donald, Lisa and kids Majick, Keesarla and Bingle. Lisa's mother was so sure that Heather's Custard Squares had a serious future that she persuaded her family to take over Denheath House and gave the Denheath Custard Square a new lease of life.

Pleasant Point became a favourite stopping-off place for the tour buses to and from Mt Cook, Queenstown and Milford Sound. And the yummy treat that everyone wanted to try was the uniquely Kiwi Denheath Custard Square. Sometimes international tourists would even request shipments to be sent back home, going to great lengths to obtain them for special occasions!

It wasn't long before requests from cafes to wholesale our desserts were becoming so frequent that we were struggling to keep up with demand. So we made the very hard decision to move out of Denheath House in sleepy Pleasant Point into a new kitchen-facility in nearby Timaru.  Our factory is at 3 Mill Street, Timaru NZ.

We distribute Denheath Custard Squares (and many more tasty goodies) all over New Zealand, every day.

You don't have to travel all the way to Pleasant Point, they are available from our factory in Timaru at cafes and stockists all over New Zealand and you can also purchase them online to be delivered straight to your door.

And many even find them around the world. Denheath are on a mission - It was Lisa's mum's dream to not just sell nationally but also Internationally. "Basically she wanted World Custard Invasion!" Denheath have been successfully exporting Denheath's incredible custard squares to Australia, Korea and Japan and are continually looking at new markets.