More than 400 hundred entries have been received for this year's New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.
Fifty-nine companies, ranging from small artisan producers to the largest cheesemakers in the country, will be vying for honours in the 10th annual competition for the industry.
Organiser Vikki Lee Goode says there are six first-time entrants and a larger number of small cheese producers than usual, which means the competition could deliver some interesting results.
She says the competition mirrors the aims of the speciality cheese industry to educate the public about cheese and increase consumption.
Ms Lee Goode says 28 expert assessors including a master judge from Australia will consume and critique cheeses in 16 categories before deciding on the medal winners.